The New York Giants are coming off a 2018 campaign in which they won just six games and ended up with the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft, which they used to draft quarterback Daniel Jones.
The Giants also traded away Odell Beckham Jr. earlier this offseason, so their offense has certainly lost a bit of its luster.
But, New York has its successor to Eli Manning, and with some interesting young talent on both sides of the ball, this should be looked at as a transition year for Big Blue.
Still, this is New York, so the pressure is always on.
While Manning may be on his way to getting replaced, there isn’t a ton of individual pressure on him at this stage, as just about everyone knows he will begin the season under center, and if the Giants struggle out of the gate, there is a good chance Jones steps in.
That’s pretty much common knowledge.
But, here are the three non-Manning Giants players who are facing the most pressure heading into 2019.
3. Jabrill Peppers
The Giants picked up Jabrill Peppers from the Cleveland Brown in the Beckham trade, a package that also netted New York a first-round draft pick and a third-rounder.
But not enough people seem to be talking about Peppers, who is a very talented young safety.
Peppers played out of position for most of his rookie campaign in 2017, playing free safety rather than strong safety, but once he was moved to his natural spot for good in 2018, he flourished.
The 23-year-old has some big shoes to fill, however, as he will be replacing three-time Pro Bowler Landon Collins, who departed via free agency back in March.
Many are expecting big things from Peppers, so the heat is on the kid to deliver.
2. Sterling Shepard
With Beckham gone, Sterling Shepard takes over as the de facto No. 1 receiver for the Giants, and whether or not he is ready for that role remains to be seen.
Shepard has been impressive in the No. 2 role since being drafted by New York in 2016 and is coming off of a season in which he hauled in 66 receptions for 872 yards and four touchdowns.
But is Shepard capable of being a No. 1?
This is a huge question for the Giants that Shepard must answer this season, especially considering New York just signed him to an extension. If he can’t step up in that role, the Giants will likely have to look for another wide out to put alongside of Shepard next offseason.
1. Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley took the world by storm during his rookie year, racking up 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground while hauling in 91 receptions for 721 yards and four scores.
Now, all eyes are on Barkley to be even better in 2019, which is a tall task, to say the least.
Plus, with Beckham no longer on the roster, there will be that much more pressure on Barkley to take over as the face of the offense going forward and to help replace Beckham’s production.
It’s hard to find a reason why Barkley won’t be able to produce at a high level again this season, but that doesn’t mean there is any less heat on him to make things happen week in and week out.