The NFL-wide shock of Giants GM Dave Gettleman selecting Duke QB Daniel Jones with the No. 6 pick in the NFL Draft has (for the most part) settled. Odell Beckham Jr. is a member of the Cleveland Browns, and yes, the organization will probably never hear the end of it. If there's something that Giants fans can take solace in, it's that Saquon Barkley is still just 22 years old and going into his second season as a pro.
Giants Twittersphere will never tell you this, but there are in fact a few reasons to feel optimistic eye for the upcoming season...
Saquon Barkley's continued development
Barkley was everything the Giants hoped he would be when they selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2018's draft. A Pro Bowler and AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in his first year, Barkley has established himself as one of the NFL's best all-around running backs. He finished his rookie season as the league leader in total yards from scrimmage (2,028), as well as second in rushing attempts (261) and third in total yards per game (126.8).
The Bronx native has carried himself like a veteran, constantly citing his teammates and coaches as reasons for his success. While the Sam Darnold/Barkley debate will always linger, there's no doubting that the organization hit a home run with their prized back. Behind a much-improved offensive line, there's no telling what the exciting youngster will be able to achieve.
A revamped, legitimate offensive line
Speaking of a new offensive line, the Giants have one. It's taken a long time, but this offseason was an important one for a position group that has long been one of the league's worst. Gone is free agent bust Patrick Omameh, as is Jerry Reese-era draft pick Ereck Flowers.
Instead of dipping into the bargain bin for OL help, Gettleman made one of his best offseason moves by acquiring Kevin Zeitler from the Browns in exchange for Oliver Vernon's bloated contract. The 29-year-old guard immediately bolsters the right side of the line, an area that has resembled a revolving door in recent years.
Second-year left guard Will Hernandez will look to improve on his strong rookie year, where he displayed tenacity on run plays and finished 26th out of 79 qualified guards in pass-blocking, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Mike Remmers-Pat Shurmur connection is an obvious one, dating back to their days with the Vikings. A move back to right tackle should bode well for Remmers, as he struggled at right tackle in 2018. On paper, this group is the best the Giants have had in at least eight years.
Potentially seeing Daniel Jones play
Most fans and analysts don't have a problem with Jones. Sure, they may not be in love with his skillset, but the primary bone of contention is where he was drafted (No. 6 overall). Could have, should have, would have - those are hypotheticals.
The fact is that Jones is being billed as the Giants' quarterback of the future. Will he live up to that title? It's way too early to tell. Will he see the field in 2019? This is the big question. The organization can afford for him not to start right away. They cannot, however, let him wander the sidelines the entire year, as has been the case with other recent QB selections (Davis Webb, Kyle Lauletta).
The question of whether or not Jones plays much (if at all) will likely be impacted by the direction of the Giants' season. If they're in the playoff hunt, it's unlikely that Eli Manning gets benched. If the season turns south fairly quick, there could be a route for Jones to gain meaningful snaps.
The idea of seeing a new, young face at quarterback is a refreshing one for New York, a scenario that could certainly unfold at some point in the season. Giants fans are probably hoping that Gettleman wasn't serious when he floated the idea that Jones doesn't see the field for three years.
(Hopefully) a full season from Evan Engram
It feels like TE Evan Engram has been around longer than two seasons, but he's still just 24 years old. When healthy, he's shown flashes of talents that made him a first round pick in 2017. The problem is, he's had trouble staying healthy.
He started 11 games his rookie year and eight in 2018. In that time, he's accumulated nine touchdowns for 1,299 yards. At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Engram is more of a big wide receiver than that of a prototypical wideout. He carries a frame similar to Buccaneers superstar receiver, Mike Evans, who comes in at 6-foot-5, 251 pounds. This size at his position should bode well for Engram's continued development, as he can utilize it to his advantage.
Odell Beckham Jr.'s departure will also allow for Engram to gain increased importance in the offense, as well as more targets. He'll serve as a different, bigger type of weapon in comparison to the smaller, quicker Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard. Many will be eager to see what the Ole Miss product can accomplish in 2019, granted he can remain on the field.