As the Giants were putting together a fine 2020 NFL Draft, teams within the NFC East were loading up on playmakers on the offensive side of the ball.
The Cowboys had Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb fall into their laps at No. 17 overall, and the Eagles took their man in TCU WR Jalen Reagor at No. 21 overall to go along with more speedy receivers at the bottom of the draft. And then the 49ers traded Marquise Goodwin to Philadelphia as the Eagles brought in yet another veteran option to a receiving corps that was depleted last season.
For the Giants, these new weapons on opposing offenses could be a big challenge next season under new head coach Joe Judge.
Or will it?
Let's first take a look at the projected starting receivers for the Cowboys and Eagles. Dallas is expected to be the hardest, with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup to go along with Lamb. For Philly, they now have a plethora of options that includes Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Goodwin, Reagor and whoever else -- whether its draft picks or late standouts from last season like Greg Ward Jr. -- to provide depth.
It will be a tough task, but the Giants do have their own necessary weapons to combat the receivers they'll be seeing twice a year for the foreseeable future.
The first is James Bradberry, who reunites with GM Dave Gettleman this offseason by signing a three-year, $43.5 million deal to make him the team's top corner. That void was created when Janoris Jenkins was cut last last season, and Gettleman surprisingly spent on his former second-rounder from his days in Carolina to provide a young option that has experience lining up with top receivers around the league.
Bradberry has dealt with the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, and many others. Facing off against those top receivers will obviously lead to being beat. But Bradberry is only 26 and was thrown in the fire by the Panthers to play in that position. Four years of experience there should play a major role next season.
Then, there's DeAndre Baker, who is the biggest wild card here. His struggles were on full display in his rookie year, but Gettleman and the Giants didn't trade back into the first round of the 2019 draft for no reason.
He needs to develop in his sophomore season, and his second-half finish proved that he can make those steps to do so. But he does have the physical traits and aggressive nature to be the pest at cornerback he was during his days in Georgia.
And then there's Gettleman's potential X-factor: Xavier McKinney. The Giants believe they got a big steal by taking him with the fourth pick in the second round. McKinney is an extremely versatile safety who can basically do it all on the field.
Is he an Isaiah Simmons? No. But his high IQ, ability to cover in space, ability to make quarterbacks nervous coming off the edge as well as breaking into the backfield to stop the run is something the Giants need badly on defense. His impact should be seen at all three levels of the defense.
Think about what McKinney's skill set can be next to Jabrill Peppers, who is more linebacker than safety with his hard-hitting nature and knack for stopping players in their tracks at the line of scrimmage. Having those two anchoring the defense -- Judge alluded to McKinney one day being the "quarterback" of the unit -- makes up for a great back end of the secondary.
Also worth noting: Baker and McKinney have experience with Lamb during their college careers. Baker faced off against him in the fire fight between Oklahoma and Georgia during the 2018 Rose Bowl. McKinney also saw Lamb this past year during the College Football Playoff semifinal. Lamb had good games in each matchup, but knowing what he brings to the table is good.
Finally, the Giants also have depth at cornerback with players like Sam Beal, Corey Ballentine, Julian Love and others that can play in the slot and provide relief. They are all young options, too.
Of course, it is simple to look at things this way on paper. Players need to develop -- like Baker and McKinney. But Gettleman has given new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham the resources to deal with these offenses he'll be facing with these scary weapons.
The one thing that we can say for sure is that these matchups twice a season will be fun to watch. If the Giants want to be on the winning end of them, this secondary will play a big part in making that happen.