Giants GM Dave Gettleman knew he had holes this offseason, as New York had set another season below .500. And he did a pretty good job filling a bunch of them, both in free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft.
It should lead to some Giants having big seasons on the stat sheet.
In a tough NFC East that got even better with their roster additions, too, Big Blue will be hoping players step up this year. The Cowboys added CeeDee Lamb to an already-stellar wideout group led by Amari Cooper. The Eagles also added some speedy wide receivers and secondary help, while the Redskins filled holes as well.
The Giants do believe they have their left tackle of the future, though, in Andrew Thomas after drafting him fourth overall. Free agency saw changes on defense to fill gaps and upgrade positions on a group that was lackluster last season.
Who will be the players benefiting from all the change this season? Here are a few Giants that should reap those benefits...
Calling it a down year for Barkley in 2019 is funny considering he still had 1,441 yards from scrimmage with eight total touchdowns. But after collecting over 2,000 yards in his rookie season, including 1,307 yards on the ground with 15 total touchdowns, it is.
But the addition of Thomas -- likely at right tackle -- should be just what a healthy Barkley needs to get back to the production from his rookie season, if not better. Thomas is not only a stout pass protector, but he's also a mauler in the run game -- something he prides himself on. Barkley will love to run to his side instead of having Mike Remmers setting that edge like he did last season.
The Giants' offensive line hasn't been great since Barkley came into the league, but this will be his best unit yet. And Thomas should be blocking on the left side for a very long time, once Nate Solder is out.
Xavier McKinney/Jabrill Peppers
Why put both of these safeties on the list? They complement each other so well, they both should have very productive seasons.
First, McKinney is part of the offseason changes, as the Giants believe they found themselves a steal with the fourth pick in the second round. Many scouts had McKinney with a first-round grade, but team needs led to him falling out. And the Giants pounced.
McKinney showcased his play-making ability at Alabama, and by the sounds of it, Joe Judge will have him at free safety playing center field. And that leaves Peppers to do what he does best: play in the box.
Peppers is a monster at the line of scrimmage, as he was on pace to break many career highs last season before falling to a transverse process fracture. With McKinney behind him (of course, he needs to earn that trust first), Peppers can play more in the box and focus on stopping the run and disrupting the quarterback.
Both players are young, productive, and the Giants believe they have a safety tandem that could develop into one of the best in the league.
The wide receiving corps didn't change at all, with the Giants confident they have enough at that position to produce in 2020. That is if they're healthy.
Shepard is one of those players that couldn't stay on the field, as concussions hurt his play. But he could actually be the most productive receiver this season because Daniel Jones shouldn't have to be worrying about pressure as much as he did in his rookie year.
Yes, Jones developed a great chemistry with Darius Slayton and even Golden Tate. Also, Evan Engram should be back healthy, and there's always throwing the ball to Barkley out of the backfield. The ball will be spread around, but Shepard knows that he could easily be this team's No. 1 receiver. He said so himself when reporters bombarded him with those questions after Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Browns.
With that chip on his shoulder, expect Shepard to be heading into training camp looking to develop more of a bond with Jones and reminding everyone why the Giants loved him when they took him in the second round back in 2016. He's proven to be a solid receiver, and he now has the opportunity with a better offensive front for Jones to use his route-running skills to get open and start making defenders miss again.
If there is a knock on Gettleman's offseason it's that he didn't find that elite pass rusher the Giants still need. The only real move he made in that department was signing Fackrell to a one-year, prove-it deal -- the same one he gave Markus Golden (someone they could still see on the roster because of the UFA tender).
Fackrell had a 10.5-sack season in 2018, which is why the Giants believe he can do it again with them this season. While Fackrell knows that's why he was brought into the Giants camp, the additions around him should help accomplish that goal.
The secondary improved with James Bradberry becoming the team's No. 1 cornerback to go along with McKinney joining the group. Also, Blake Martinez, a teammate on the Packers with Fackrell, is up the middle leading the defense at inside linebacker. His presence will be hard for the run game to get going as well as the solid interior the Giants possess.
All of that should lead to some long third downs where Fackrell can force teams to give the ball back to the Giants.