The team have updated their depth chart, all the holes have been filled but it is far from reassuring. Wide receiver is slightly worrisome because there is currently no true N° 1 unless Devante Parker turns up and we all know how that goes. Lets hope that Preston Williams makes strides during the season.
The thing that jumps out are the six running backs on the team which includes Chandler Cox even though he is listed as a TE, unless there is something we don't know. We can understand wanting to keep that many as they all showed skills in the pre-season and will probably be used as situational players but six is high.
The biggest concern is the offensive line which could be the teams undoing. It starts with Julien Davenport because he is the left tackle. He has been graded as the 40th ranked left tackle by NFL1000, let that sink in, he is rated below some teams back-up left tackle. We have done some digging to allay any fears and there is some encouragement. Although he had an overall PFF season grade of 54.9 his last four games saw a significant improvement. Over that 4 game span his rating was 63.2, with a pass block rating of 64.3 and a run grade of 62.7. He isn’t going to be Tunsil any day soon who graded out with an overall of 70.4, a 79.5 pass and 62.3 run grade. This is where there is some slight encouragement as Davenport had a better run blocking grade than Tunsil in the last four weeks of 2018. If the team are going to be run heavy it may turn out ok.
Right tackle Jessie Davis has played right guard most of his career so has a new life at the spot vacated by JuWuan James. While playing guard in 2018 PFF had him as the 77th ranked player at that position, not great but it wasn’t that long ago he played right tackle at the back end of 2017 and filled in admirably while James was injured.
In the centre of the line Daniel Kilgore returns from injury and should provide a veteran presence to help the rookies either side of him. Michael Deiter and Shaq Calhoun are un-known commodities at the moment so it will be interesting to see how they fare early on, if they struggle then the 4 players behind with a combined 24 starts between them will be pressed into action.
We all know about Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen, the question is at what point will Rosen be given the nod, either to find out wether the team the team need to draft a QB next season or to increase his trade value when the time comes.
On the other side of the ball there are some familiar names but once you get past the starters then it is another story. It is a list of who’s, who? Kicking of the front three we have John Jenkins, Davon Godchaux and Christian Wilkins. We all know about Godchaux and Wilkins but Jenkins is a fresh face at defensive end. He isn’t a rookie, far from it, he has played in 66 games during his NFL career, in that time he has had 23 starts and played for four teams over seven years. His CV reads 121 tackles (67 solo) 1.5 sacks, two passes defended, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, hardly dominant stuff but somebody sees something in him to give him the start, the odd thing is that he has been a nose tackle and is now listed as an end.
Behind the starters are Avery Moss and Jonathan Ledbetter. Moss was drafted by the Giants who released him this off-season partly due to a crowded Giants depth chart. He is listed as DE with the Dolphins which is his natural position, the Giants however tried to convert him to LB, it wasn’t seamless but he had performed well in limited pre-season action and has upside. Ledbetter is a rookie with who really started showing his skills in 2017 as an 11-game starter, making 38 tackles, 5.5 for loss, and 2.5 sacks in 15 games played for the SEC champs. he was a second-team all-conference pick as a senior, starting 13 of 14 games played and recording 56 tackles, 6.5 for loss, and one sack.
At linebacker there are two familiar faces in Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker, either side of them are Sam Eguavoen and Charles Harris, yes the same Harris who was playing DE last season. Sam Eguavoen has come from the CFL and had performed well during the pre-season and could be an upgrade from last year. Backing up the starters are an intriguing group of players who will play there part during the season and seem to have flexibility which fits in with the philosophy that the team is looking for.
The back end of the defense on paper is the strongest part of the team, Xavien Howard, Reshad Jones and Bobby McCain all return as starters as does Minkah Fitzpatrick, he isn’t listed as a starter but worry not, he will be on the field the majority of the time. The new starter lining up opposite Howard comes across from New England. Eric Rowe has been reasonably good in the pre-season, he will be tested early and often because teams will look away from ‘X’ on the other side. Behind them with the exception of Walt Aikens are a bunch of young un-tested players who have very limited game experience, the one that stood out in pre-season was Jomal Wiltz who seemed to be around the ball a lot, the others, we will wait and see.
On special teams we see the return of both kickers from last season, the only difference is the man snapping the ball to them, out is John Denney and in is Taybor Pepper who has been knocking around with Green Bay, Baltimore, Green Bay again and the Giants, in that time he has played in a whole four games, just a few less than Denney.
Like it or not the team had to be re-booted and it certainly has, they may surprise a few and win some games but realistically won’t be picking up the Lombardi trophy at the end of the season, but they haven’t got close for far too many years so something drastic had to be done and has. It will be bumpy.