How much better are Giants at the skill positions?

Kenny Golladay | Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

ESPN puts Giants in middle of pack despite additions

New York Giants’ decision-makers have not been shy about admitting that one of their primary offseason goals was to add playmakers on offense to support third-year quarterback Daniel Jones.

Wide receivers Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and perhaps John Ross will be part of a revamped wide receiver group. Veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph is a Giant. Devontae Booker replaces Wayne Gallman as the No. 2 running back. A healthy Saquon Barkley will — hopefully — replace the broken one that missed 14 games last season.

So, how good are the weapons Jones will be working with in 2021? ESPN isn’t all that impressed, ranking the Giants’ sill position players 16th in the NFL entering the season.

ESPN says:

For as many promising pieces as the Giants sport, the offense doesn’t add up to the sum of its parts. As exciting as Saquon Barkley might look on a highlight reel, the former Penn State star has now missed most of one season with a torn ACL and hobbled through a second with a high ankle sprain. Kenny Golladay, the team’s new addition at wideout, missed most of 2020 with hip and hamstring injuries. Darius Slayton repeated his 2019 numbers, but he did so on 176 more snaps. Tight end Evan Engram continues to struggle with drops and averaged just 6.0 yards per target last season. First-round pick Kadarius Toney could be a valuable weapon in the slot, but his presence conflicts with Sterling Shepard’s best spot, just as was the case with Golden Tate two years ago.

All of these pieces are being put into an offense by an organization whose espoused philosophy is running the football, which is one of the reasons why the Giants are so frustrating to watch. There’s top-six talent here on paper, but counting on everyone to stay healthy and be used properly seems to be too big of an ask. At the very least, they desperately need a healthy, productive season from Barkley — who said Monday that he’s uncertain he’ll be ready for Week 1 — before figuring out whether they want to give the 2018 No. 2 pick a contract extension next spring.

Valentine’s View

I get it. There are a ton of questions. Barkley keeps adding mystery to the state of his recovery. Golladay played five games last season, and the Giants are paying him to be a Pro Bowl-caliber player when his career high in receptions is 70. Engram is as frustrating a player as you’ll find, a guy whose performance just doesn’t consistently match his talent. Whether the Giants can effectively incorporate Toney into the offense is a question we can’t answer.

Still, I think the Giants did everything they could to improve those spots. They signed the best free-agent receiver available. They used a first-round pick on a receiver. They added a quality tight end.

Now, as the season approaches, we just wait to find out if it was enough to help Jones become the quarterback the franchise needs him to be.

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