What is the Giants Special Teams Outlook?
By: Charlie Vakassian
Special teams was one of the few strengths of the Giants in 2021, as they were a top 15 unit in the NFL. That was mostly anchored by kicker Graham Gano, as he made 29 of his 33 field goal attempts and nailed all his extra points. He was essentially the Giants offense, as the starting unit failed to crack end zone time after time. Punter Riley Dixon was wildly inconsistent to lackluster, as he repeatedly booted punts into the end zone or left kicks way short, giving opposing teams good field position. His salary of $3.1M makes him an easy-cut candidate, as the Giants should find a better and cheaper alternative elsewhere. Finding a return specialist would be ideal, although someone in the house could do the job, like Kadarius Toney.
Free Agency Options
Free agency has a couple options out there. Corey Bojorquez is a solid choice, and has a cannon leg, as he averaged over 50 yards a punt in 2020, and was more than serviceable in 2021. Other names to watch include Bryan Anger, Jordan Berry, and Pat O’Donnell. The Giants did just bring in Jamie Gillan on a futures contract, so maybe he gets a shot to punt. As for return specialists, Jakeem Grant is hitting the market, although the Bears seem set on retaining him. Ray-Ray McCloud led the NFL in punt return yards this past year, and could be a solid get. The position is not high on the list of needs, but someone will be brought in.
I consider this to be a very unlikely route, given the Giants long list of needs at other positions. That being said, anything is possible. Matt Araiza out of San Diego State is a special punter, and could be one of the rare special teamers to hear his name called during the draft. He has booted punts of 77, 80, and 88 yards before, and holds multiple NCAA punting records. Again, this has a very small chance of happening, but a late draft pick could be spent to solidify the punting position for years to come. As for helping the return game, wide receivers John Metchie III and Jahan Dotson possess blazing speed and agility, and have return experience in college.
As I repeatedly stated, these are not major needs for the Giants. Dixon needs to be cut to save cap space, so there will more than likely be a new punter. We will also likely see a different face returning punts and kicks. Graham Gano is under contract and is a productive kicker, so his roster spot is safe and secure. This concludes the New York Giants Position Outlooks! I appreciate you all taking the time to read these, and go Giants! Be on the lookout for my New York Giants Mock Draft 1.0!