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Specific Giants Players Need to Step Up In 2022

After last week’s first preseason game, the Giants showed some promise, but more work is needed if they want to go anywhere this season. They’ll need some role players to step up and make a more significant impact.

The Giants are a team nobody expects to compete for a championship or even a playoff spot this season. Coming off an embarrassing 4-13 season where the team was laughed at weekly for its poor coaching and subpar play, it’s no wonder the group is an afterthought in 2022. However, the Giants have enough young and exciting talent that if they can string a couple of positive weeks during the season, they could make some noise.

They need players in critical positions to step up if they want to do anything this year. During the 2007 Giants Super Bowl run, Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress needed to be their best version to make it as far as they did. During the 2011 Super Bowl season, Victor Cruz had the biggest year of his career, going for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns during the regular season.

During that season, in his second season, Jason Pierre-Paul recorded a career-high 16.5 sacks and 86 tackles. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve played in the NFL or where you started that season. The team expects you to play at your best. This year, these four players must turn it up a notch for the Giants.  

Daniel Jones

Without a doubt, the most important player on the Giants roster this season is Daniel Jones. As good as the rest of the roster could be, the team will likely fall with him if Jones struggles. His career has been filled with some ups but a lot more downs. He’s never finished a season above .500, and his touchdown-to-turnover ratio is abysmal. His play has shown improvement and hope, but he can never put it together consistently to make you believe in him.

He enters this season in the final year of his rookie contract and has to prove he’s worthy of being the quarterback for the Giants. To do that, he has to reduce the number of turnovers and negative plays. It happens way too often and kills a lot of drives. He also has to push the ball more downfield, and with Brian Daboll’s offense coming in, that will likely be the case. If Daniel Jones succeeds, there is a path for him to return to the Giants. It’s pretty simple. He has to win more games and play better for that to happen.

Kenny Golladay

For a guy who got a whopping 4-year, $72 million contract with $40 million guaranteed, Giants WR Kenny Golladay severely underperformed in his first year with the team. In the 14 games he played, he only recorded 37 receptions for 521 yards. The one area that stuck out was that he didn’t have a touchdown all season. As a number one receiver, that is hard to do. He’s been scrutinized all offseason because of it, and rightfully so. When you’re being paid that much, the expectations go way up. He didn’t even come close to what the Giants thought they were getting.

He can turn it all around, though, with a strong 2022 season. Golladay and WR Kadarius Toney have a chance to be the Giant’s WR1 by the end of the season. When he’s healthy, Toney looks like the more explosive and better option to be that WR1. Golladay has to create more separation in his routes and get open more if he wants to see his targets increase. The team will suffer if he doesn’t improve, and younger, quicker guys pass him.

Azeez Ojulari

After being taken with the 50th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Azeez Ojulari was considered a steal as the only reason he fell to the Giants at that pick was a reported injury that stemmed from high school. Nonetheless, the Giants saw nothing wrong, and Ojulari followed with a tremendous rookie season. He had eight sacks in his first year and 13 QB hits. Ojulari used his speed as his number one weapon last year but transformed his body this offseason.

He stated in May that he added 10 pounds of muscle during the offseason and went from 246 a year ago to 255. That part of his game needed some attention, and he addressed it correctly. Now that the Giants drafted Kayvon Thibodeaux with the 5th overall pick in this year’s draft, the team has a dynamic duo at EDGE rusher.

Thibodeaux will use his first year in the NFL to fine-tune his game, and he isn’t expected to carry the load right away. That is Ojulari’s job, and he’s now expected to build on his rookie year. The Giants were 22nd in sacks last year. Ojulari has to have a season that puts the league on notice to increase that.

Azeez Ojulari says he added about 10 pounds of muscle this offseason. At 255 pounds. Played at around 246 last year. — Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) May 19, 2022

Aaron Robinson

The Giants have to fill an enormous hole from a year ago in the secondary. After having to release CB James Bradberry due to a limited salary cap space, the team is looking for someone internally to fill the void. CB Adoree’ Jackson is CB1, the best corner on the roster. The question is who will be on the other side of the field as CB2. That is where CB Aaron Robinson comes into play.

The second-year corner out of UCF had an up-and-down rookie season. He only started two of the nine games he played in and started the year on the sidelines due to an injury. His best game was Week 12 against the Eagles, where he had four tackles, two pass deflections, and one QB hit. 

Because of the void this year, he’ll be thrust into more playing time and opportunities. He’s a physical corner which leads to more pass breakups but also increases the chances of penalties being called on you. That was evident during the Giant’s first preseason game last Thursday against the Patriots, where he got called twice for penalties and beat for a big play.

If Robinson wants to stay on the field and compete for that CB2 spot, he has to be more disciplined and learn that flags are called more often today than in previous years. For a 3rd round pick in his second season, this type of opportunity doesn’t usually come this quickly. If the Giant’s secondary wants to be a competent unit this season, Robinson has to step up and focus on being the best version of himself.  

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