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2013 NFL Team Previews, NFC East: New York Giants - 3rd

by Shasky Clarke on Aug. 23, 2013

2013 NFL Team Previews, NFC East: New York Giants - 3rd 

 

OFFENSE

 

Quarterback:

Eli Manning was asked to work the magic he did two years ago en route to another Super Bowl championship. Unfortunately, the passing game wasn't as effective, with Manning slightly lacking the arm strength and consistent accuracy he showed when he seemed to be a definite top five NFL passer. Manning was more susceptible to footwork issues upon his release and his downfield arm no longer appeared elite. Nonetheless, Manning is still great and is like a coach on the field with a substantial mastery of his offense. He has also been durable and is difficult to sack. Behind him David Carr has some talent and is now a veteran of coordinator Kevin Gilbride's offensive system. Rookie Ryan Nassib has the tools to be an efficient and capable backup. 

 

Running Back:

The Giants running game should very good. Gone is leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw. But the Giants expect second-year David Wilson and 2009 4th Rounder Andre Brown to be able to be effective as competitors in the backfield. Both averaged five yards per carry or more and have the speed and physicality to take advantage of an excellent run blocking unit upfront. However, neither have proven that they could effectively carry the running game for an entire season. Behind them, Da'Rel Scott and rookie Michael Cox have flashed as fast, downhill rushers with decent bulk..

 

Wide Receiver:

The strength of the Giants roster lies in the talent and depth of their receiving corps. Victor Cruz is the leading target-getter and combines terrific route running in the short and intermediate area with excellent deep speed and run after catch ability. Hakeem Nicks has had his issues staying healthy but when he is, he is capable of being a very good number one receiver. Nicks is a physical player with sneaky good speed and big, reliable hands. The high upside guy is Rueben Randle, a big, smooth and electric athlete with polished skills. Entering his second-year, he has the talent to be the best of the bunch. Rounding out the rotation will be veteran Louis Murphy and Ramses Barden. Murphy could play an important role if there are injuries to any of the top three guys.

 

Tight End:

Last year's lone productive tight end was Martellus Bennett, who finished second on the team in receptions. After letting him go to free agency, the Giants signed Brandon Myers, a high-volume short and intermediate receiver. Myers is not a great blocker, nor does he have great speed and explosiveness. But he should be a reliable safety valve. Second-year former college wide receiver Adrien Robinson is a very athletic player with excellent upside for the tight end position. He has the strength and size to serve a blocking role and should have more of a opportunity to get on the field in 2013 and beyond.

 

Offensive Line:

The Giants offensive line has been a liability in the past, enduring injuries and average play from a ragtag group of players. Last year's unit, however, was exceedingly effective, yielding well under two sacks per game and being largely responsible for the success of the running game. The line fully returns. Last year, the athletic Will Beatty transformed from an oft-maligned presence to one of the best left tackles in the NFL. Veteran David Diehl isn't the pass blocker he once was but is adequate. Inside will be Kevin Boothe, David Baas and Chris Snee. Baas and Snee are banged up to begin the year but the team has some versatile options behind them in Jim Cordle, rookie Justin Pugh and Brandon Mosley.

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Best Offensive Rookie – OG Justin Pugh

Best Offensive Second-Year Player – WR Rueben Randle

2014 Draft Offensive Position of Need – Tight End 

2014 Draft Offensive Suggestion – TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington

 

DEFENSE

 

Defensive End:

Having long been a strength of the Giants, 2012 was an extremely disappointing year for this unit. A lack of pressure often put their talented secondary in bad situations, yielding big plays and lots of points. Jason Pierre-Paul (JPP) led the group with only 6.5 sacks. Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka posted four and three sacks respectively. Now that long time Giant Osi Umenyiora and his six sacks are gone, sackers JPP, Tuck and Kiwanuka, who all share unique athleticism, physicality and length, must combine to put stress on opposing quarterbacks. Rookie Damontre Moore brings great size, length and activity to the unit after a super productive college career.

 

Defensive Tackle:

The Giants have seen a substantial amount of change on the inside over the past few years. Linval Joseph returns as a very good athlete for his 6'4” 330-pound build with the ability to rush the passer a bit. The team replaced Chris Canty with three new additions in explosive interior rusher Cullen Jenkins, massive former star Shaun Rogers and active, multi-talented rookie Johnathan Hankins. Rounding out the group prior to the season are impressively athletic 6'5” Markus Kuhn and veteran run stopper Mike Patterson. The top four form one of the deepest defensive tackle rotations in the league. Joseph and Jenkins, in particular, will be a handful for interior blockers to contain.

 

Linebacker:

New York has had trouble significantly upgrading their linebacker position and it remains an uncertain spot. The unit doesn't lack for overall speed. Dan Connor replaces the departed Chase Blackburn in the middle and can bring great range and talent if he can stay healthy and on the field. Next to him will be prototypical athlete and first round bust Keith Rivers as well as third-year Spencer Paysinger. The starting unit doesn't seem to project well as a run defending group but should be comfortable dropping into coverage. Behind them, athletic sub-package guy Jacquian Williams and former top five pick Aaron Curry are vying for bigger roles. Curry has a shot if he can prove to be in good shape, especially as an upgrade versus the run.

 

Cornerback:

The Giants have lacked consistency in coverage the past couple years but it isn't for a lack of talent. Corey Webster is still capable of being an excellent playmaker, tallying four interceptions in 2012. However, he struggled to be anything close to a lockdown guy last year, with opponents taking full advantage of the Giants' pass rush woes. Third-year Prince Amukamara has all the size, speed and hips be a top cornerback in the NFL and has gradually improved, promising a bright future as the eventual lead guy in the secondary. In sub-packages, athletic and young big play guy Jayron Hosley and scrappy veteran Aaron Ross will get opportunities on the inside.

 

Safety:

Stevie Brown's 2012 breakout gave the Giants the flexibility to allow Kenny Phillips to go. Brown proved to be both a physical open field tackler and a superb playmaker, jumping routes and grabbing eight interceptions. At free safety, Antrel Rolle will utilize his versatile skill set to cover deep as well as matching up against receivers and tight ends. Rolle and Brown combine to form one of the league's most versatile safety duos capable of showing up equally well in coverage and in supporting the run defense. Unfortunately, behind them, the Giants are inexperienced and unproven.

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Best Defensive Rookie – DT Johnathan Hankins

Best Defensive Second-Year Player – CB Jayron Hosley

2014 Draft Defensive Position of Need – Linebacker 

2014 Draft Defensive Suggestion – OLB Christian Jones, Florida State