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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
John Fennelly

2023 NFL free agency: 3 underrated Giants additions

New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen has been busy this offseason, fortifying his roster with another slew of underrated free agent signings.

Many are writing off most of the moves as flyers, one-year deals on players who are with either coming off injuries or down seasons.

They’re right. But that doesn’t mean Schoen hasn’t found a few gems in those so-called mundane moves. Here are three moves that could turn out to be winners for the Giants this season.

Jeff Smith, wide receiver

You must be wondering why the Giants would pick up a lightly-played wide receiver off the roster of a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 12 years.

We did, too, until we took a closer look.

Jeff Smith was signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2019 out of Boston College where he began his career as a quarterback. At Chestnut Hill, Smith played in 47 games and had a line that read 72 receptions for 1,078 yards and nine touchdowns as a receiver, plus 34 completed passes for 404 yards and six touchdowns as a passer and 135 rushes for 898 yards with nine more touchdowns.

That’s versatility.

Unfortunately, Smith was oft-injured in his four years with the Jets and did not get much playing time. But when he did, he proved he can play multiple roles.

Schoen sees the value in such players and perhaps signed Smith based on that and his ability to play special teams.

Jarrad Davis, linebacker

The Giants actually re-signed Jarrad Davis this offseason as he ended the season with Big Blue after being signed off the Detroit Lions practice squad on December 28.

Davis started one regular season game for the Giants and made 11 total tackles. He then started at inside linebacker in the Giants’ two postseason games.

A former first-round pick by the Lions back in 2017 out of Florida, Davis’ pro career started off strong but then petered out over the next several seasons, motley due to injuries.

What he showed late last year was enough for the Giants to bring him back, which means he’ll get a shot at a starting role again.

Rakeem Nunez-Roches, defensive tackle

The Giants signed Rakeem Nunez-Roches very early on in free agency which leads us to believe they saw him — and the defensive line rotation — as a priority.

Nacho will slide into a rotational role on the line and give some relief to Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams. He was an effective part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rotation that won the Super Bowl a few years back.

This is another one of the depth signings that critics have been knocking but depth is essential for any team that has plans on going far in the playoffs.

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