During the NFL season, our team of 300-plus staff spend around 20,000 man-hours grading and analyzing every play of the NFL season, from the kickoff in the Hall of Fame game to the final play of the Super Bowl.
Now that the 2018 season is officially in the books, we can now take a look back at the season through the eyes of each NFL team and using the grades and statistics that we have compiled, we and detail what went right, what went wrong, and explain what that team has to look forward to.
Below is the 2018 season recap for the New York Giants.
Coming off the worst season the franchise had endured for decades, the Giants did manage to improve a little in 2018, but only to five wins in a division where the next-worst team had two more than that, leaving many of the biggest questions surrounding this franchise’s future still unanswered.
What went right?
- The 2018 draft class performed very well. As a draft class, they ranked second in our PFF WAR metric, and Saquon Barkley, Will Hernandez, Lorenzo Carter & B.J. Hill all finished in the top five rookies at their respective positions.
- Evan Engram came on strong in the second half of the season. He had a 54.8 Overall Grade from Weeks 1-8 and a 91.7 overall grade from Weeks 9-17 and finally started to match some of his elite athleticism with down-to-down performance.
- Edge rusher Olivier Vernon came back strong from injury and was really the team’s sole source of significant pass-rush pressure. He finished the season with a career-high grade of 86.3. In 11 games, he had 22 stops and 46 pressures, eight of them being sacks.
What went wrong?
- The Giants punted on taking a quarterback with the second overall pick of the draft. Instead, they drafted Saquon Barkley. The organization believed Eli Manning could still play at a high level and lead the team where it needed to go, but 2018 did nothing to back up that assessment, as Manning ranked just 27th in overall PFF grade, with an even lower score than the year before. With more help than previous seasons, Manning, if anything, was worse and that makes their quarterback questions even more pressing than they were.
Highest-Graded offensive player
Star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was back to his best this season with an overall PFF grade of 90.0, the best mark of his career since his standout rookie season. Beckham finished the year ranked fifth overall among wideouts, and led the league in broken tackles after the catch.
Highest-Graded Defensive player and Breakout Player
Many Giants fans believe that Olivier Vernon struggled somewhat in 2018, but in fact, his PFF grade of 86.3 was the best mark on the team’s defense, and his win percentage of 18.2% tied for ninth in the league among edge rushers. Given he was the team’s lone threat for most of the year, that’s impressive work, and the best season he’s had as a Giant.
First-round Pick Saquon Barkley was every bit as good as advertised as a draft prospect. He ended the season with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and was a big-play threat from the get-go. Overall, he was good enough to be our choice First-Team All-Pro, and he led the league in total broken tackles with 71.
The Giants are now a team with some impressive playmakers on offense but face an offseason needing to address a significant question mark at the most important position in the game – quarterback. How successfully they answer that question will go a long way to determining how good they are in 2019 and beyond.