The New York Giants are down one draft pick for the 2022 NFL Draft and they have the Carolina Panthers to thank for it.
When Big Blue shipped off kicker Ryan Santoso to Carolina back in August, the Giants received a conditional seventh-round pick for next year’s draft in exchange. The caveat, Santoso had to both make the team’s 53-man roster — which he did — and appear in two regular-season games — which he did not. The Panthers released Santoso on Tuesday, September 14th, mere days after head coach Matt Rhule claimed the season opener wasn’t a one-game tryout for the kicker, via ESPN’s David Newton.
Santoso didn’t perform all too badly in his first career game action as a placekicker. The 26-year-old connected on each of his two field-goal attempts in Carolina’s 19-14 victory over the New York Jets in Week 1. However, he did miss one of his two extra-point attempts on the evening. Evidently, his showing last Sunday and since arriving in Carolina wasn’t enough to validate surrendering a seventh-round pick for his services. To replace Santoso on the roster, the Panthers have signed Zane Gonzalez, who played the past three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
Santoso was initially brought in as a perceived upgrade over incumbent Joey Slye, who went 3-for-3 on field goals (49, 26 and 25 yards) and 4-for-4 on extra points in his Houston Texans debut in the opening week of play.
Santoso Returning to New York?
While the Giants may have seen their draft capital drop from 11 picks in 2022 to 10 picks, there may be a silver lining here. As NJ Media Group’s Art Stapleton noted, the Giants may be able to chalk the entire trade up as a wash — almost like it never happened — as Santoso could theoretically find himself back in East Rutherford.
Built more like a linebacker than a kicker, the 6-foot-5-inch, 258-pound Santoso would struggle to sniff the field should he return to the Giants. The team is set at kicker with veteran Graham Gano in the fold, who is coming off one of the most accurate seasons by a Giants kicker in franchise history (96.9%). Theoretically, Santoso could factor into the punting game later on down the road, as he did spend his final collegiate seasons at Minnesota serving predominantly as the Gophers’ primary punter.
“He can do whatever. Ryan can punt, kick — I’m serious, he’s very talented and he’s punted in NFL games before, he’s kicked off, he can kick field goals, so Ryan is a very talented young man,” special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said of Santoso during training camp. “Ryan has great upside, he’s a good man, he works his tail off.”
Giants Injury Report for Thursday Night Football
Shifting our focus from the somewhat distant future to the near future, the Giants have a short turnaround this week as they look to get into the win column with a divisional matchup on Thursday night with the Washington Football Team.
When Big Blue takes the field at FedExField they’ll be doing so once again without the services of starting tight end Evan Engram, who will miss his second consecutive game with a calf injury. Other players ruled out are linebacker Cam Brown and guard Shane Lemieux. Running back Saquon Barkley is currently listed as questionable.