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Giants improve with draft picks, but big ifs stay on the list

The four Lombardi trophies that John Mara hands over to his officer each day on the way upstairs have stood alone in the lobby of the Giants’ Quest Diagnostics Center for eleven years.

No one, not even Mara, is under any illusions that these four lonely Lombardi Trophies will be having company any time soon.

But at least Joe Schoen, the rookie general manager, has given hope to a franchise and fanbase that’s been buried in hopelessness for far too long — light at the end of a deep, dark tunnel.

You have to crawl before you can walk, and after the Giants finished last season, not being flat on their backs should be counted as a small win.

When you inherit a salary-constrained and psychological mess that requires reconstruction, the mission statement is to close the gap with the haves, one step at a time.

Mara once said of the late Hall of Fame Giants GM George Young, “He changed for the better the reputation and level of respect our team had.”

Even after making Phil Simms his first draft pick in 1979, Young and coach Ray Perkins didn’t make the playoffs until 1981, when Lawrence Taylor was the second overall pick that year.

New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen, left, and head coach Brian Daboll, right, with draft picks Evan Neal and Kayvon Thibodeaux.
Giants GM Joe Schoen (left) and head coach Brian Daboll (right) with Evan Neal and Kayvon Thibodeaux.
AP

The Giants did not become Super Bowl contenders until Simms emerged as franchise quarterback in 1985 and 1986, replacing Bill Parcells for Perkins and emerging as elite coach.

So let’s not expect Schoen to be a miracle worker.

“I want him to build the thing right,” Mara said, “and give us a shot at sustained success.”

It’s a long road from laughable stock to continued success, but Schoen started it with Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal from the stud’s first round, before becoming Trader Joe and adding gadget receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, and what he did for quality depth holds offensive line and cornerback and virtually everywhere else.

Thibodeaux gives the Giants their first legitimate threat to rush the passer in what seems like forever and Neal gives Daniel Jones a mountainous bookend for left tackle Andrew Thomas.

The fact that Schoen is reinforcing the trenches with two Impact players doesn’t make the Giants competitors. Thibodeaux doesn’t guarantee a fearsome rush. Neal does not guarantee that the offensive line that was surgically addressed during the free hand has been repaired.

But at least this isn’t a clown show.

Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones
Getty Images

Schoen rang the bell, and the degree to which the Giants become relevant again will largely depend on a Core Four next:

Head Coach Brian Daboll. Quarterback Daniel Jones. Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. defensive coordinator Wink Martindale.

Schoen had the currency and expertise to reduce the number of ifs on his list, but there are still miles to go before he sleeps before he can come up with a list with fewer ifs than the Eagles, Cowboys and Commanders.

Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley
Getty Images

The biggest if:

If Daboll and Kafka Jones can magically turn into the one-time Giants franchise quarterback only a Giants franchise quarterback, because these days you can’t win a Super Bowl without an elite quarterback.

If Daboll can be the coach Mara thought Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur and Joe Judge would be and allow the owner to say the Giants have stopped doing anything to screw up the kid.

If Martindale can unleash their version of Hell and get the Giants fans chanting “dee-fense” again in the fourth quarter.

Wait, there are others, they’re always there when the rebuild starts all over again:

If Saquon Barkley can stay on the field and do the talking.

If Kenny Golladay can recover and maybe catch a TD pass.

If Kadarius Toney can stay on the field and honor his first-round status and maybe catch a TD pass.

If Blake Martinez can come back from a cruciate ligament rupture.

If Xavier McKinney can anchor a secondary who lost safeties Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan and likely cornerback James Bradberry.

If Daboll can fix the loss syndrome that has strangled the Giants.


Get the latest updates on every New York Giants pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, plus a hometown analysis from the New York Post.


The Eagles are the class of the NFC East after their trade for AJ Brown. But the Commanders, with Carson Wentz at quarterback, and the Cowboys, with Amari Cooper gone and Tyron Smith, now 31 and plagued by injuries, attacking left, shouldn’t scare anyone.

The Giants can only go up, but pending further review, 8-9 feels like their ceiling four months before the 2022 season.

“It’s one thing to be a good coach and to develop players,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott once said. “But if you’re not being fed good players, it’s almost like drinking from an empty hose.”

Schoen watched as Bill’s GM fed Brandon Beane McDermott good players. Now Schoen has started feeding Daboll good players. For impatient Giants fans, patience must be a virtue for these four lonely Lombardi trophies. But fortunately the patient is recovering.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/30/giants-improve-with-draft-picks-but-big-ifs-remain-on-roster/ Giants improve with draft picks, but big ifs stay on the list

JOE HERNANDEZ

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