By Daniel Brennan on July 20, 2014
The New York Giants head into training camp looking to avoid another year like 2013. The front office did their best to fill in some of the gaps, using free agency and the NFL Draft. Now it is up to the players to take advantage of the opportunities in front of them. Here are five projected non-starters that need to make their presence known in 2014 for the Giants to be successful.
Assuming that Adrien Robinson wins the starting role (which is far from a sure thing), Kellen Davis must be solid in a backup tight end role. Robinson is still young and has limited NFL experience after suffering injuries in his first two seasons. Davis will be the veteran of the young and inexperienced tight end group and he must be ready to provide solid blocking and become a legitimate target in the passing game.
The Giants lost their leading pass rusher from a season ago when Justin Tuck signed with the Oakland Raiders this offseason. Jason Pierre-Paul won't be able to do it all and will need some serious support. Mathias Kiwanuka will likely start opposite JPP, but the Giants also like to shuffle around their defensive line. Second-year end Damontre Moore now has a golden opportunity to show some of the spark that initially attracted the Giants to him.
Running back David Wilson is still recovering from neck surgery but a return by training camp was the original goal. The starting spot belongs to Rashad Jennings but Wilson has speed and playmaking ability in the open field that sets him apart from the rest of New York's backs. He was still finding his footing early last season but Wilson needs to take the next step in 2014 and cement himself as the weapon he has the potential to be.
Although he is not technically a starter, Walter Thurmond is going to receive extended time as New York's new nickel corner. Thurmond spent last season with the Super Bowl winning Seattle Seahawks and solidified himself as one of the premier nickel corners in the entire NFL. He needs to continue his stellar play and become a staple within this Giants secondary, which has the potential to be the team's strongest unit.
Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle are technically the team's two starters but Odell Beckham Jr. will be a candidate to play serious time on the outside because Cruz is a slot receiver. Beckham needs to show that explosiveness he flexed at LSU and develop into a consistent target for Eli Manning. Part of last season's offensive failures fell on the shoulder's of New York's inconsistent corps of wide receivers.
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