Isaiah Simmons Is the Perfect Fit for New York Giants

Isaiah Simmons

There is no doubt that the New York Giants need help on defense after finishing 25th in the NFL in yards per game. They will surely be spending on defense in free agency but they will also be in great position to address the need in the NFL Draft with the fourth overall pick. It is likely that Chase Young will be gone before the Giants pick but Isaiah Simmons should be there for the taking.

Simmons can line up almost anywhere on the defensive side of the ball. He can play outside or inside linebacker. He can play safety and might even be useful in certain matchups in the slot. He is a Swiss Army knife on defense and could bolster the Giants’ pass defense almost instantly. He would certainly give the Giants someone to match up with almost any tight end in the league and as any Giants fan knows that has been an Achilles heel for years now.

Listed at 6-4, 230, Simmons has the size and speed to match up with almost every tight end and even some wide receivers. He is versatile enough to rush the quarterback from an outside linebacker position and has a great feel for the game to make him valuable in the middle as well. Across 15 games this season, Simmons tallied 102 tackles, 16 for loss, 8.0 sacks, 8 pass breakups, 3 interceptions, and forced a fumble. He was the heart and soul of the Clemson defense.

The Giants have not had a defensive player that teams have game-planned for in over a decade, since Michael Strahan was in his prime. Simmons has the ability to give offensive coordinators nightmares and the versatility to line up anywhere thereby negating opponents’ game plans.

If you have seen him play you will see a player with fluid hips who can change direction well and uses his long arms to disrupt opposing receivers. At just 230 pounds he won’t win a lot of battles in the trenches with offensive linemen but he has the speed to blow past them at times and get to the quarterback or ball carrier before they get to the line. He also has the potential to add some bulk to his frame without sacrificing speed or fluidity.

It is hard to compare Simmons to any player and that is just fine. Simmons is a unique football player and no matter where the Giants decide to use him he will most likely flourish into a star. He is exactly the type of player Joe Judge will need on his defense.

Eli Manning Really Has Been the Man All Along

Eli Manning

Eli Manning has made news quite a bit this season. He was benched after a Week 2 loss to the Buffalo Bills. There were a ton of news stories about whether the Giants would trade the former two-time Super Bowl MVP. Then, rookie Daniel Jones suffered an ankle sprain and Manning was thrust back into the starting role for Week 14 and 15. Then, Eli made news again after the Giants’ Week 16 win against the Washington Redskins after Eli and Jones were seen partying with other teammates at a Hoboken, N.J. bar.

Following the appearance of Manning and Jones having fun, former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes told ESPN that Manning had a “beer guy” in every NFL stadium. The “beer guy” would be responsible for getting a six pack or twelve pack for Manning to share with veteran teammates on the bus to the airport.

“It was unbelievable,” Tynes told Ian O’Connor. “He had a guy in every fucking stadium in the league to get him that beer.”

Manning has always been a kind of loveable guy, never really making news with one exception regarding game-used memorabilia. This news, however, endears us to Manning. He has always been a private individual and this recent footage of him partying with teammates is the first real footage of Manning doing something outside of a football environment. It was also awesome. To see Manning and Jones partying like brothers among other teammates with pitchers of beer around after a good win was a sight any Giants fan should love. This news that Manning had a beer guy in every stadium only makes us love him more.

Eli Manning has made news twice this week for beer and partying and neither have been negative. That is how you drink beer, you do it responsibly. We tip our caps to you Eli and raise a glass for never making a negative headline when beer is involved.

Here is to Eli, whose lasting memory with the Giants will be two Super Bowls, a fun party video, and a fun win against the Miami Dolphins during a bleak season. Wherever Manning goes next season we will be rooting for him. So raise a beer to the best quarterback the New York Football Giants have ever had and celebrate a great career. Thank you Eli!

New York Giants Can Still Win Leonard Williams Trade

Leonard Williams

The New York Giants made a bad trade when they traded a third round pick in 2020, plus a fifth rounder in 2021 that can turn into a fourth rounder if they re-sign Williams before free agency. However, the Giants didn’t make a mistake by trading for Williams.

I know that previous paragraph seems a bit two-faced but the reality is Leonard Williams could still be a building block on the defensive line. Since being traded to the Giants, Williams has been close to invisible, something New York Jets’ fans are all too familiar with. In three games with the Giants, Williams has seven tackles, no sacks, and no tackles for loss. He seems hesitant a lot of the time, another thing Jets’ fans are familiar with.

Williams’ production is actually beneficial to the Giants. The 2020 free agent class is fairly deep along the defensive line and Williams hasn’t exactly stood out this year, or any year since he was drafted sixth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. There have been flashes but Williams has yet to put together a NFL game film that rivals his college game film, even on the single-game level. That doesn’t mean, however, that the talent isn’t there.

Since joining the Giants there have been little snippets that entice the trained eye. Williams has accumulated 14 quarterback hurries, six of which were QB hits, in those three games with the Giants. He is actually doing something even if it doesn’t show up on tape and highlight reels.

The unpopular opinion right now is the Giants should re-sign Williams. That is the correct opinion, assuming Williams and his team don’t think they are worth a record-breaking contract. There are quite a few options this offseason for teams looking for defensive line help but Williams might be among the top tier for 3-4 defensive ends despite his lack of tangible production.

You can try to look for a player like Williams recently in the NFL and you will most likely come up short. He has immense talent. He can rush the passer and play against the run. The problem is he comes up short most of the time and doesn’t translate into elite status as yet.

He does have elite talent, however. He is still just 25-years-old and produces, even if away from the cameras. If Williams is willing to take a reasonable contract from the Giants then the Giants should absolutely re-sign Williams. Williams can be a viable, and valuable, part of a defensive front. The Giants, given the price they paid for Williams and his potential should re-sign Williams assuming he isn’t asking to break the bank.

In a season filled with disappointment and sprinkled with hope, Williams is actually one of those rays of hope. There is a ton of talent in Williams and the Giants, given their current record, need to invest in talent, especially on defense. The Giants would be better off plugging Williams into a defensive rotation that features Dexter Lawrence and Dalvin Tomlinson. There is still a very good chance the Giants can win this trade nut they will need more along the defensive line to help bring out the best in Williams in order to do so.

5 Reasons The New York Giants Could Be Playoff Contenders in 2018


The Fourth of July is officially behind us and for football fans that means the countdown to training camp has officially begun. The New York Giants are coming off of one of their worst seasons in recent memory. Their 3-13 finish last season cost head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager their jobs, much to the relief of many Giants’ fans. New GM Dave Gettleman made some changes in the clubhouse and brought in reinforcements for Eli Manning in the hopes of making a playoff push this season. It isn’t often that a 3-13 team one year is talking playoffs the next but the Giants might have a legitimate shot at doing just that. Here are five reasons why the Giants will make the playoffs in 2018.

Offensive Line – Nate Solder was brought in to play left tackle on the richest contract ever for that position. It was a hefty price, but a necessary one. Ereck Flowers, the left tackle from last season, is getting a shot to win the job at right tackle but has some competition there. Patrick Omameh should take over at left guard, or right guard with rookie Will Hernandez taking the other spot. Brett Jones showed flashes last season at center, enough to allow Weston Richburg to walk in free agency. This unit, on paper, is the best the Giants have fielded in years, perhaps since their last Super Bowl win. Hernandez has a mean streak and the talent to back it up and could emerge as a Chris Snee-like leader on the interior while Solder provides a solid leadership example with a winning pedigree. This is a unit of lunch-pail workers. Even Flowers has shown something in offseason programs, enough to have fans hopeful that he might be better off at right tackle and with this being a contract year, might put in the work to better himself. If this unit comes together and gives Eli time to make his throws then the Giants could find themselves near the top when it comes to offense this season. Gettleman knows you win building inside out and there is a good foundation here to build on.

Passing Game Mismatches – The Giants have weapons in Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley that can create mismatches in the passing game. Beckham is one of the best receivers in the game and is looking fully healed after surgery that cost him most of last season. He is also entering a contract year and has something to prove. Shepard showed progress last year despite being the team’s only really viable option at receiver. He still managed to get open and can be dangerous across the middle. He has deceptive ability and runs his routes very well. If teams commit to shutting down Beckham then Shepard could exploit that and make them pay. Engram is one of the more promising young tight ends in the game. He has outstanding speed and if a team tries to play a linebacker or safety on him then they could very well find themselves in a world of hurt. He does need to improve on his pass catching skills, he had too many drops last season, but he also showed glimpses of what could be coming. With the Giants’ passing game in shambles last year Engram proved he can carry the passing game for stretches if needed. Teams won’t underestimate him this season but that might not matter, his physical tools are that good. Adding Barkley to the passing attack gives the Giants a threat at all three levels and each level is a threat to rip off huge gains. This layered passing attack is something the Giants haven’t had in years, maybe ever. Another thing the Giants will have going for them is a diversity of packages, something that was lacking under McAdoo who seemed to roll out the 3 WR,1 TE, 1 RB look every down. That alone could allow the Giants to catch some teams off guard.

New Defense – The Giants moved from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4 base under new defensive coordinator James Bettcher. Bettcher helped lead the Arizona Cardinals’ defenses the last five years and built them into one of the better units in the NFL. Gettleman spent draft picks on B.J. Hill (Round 3) and R.J. McIntosh (Round 5) to add beef to the defensive line next to Damon Harrison who figures to get the majority of snaps at nose tackle. Lorenzo Carter was also added in the third round to give the Giants some speed off the edge and Carter could very well be one of the best pass rushers the Giants have this year. The secondary is a bit of a question mark with Eli Apple being asked to take a huge step forward into starting shoes this summer opposite Janoris Jenkins. Apple infamously had an attitude issue last year but the new staff gave him a clean slate and he seems to have reinvented himself this offseason. Landon Collins gives the Giants a very good safety who shouldn’t be exposed in coverage like he was last season and should be allowed to play more to his strengths. There is a lot to like with this unit but there are questions, such as how Olivier Vernon will fare rushing the passer from a stand-up stance, how the secondary will hold up throughout the season, and how the new linebacking corps will mesh with Alec Ogletree, Kareem Martin, Lorenzo Carter, and B.J. Goodson. The Giants haven’t had this many talented linebackers since Bill Belichick ran the defense. But all have questions surrounding them, questions which could be answered by the end of training camp.

An Actual Running Game – The Giants used to be a football team that prided itself on running the football. Then McAdoo took over the offense and it gradually disappeared and seemed to disappear altogether once he took over as head coach. Enter Gettleman who just used the second overall pick on running back Saquon Barkley. Barkley will be joined by veteran Jonathan Stewart and Wayne Gallman, the 2017 fourth-round pick who rushed for 476 yards on 111 carries. The star is Barkley, however. Many draft experts had him as the top player in the whole draft and adding him to a team with Odell, Engram, and Shepard should give Eli Manning plenty of weapons who can break off long gains. Barkley also adds an element to the Giants’ passing attack that has really been missing, the screen pass. One might have to go back to the days of Tiki Barber to find a really explosive running back who can execute the screen and make something happen. Barkley is the real reason to be excited about this aspect of the Giants’ offense and it will add a dimension that has been lacking or ignored for years, literally since Ahmad Bradshaw left as a free agent.

Leadership – Sure, I could have taken the easy way out and put Eli Manning here. We know what Manning is at this point. He is a capable quarterback who will make mistakes. He should be improved with a new offensive line and a running game. However, the most underrated aspect of football is leadership. The Giants have a new coach in Pat Shurmur who has charmed the media, earned the respect of his players already, and seems to have a much more business-like approach to the game. The last few seasons under McAdoo saw teammates fighting with each other, players rebelling against the coaching staff and an image in the media of cluelessness and apathy. It was a bad look for a franchise that has a long history of pride and respectability. Shurmur being at the helm with Bettcher and offensive coordinator Mike Shula give the Giants a leadership core that players, fans, and the media can respect. That alone should get this season off on the right foot. Last season and the nightmares it created are gone. The Giants have the talent to contend for the playoffs, even with the reigning Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles residing in their division. It all starts at the top and right now the Giants seem capable and competent in that department.

Jacksonville Jaguars Might Be Great Landing Spot for Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant

Right now there are very few teams looking for a veteran wide receiver like Dez Bryant. The Dallas Cowboys released Bryant late in the offseason, when teams had already spent most of their free agent dollars and when they were anticipating younger, cheaper talent coming out in the 2018 NFL Draft. With the preparations for the 2018 season in full swing across the NFL there is one team that could use Bryant, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jaguars lost Allen Robinson to the Chicago Bears and Allen Hurns to the Cowboys this offseason. The Jaguars’ solution for replacing them is promoting Marqise Lee, an interesting payer but one who has disappointed for most of his career though he does have 119 receptions and 1553 yards and six touchdowns over the last two seasons. They also signed Donte Moncrief from the Indianapolis Colts.

Following Lee and Moncrief is Keelan Cole, who could start ahead of Moncrief. Cole caught 42 passes for 748 yards and three touchdowns in his rookie season. He certainly showed flashes last year. After Cole the production falls off. Dede Westbrook had an up and down rookie year and finished with 27 catches for 339 yards and one TD. 2018 second round pick D.J. Chark could be an interesting addition to the receiving corps but it might take him a little while to learn the offense.

What harm is there in bringing in Bryant? Granted, Tom Coughlin doesn’t like the nonsense that is sometimes associated with Bryant but he isn’t as bad as some other diva receivers in the league these days. Certainly Coughlin has handled similar personalities during his tenure with the Giants.

The Jaguars are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Their defense is arguably the best in the NFL. Their running game was solid. Their one weakness last season was their passing game. Blake Bortles might not be the best quarterback in the league but teams have certainly won with lesser talent under center. Giving him some weapons to throw to only makes sense and Bryant might be the best receiver still on the market.

Bryant hasn’t been a great receiver for three years. His last 1000-yard season came in 2014 but he did catch 69 passes for 838 yards last season in a run-first offense. He is also still a threat in the red zone with six TDs last year and eight in 2016. There might be a little something left in the tank.

Bryant only wants a one-year prove it deal. That would be a perfect fit for the Jaguars who have some young receivers who might benefit from having a veteran of his stature on the team, taking the pressure off of them. Further, Bryant could be motivated to prove the Cowboys were wrong, along with the rest of the NFL which seems to think that Bryant is done. Bringing Bryant in on a one-year, incentive laden deal might be best for both sides. This seems like a union that would be good for both sides but one that probably won’t happen.

The New York Jets Needed To End The Christian Hackenberg Era


The Christian Hackenberg era with the New York Jets is officially over. He was traded yesterday to the Oakland Raiders for a conditional seventh round pick. The 2016 second-round pick never saw the field for the Jets and was only active for five total games. In reality, the Hackenberg era never really got off the ground and that is a microcosm of the Jets lately.

Since taking over the helm of the Jets in January of 2015, GM Mike Maccagnan has selected three quarterbacks beginning with 2015 fourth rounder Bryce Petty and the latest, 2018 first round pick Sam Darnold. Petty was released earlier this offseason and now Hackenberg finds himself in Oakland.

Petty is the only Maccagnan draftee to see the field, though Darnold will almost certainly barring something catastrophic. Petty appeared in 10 games, seven of them starts, and was, for the most part, awful. He went 1-6 as a starter, completed just 53.1 percent of his passes, threw four touchdowns and 10 interceptions. But at least he saw the field. Hackenberg, who was drafted one year after Petty but two rounds ahead never even got the chance.

There were reports that Hackenberg wasn’t ready. How bad could he have been when compared to Petty’s performance that the Jets, even when their seasons were lost but games still had to be played, never let him in a game to see how he handled himself?

If we are being honest here the Jets have had a less than admirable track record of identifying quarterback talent in the NFL Draft and an even worse record of developing it. It doesn’t matter who the general manager or the head coach are. The list of quarterback misses is long and well known to Jets fans who still cringe at names like Mark Sanchez, Browning Nagle, Glenn Foley, Geno Smith, Greg McElroy, Erik Ainge, and the seemingly endless list of free agents that have come and gone without making much of a mark.

When the Jets drafted Hackenberg there were a lot of eyebrows raised. He struggled mightily in his last season at Penn State and went from Heisman candidate to afterthought. His blaming the coaching staff at Penn State didn’t endear him to many either. The Jets still used a second-round pick on him. Then cast him aside and he was rarely seen again. That is a lot of draft capital wasted. A second round pick that doesn’t even see the field is a major setback for an organization that needed to hit on draft picks during a rebuild.

Jets fans know all of this. They are tired. They are tired of the losing. They are tired of the quarterback carousel. They want hope. Right now there is hope with Sam Darnold and maybe even Teddy Bridgewater. Maybe this is the year the carousel stops. The real question is does the Jets’ front office know? Will they set Darnold up for success or will he be another name added to the list? There is hope with the Jets, hope that Hackenberg was the last rider on the carousel, that his expulsion was the closing of a chapter in the Jets’ history book of failures. Hackenberg had to go.

The Hackenberg era in Florham Park is over without really beginning. The Sam Darnold era is set to begin and hopefully the Jets can end their quarterback misery. The new era couldn’t begin without expunging the past mistakes, the removal of failed talent and misused draft choices. Perhaps a new age really has dawned in Florham Park.

Eli Apple and Ereck Flowers Taking Advantage of Clean Slate with New York Giants

Eli Apple

The New York Giants are coming off one of their worst seasons in recent memory. Nothing went right from injuries to locker room chemistry. General manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo were ousted before the end of the season and new GM Dave Gettleman and new head coach Pat Shurmur have worked hard to restore the locker room and bring back Giants’ football to its former glory. With OTAs under way things are starting to round into shape with the Giants and the best word to describe it is encouraging.

Eli Apple and Ereck Flowers are two of Reese’s first round picks that have failed to live up to expectations. They were also involved in some of the locker room discord. Both were given a clean slate by the new regime. Earlier, it appeared that Flowers would shoot himself in the foot and stay away from the Giants after the team signed Nate Solder to play left tackle. However, Flowers has appeared at OTAs as he tries to learn to play right tackle while holding off Chad Wheeler and other contenders for the right tackle job. Apple has also shown up and has owned his behavior and poor play from last season. He knows he has a clean slate and so far he is showing flashes of first-round talent in camp.

The Giants needed to get this offseason off on the right foot. With a new system being implemented on both offense and defense it was important for all players to get and get to work. There is a different outlook now among the players and the defeatism that crept into the culture last year is gone. This is a team looking for revenge and they have the weapons to make a good run if the chips fall their way.

Shurmur and Gettleman deserve a lot of credit for not making examples of certain players. They surveyed their team and decided the talent was worth the risk. So far, both players are taking advantage and putting in the work and earning praise from the media and teammates.

It was crucial for this team to come together and find common ground heading into the new season. These OTAs were essential to building this team. The Giants need Flowers and Apple this season. They need them to take a step forward. Both will play crucial roles for this team and the first steps have been taken. Both players are moving in the right direction and hopefully the Giants are too.

Collectors Still Vulnerable To Fraud After Eli Manning Settlement


New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning settled his memorabilia fraud case just before it was slated to go to trial on Monday. Details of the deal were not disclosed and all parties, including the Giants, released a statement stating that settling was not an admission of wrongdoing. Manning was accused of conspiring to defraud memorabilia collectors by selling equipment that he never actually wore. That equipment would then show up for sale at Steiner Sports.

This case is the perfect example of what a hazardous road collectors face when collecting game-used memorabilia. I should point out that this is in no way an indictment of any of the parties involved. Since Manning was not convicted I can’t say he was guilty. Steiner Sports, a fairly reputable dealer, could only depend on Eli’s word that the equipment they were being given was in fact game-used. It is a slippery slope and the only real loser is the person who shells out hundreds dollars and ends up with a jersey that a player never actually wore in a game.

This isn’t an isolated incident. In 2012, sports memorabilia dealer Bradley Wells pleaded guilty to selling fraudulent game-used items to trading card manufacturers. Wells told the FBI that Upper Deck, Topps, and Panini America knew they were purchasing items that Wells himself had doctored to appear game-used. Those jerseys would then be cut up and pieces inserted into trading cards. There have been several instances where jersey swatches feature Mitchell and Ness logos or an interesting case where a Whitey Ford jersey card featured a Majestic logo. Majestic didn’t begin business until 15 years after Ford retired.

There have been countless stories of athletes using another party to fulfill their autograph quota for trading card companies. Lonzo Ball, who was a hot commodity in the sports card world right after he was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, has had several different looking autographs appear on cards. Many have speculated that LaVar Ball signed cards with his son’s name.

Collectors are the only ones who lose out. They spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars expecting major companies to vet the products they are peddling. When things go wrong, like the several cases of wrongly labeled game-worn cards, there are no consequences. The worst that might happen is a little social media backlash. However, thanks to exclusive rights deals that card companies have with different sports there is no competition. Card companies have a monopoly on the sport.

The exclusive rights has limited the amount of product, which has solved the oversaturation of the market that almost ruined the hobby in the 1990s. However, it might actually be harming the hobby as well. Topps, which has an exclusive rights contract with Major League Baseball, is the only company that can produce trading cards that feature MLB logos. Panini does offer baseball cards, notably through the Donruss label, but do not feature logos or team names. Panini has exclusive rights with the NBA, NFL, and NHL. Collectors have no way to voice their displeasure with their wallets unless they stop collecting. That is a huge problem.

The different sports leagues, players, and card manufacturers can continue defrauding collectors, whether intentionally or unintentionally, with little or no repercussions aside from paying out some money. The FBI has prosecuted some individuals in the past but those were smaller dealers who were faking autographs. The major companies and the sports leagues have escaped any real harm.

Collecting in this day and age is difficult. Prices have increased but the pitfalls have grown as well when they should shrink. Collectors should be able to purchase cards and memorabilia without worrying about being ripped off. At least not by the companies, players, and leagues we expect to hold a high standard. The reality is they are all no different from the guy who fakes an autograph and puts it up on eBay. When they get caught they apologize, pay the person who complained under the table, and move on. The sports memorabilia industry is a multi-billion industry and is hardly regulated at all. Only the FBI steps in from time to time and prosecutes individuals defrauding collectors. It isn’t enough.

There are still no protections for collectors. There is no oversight, except by the companies themselves and that isn’t good enough anymore. Not when time and time again major companies have either made mistakes or willingly scammed collectors. Not when athletes are committing fraud. Oversight on a massive level is necessary and companies should lose exclusive rights licenses when they are found to be defrauding consumers. Imagine the outrage if this occurred in another multi-billion industry that was more mainstream than sports card and memorabilia collecting. It would be front page news everywhere.

The Manning case is just the latest example. It won’t be the last. Collectors will continue to buy because they want to build their collections or invest for the future. They will have to navigate minefields in an industry where even a perceived nice guy like Eli Manning might be ripping you off. Sadly, things aren’t going to change any time soon either. Navigating the minefield is still hazardous to collectors.

5 Players Who Could Win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award

Calvin Ridley

Now that the 2018 NFL Draft is behind us we can start to look forward to the 2018 season. First, we will need to get through training camp and four preseason games but at least those are real football stories. Among many of those storylines will be which rookies will make an impact with their new team. There are quite a few rookies who have landed in advantageous positions on both sides of the ball. On the offensive side we might see rookies make an immediate impact at several different positions. Here are five NFL rookies who could come away with the Offensive Rookie of the Year trophy.

  1. Josh Rosen, QB, Arizona Cardinals – Rosen probably will start the season on the bench but of all the quarterbacks he might have the clearest shot to start because he only really has Sam Bradford in front of him. Bradford could be a decent placeholder but his health record is hardly encouraging. Let’s face it, if Bradford gets hurt or is ineffective do you really think Mike Glennon is going to stand in the way of Rosen? We could see all four quarterbacks take in the top ten get at least an NFL start this season. Rosen was thought by many to be the most NFL-ready quarterback in this draft. Obviously that remains to be seen but he will have David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald to help. Rosen could find himself in the running as the top rookie.
  2. Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots – The last time Bill Belichick took a running back in the first round it was 2006 and Laurence Maroney was the pick. Michel should be more successful than Maroney and, given the Patriots’ style of play, could thrive. There is also a chance he could get buried on the depth chart since Belichick is very unpredictable with his running back usage. Michel, however, should take the lead back role eventually in New England and could have a major impact.
  3. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons – Ridley was arguably the best receiver in this draft and he fell into the Falcons’ lap which might be the perfect fit for the Alabama product. He will have Julio Jones to help him learn and to take the heat off of him. He already has Matt Ryan at quarterback. He will be given time to learn the offense and while receivers often get off to slow starts in their career there shouldn’t be a problem for Ridley. He runs excellent routes and gets open. That could translate to big things for Ridley.
  4. Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins – Guice was thought of as a first-round draft pick heading into the draft. However, he fell to the Redskins in the second round at 59th overall due to potential off-field issues and work ethic questions. There is no denying his production, however, as he rushed for 2,638 yards over his last two seasons at LSU. He also might have a chip on his shoulder which could lead to him putting in the work and becoming a star at the next level. The Redskins could use an impact player at running back and Guice could be that guy.
  5. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants – The Giants haven’t said it yet but there is little doubt the second overall pick from Penn State will be the starter at running back. Jonathan Stewart is hardly the same player he was a couple of years ago and Wayne Gallman only has a couple of decent games under his professional belt. Neither is standing in the way of Barkley. The Giants love Barkley and head coach Pat Shurmur likes to get running backs involved in his offenses. With his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield Barkley could be the three-down with home run potential back the Giants have lacked since Tiki Barber manned the position. He also steps into an offense that has something to prove and has some young talent at the skill positions with Odell Beckham, Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram as well as a veteran quarterback and improved offensive line. He might not be a superstar right out of the gate but Barkley will see the football in his hands quite a bit which could lead to some gaudy numbers.

Ereck Flowers Is His Own Worst Enemy

Ereck Flowers

Ereck Flowers was always going to be a project when the New York Giants drafted him ninth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. You can argue whether or not the Giants should have drafted him until you are blue in the face but the fact remains he had talent and his lack of development is one of the reasons Jerry Reese was fired last season. However, Flowers can still bring that talent to the surface. The only problem is he is his own worst enemy.

With Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese being fired last season it was evident that Flowers’ days as a Giant might be numbered. The writing started to appear on the wall when Nate Solder was made the richest left tackle in NFL history. The Giants had to do something to improve the offensive line this offseason and Solder was the first step. Adding Solder meant that Flowers would be moving to right tackle, or at least be able to compete for a job there.

Right tackle is not a new position for Flowers. He played there at the University of Miami as a true freshman, making four starts. He moved to left tackle in 2013 and the rest is history. However, Flowers’ profile might have always been better suited to right tackle despite his starting at left tackle during the 2013 and 2014 seasons at Miami. He always had the strength but he lacked the finesse that is required at left tackle, where so often the tackle is left on an island to protect the blind side of the quarterback. At right tackle, Flowers would have been able to use his mauling style to greater effect, especially if he was getting help from the tight end.

Flowers could have used this season as a fresh start. He could have shown up to voluntary camp and put the work in in front of a new coach. He could have learned tricks of the trade from new offensive line coach Hal Hunter. He could have endeared himself to the new coaching staff and gotten a head start at winning the right tackle job.

The problem is he didn’t. Flowers stayed and worked out in Miami, one of the very few Giants who didn’t participate in the camp. He put a target on himself with the new general manager and the new coaching staff.

Regardless of what Flowers did this offseason there was no way they were picking up his fifth year option which would have paid him $12.25 million next season. However, he could have reinvented himself and rebuilt his image. Instead, he has hired Drew Rosenhaus to be his agent and seems like he has already checked out of being a Giant this season.

It wouldn’t have been crazy for Flowers to win the right tackle job and potentially get a new contract with the Giants. A stretch perhaps but not totally out of the question. Money is money and the Giants need offensive linemen. If he showed progress this season he might have been able to get paid and stay a Giant. Or at least rebuild the image he has created for himself and hit the free agent market completely fresh.

Those things didn’t happen. Flowers has shot himself in the foot once again and has created an image of himself where he is selfish and not a team-first guy. Combine that with his subpar play and you have a really negative image of a player who really should be looking for his first really large paycheck. Instead, Flowers might be lucky to find a job where he can compete to start. It isn’t too late to change.