NFL New York Giants

Predicting The New York Giants’ 2014 Starters

Predicting The New York Giants' 2014 Starters

GS
Getty Images

After a disappointing 2013 season, the New York Giants are looking to rebound in 2014 and, to help them do so, the Giants went out and made a significant splash in free agency. Coupled with the recent entry draft, the Giants will have a very different look when they take the field in August with as many as 10 new starters. Whether or not these changes will pay dividends remains to be seen, but here's what the Week 1 lineup could look like.

QB: Eli Manning

EM
Getty Images

QB: Eli Manning

EM
Getty Images

This shouldn't come as a surprise as Eli Manning is the heart and soul of the Giants franchise. While Manning is coming off a disappointing season in which he had almost no time to throw, as well as offseason ankle surgery, he's still the most important player on the field for New York. As Eli goes, so do the Giants, so he'll have to have a rebound season in 2014 for the team to shake last year's disappointment.

RB: Rashad Jennings

RJ
Getty Images

RB: Rashad Jennings

RJ
Getty Images

With David Wilson's status and potential workload still up in the air, the Giants moved quickly to secure one of the best free agent RBs in Rashad Jennings. Jennings filled in admirably for Darren McFadden in Oakland last season and is likely to get the lion's share of the carries for New York next season even if Wilson is healthy.

FB: Henry Hynoski

HH
Getty Images

FB: Henry Hynoski

HH
Getty Images

Henry Hynoski missed all of the 2013 season after undergoing surgery to repair the MCL in his left knee, but he's expected to be fully healthy for 2014. While Hynoski will have to battle with John Connor, who did a nice job for New York after replacing Hynoski last season, Hynoski's familiarity and longtime standing should win out in the end.

WR: Victor Cruz

VC
Getty Images

WR: Victor Cruz

VC
Getty Images

With Hakeem Nicks out of the picture, Victor Cruz becomes the Giants' best receiver and most dangerous offensive weapon. While Cruz was a bit inconsistent last season, he hopes to bounce back and reclaim his standing as one of the top wideouts in the game in 2014. He's likely going to see frequent double coverage with Nicks gone, so Cruz will certainly have his work cut out for him.

WR: Odell Beckham, Jr.

OBJ
Getty Images

WR: Odell Beckham, Jr.

OBJ
Getty Images

The Giants selected Odell Beckham, Jr. with their first-round pick in this year's entry draft and, like most first-rounders, Beckham will likely be expected to make an immediate impact. Depending on how things shake out in training camp and preseason, Reuben Randle could get the first crack at the starting spot across from Cruz, but Beckham's explosiveness will likely turn some heads and earn him a spot with the starting unit.

TE: Kellen Davis

KD
Getty Images

TE: Kellen Davis

KD
Getty Images

Tight end is one of the biggest spots up for grabs and barring a late signing, a starter will likely only emerge in the latter stages of preseason. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson will compete for the starting spot, and while neither elicits much excitement, the veteran Davis could get the first crack. Robinson has a lot of talent, but hasn't been able to stay healthy or translate that to the field, giving Davis an opportunity to win the job.

LT: Will Beatty

WB
Getty Images

LT: Will Beatty

WB
Getty Images

After signing a big contract with the Giants, Will Beatty had a nightmare 2013 in which he regressed across the board. Beatty's previously strong play went out the window and he was one of the biggest culprits for the Giants' struggles on the offensive line. Beatty broke his leg in the final week of the season against Washington, but is expected to be ready for training camp. If he's healthy, he's the incumbent starter on the left side.

RT: Justin Pugh

JP
Getty Images

RT: Justin Pugh

JP
Getty Images

As a rookie last season, Justin Pugh turned a lot of heads with his play. Even given his new status on the line, Pugh was New York's most consistent lineman in 2013 and hopes to build on that going into next year. With his rookie season out of the way, Pugh could be on his way to becoming one of the better young tackles in the game.

LG: Geoff Schwartz

GS
Getty Images

LG: Geoff Schwartz

GS
Getty Images

In an attempt to revamp their offensive line, the Giants went out and lavished Geoff Schwartz with a big free-agent deal to solidify the interior of the line. Schwartz will replace the inconsistent Kevin Boothe at LG and should provide an enormous upgrade for New York. Schwartz was rated as one of the better guards in the league last season and his addition should go a long way towards keeping Eli Manning upright.

RG: Chris Snee

CS
Getty Images

RG: Chris Snee

CS
Getty Images

Snee, coach Tom Coughlin's son-in-law, missed a good portion of last season after surgery on his problematic hip, but will return for the 2014 season. Snee had recently talked about retirement, but after taking a significant pay cut, he'll be back as the starting right guard next season. Now that he's seemingly healthy, the Giants hope that Snee's performance last season was only an aberration and not the start of a downward trend.

C: Weston Richburg

WR
Ron Chenoy- USA Today Sports

C: Weston Richburg

WR
Ron Chenoy- USA Today Sports

The Giants drafted Weston Richburg out of Colorado State with their second-round pick in this year's entry draft and likely envision a significant role for him. While New York also brought in former Broncos center J.D. Walton via free agency, Walton hasn't played a game since early 2012 due to injuries. As such, this will be one of the more intriguing battles to watch in camp, but the younger Richburg could win out.

RDE: Jason Pierre-Paul

JPP
Getty Images

RDE: Jason Pierre-Paul

JPP
Getty Images

The Giants' vaunted pass rush, and to a certain degree their entire defense, will fall on the broad shoulders of Jason Pierre-Paul. Just a few seasons ago, JPP was one of the most feared defenders in the game, racking up double-digits sack totals and being all over the field. However, a back injury and eventual surgery slowed him last season, so the Giants hope that with another year removed from his back woes, Pierre-Paul can regain his form.

LDE: Mathias Kiwanuka

MK
Getty Images

LDE: Mathias Kiwanuka

MK
Getty Images

Mathias Kiwanuka has largely been an enigma for the Giants during his career, moving back and forth between linebacker and defensive end with varying degrees of success. In 2013, Kiwanuka had arguably his worst season and was forced to restructure his deal going into 2014. With the departure of Justin Tuck, Kiwanuka will now be placed back in a full-time defensive end role, and this is likely his last chance to impress the Giants.

DT: Cullen Jenkins

CJ
Getty Images

DT: Cullen Jenkins

CJ
Getty Images

After signing with the Giants last offseason, Cullen Jenkins quietly had a nice season in the middle of the New York defensive line. Jenkins was one of the Giants' better run defenders, and his pressure up the middle was a large reason why the Giants' defense got stronger as the year went along. With Linval Joseph leaving for Minnesota, Jenkins is now the Giants' top DT, so he'll have to take on an even bigger role this season.

DT: Johnathan Hankins

JH
Andrew Weber- USA Today Sports

DT: Johnathan Hankins

JH
Andrew Weber- USA Today Sports

A second-round pick last season, Johnathan Hankins will be thrown into the fire this season as the replacement for Linval Joseph. Hankins saw limited action last season, but his massive frame makes him a difficult block for opposing interior linemen. He specializes in stuffing the run. Hankins will likely compete with third-round pick Jay Bromley for this spot, but Hankins' one year of experience affords him an advantage over the competition.

MLB: Jon Beason

JB
Getty Images

MLB: Jon Beason

JB
Getty Images

After coming over from Carolina in a trade, Jon Beason proved to be perhaps the best linebacker the Giants have employed since Jesse Armstead. Beason shored up what had been a revolving door at middle linebacker and finally gave a franchise that doesn't put much stock into the LB position a game-changing talent at the spot. It's no coincidence that the Giants' D took off after the acquisition of Beason, so he'll be right back in there in Week 1.

SLB: Jameel McClain

JM
Getty Images

SLB: Jameel McClain

JM
Getty Images

Jameel McClain was another of the Giants' many free-agent signings, and he figures to replace Keith Rivers as the strong-side linebacker. McClain played in a 3-4 in Baltimore, so it remains to be seen how his skills translate over to the "Sam" in a 4-3. However, he's likely to be an improvement over the oft-injured, oft-disappointing Rivers.

WLB: Spencer Paysinger

SP
Getty Images

WLB: Spencer Paysinger

SP
Getty Images

Spencer Paysinger originally joined the Giants as an undrafted free agent, but he's worked his way up from special teams to rotational player all the way up to starter. After rotating through several players, New York installed Paysinger as the weakside linebacker next to Jon Beason, and the result was one of the Giants' most productive linebacking corps in years.

CB: Prince Amukamara

PA
Getty Images

CB: Prince Amukamara

PA
Getty Images

Prince Amukamara is the Giants' top cornerback, but he had a bit of an inconsistent 2013. Amukamara has been solid in coverage, but he hasn't been able to turn that coverage into many interceptions, something the Giants would like to see more of in 2014. With the addition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond to the secondary, it should take a lot of pressure off Amukamara, giving him a chance to shine this season.

CB: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

DRC
Getty Images

CB: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

DRC
Getty Images

One of the Giants' biggest free-agent signings was inking Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie away from the Denver Broncos to be their second corner. Rodgers-Cromartie was one of the best corners in football last season, and his presence will be a huge boon to Prince Amukamara, who was routinely stuck on the opponent's top receiver no matter what. Having him, Amukamara, Thurmond and Trumaine McBride gives the Giants their best CB depth in years.

FS: Antrel Rolle

AR
Getty Images

FS: Antrel Rolle

AR
Getty Images

Antrel Rolle has proven to be one of the Giants' more versatile defenders over the years, and thanks to an impending suspension for Hill, Rolle will likely be asked to transition to free safety. Rolle has played all over the field for New York, but his ability to stick with both receivers and tight ends in coverage makes him a better fit at FS than Stevie Brown, who will likely step into the spot vacated by Hill.

SS: Stevie Brown

SB
Getty Images

SS: Stevie Brown

SB
Getty Images

Stevie Brown missed all of last season after suffering a torn MCL in a preseason game, but re-signed with the Giants this offseason. While Brown was initially thought to be a part of Perry Fewell's three-man safety rotation, the suspension of Hill means Brown will likely step into the starting strong safety role with Antrel Rolle moving over to free safety. Brown was one of New York's best defenders in 2012, and they'll need that again.

K: Josh Brown

JB
Getty Images

K: Josh Brown

JB
Getty Images

Josh Brown had a rough start to the 2013 season, but he rebounded to finish out the year nicely. As a result, he'll be back in 2014 as the Giants' kicker. Brown has a strong leg, which plays well in the winds of MetLife Stadium during the latter months of the season.

P: Steve Weatherford

SW
Getty Images

P: Steve Weatherford

SW
Getty Images

Steve Weatherford has punted for the Giants for several years, but 2013 was one of his worst seasons. Weatherford struggled to start the year and never really got into the groove that the team had become accustomed to. Weatherford will be back for the 2014 season, but he'll need to improve his performance if he wants to remain a Giant going forward.