John Fennelly, Lead Writer
There are some tennis players that cannot volley their way out of a paper bag, yet paired with another player go on to become a doubles champion.
That apparently is situation the Giants are in these days. They have a lot of productive and useful players but no one that can be considered the best at what they do.
60 players, or whoever they believe will make the roster, rate them and place them on the depth chart.
The ratings run from “elite” to “not enough information” and “rookie.” Of the 59 players PFF rated for the Giants, they had no one in “elite” status, only two “high quality” starters and seven “good starters.”
Sounds like the Giants are a last place team. Not necessarily so. We know these rankings don’t tell the whole story. Many players are used situationally in today’s game or split time with others. But, still, PFF is not high on the Giants’ roster.
The two “high quality” players listed just happen to be the Giants’ top two free agent signings this past March: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and OL Geoff Schwartz. Chalk up two for Jerry Reese, who’s quest was to upgrade the roster.
The “good starters” are: QB Eli Manning, WR Victor Cruz, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, S Antrel Rolle, CB Walter Thurmond and FBs John Connor and Henry Hynoski.
Thurmond is another high-profile UFA signing who didn’t play full-time in Seattle, so it’s hard to tell how he’ll work out here.
Unless I’m missing something, Cruz is a high-quality starter. Eli played his way out of that status last season, but he can play his way back in this year. JPP is a question mark and Rolle is a year older.
The Giants usually carry only one FB, so it looks like they’ll be cutting a quality football player unless they decide to keep both.
There were 17 players rated as “average”: RB Rashad Jennings, OL Chris Snee, OT Will Beatty, WR Rueben Randle, OL Justin Pugh, WR Mario Manningham, OL John Jerry, DT Cullen Jenkins, DE Robert Ayers, DT Mike Patterson, LB Spencer Paysinger, S Stevie Brown, LB Jacquian Williams, CB Prince Amukamara, K Josh Brown, CB Trumaine McBride and P Steve Weatherford.
The NFL is a league full of average players, so this is no knock on many of the above. We do believe that Randle, Pugh, Prince and Ayers will improve on their past past performances, however.
The 12 “below average” players were: LB Mark Herzlich, RB David Wilson, TE Kellen Davis, TE Daniel Fells, C JD Walton, OT James Brewer, OT Charles Brown, RB Peyton Hillis, LB Jameel McClain, LB Jon Beason, CB Zack Bowman and S Quentin Demps.
I disagree with the choice of Beason here. I can understand if they are taking his current injury into account, but if they aren’t, they must have missed the impact he had in 2013.
Hillis is a solid football player. He can catch the football out of the backfield and is a fine blocker. He is not a starter, however, and that is what they are grading him against.
The the “poor starters” listed were: LB Mathias Kiwanuka, LS Zak DeOssie and QB Curtis Painter.
Kiwi looked old and slow in 2013. He knows he’s falling on the Giants’ depth chart. This may be his last season in Blue unless he turns things around. That may not matter, though. Just look at what happened with Justin Tuck.
DeOssie had a few bad snaps, but he’s still one of the league’s best long snappers in my opinion. He’s also a smart, qualified leader on special teams. I agree on Painter. If he has to start a game for the Giants, call your bookie immediately and go the other way.
There was “not enough information” on DT Jon Hankins, DE Damontre Moore, OL Steven Baker, TE Adrien Robinson, TE Larry Donnell, WR Jerrel Jernigan, WR Julian Talley, WR/KR Trindon Holliday, OL Brandon Mosley, RB Michael Cox and QB Ryan Nassib.
There is an increased onus on Nassib, Moore, Hankins and one of the TEs to rise to the top. The Giants need Nassib to show vast improvement and win the backup job. Moore has to stay healthy and take his game to the next level. Hankins showed much promise in the small sample of snaps he was given in 2013, so there’s no reason to believe he can’t hold his own in the DT rotation.
The TEs are a tough call. Reese and the coaches are hoping someone grasps the handle on the job. The job is there for Robinson to take. He just hasn’t done enough to convince anyone that he’s the guy.
The rookies - WR Odell Beckham, Jr, C Weston Richburg, DT Jay Bromley, RB Andre Williams, LB Devon Kennard, S Nat Berhe and CB Bennett Jackson – were not rated.
Hard to tell who will have an immediate impact and who will not. Beckham will need to overcome the nicks (no pun intended) and pulls in order to stay on the field and make a difference. Richburg is going to be the team’s center at some point, which could very well be Sept. 8th.
Williams, like many rookie RBs, can come right in and play a significant role. So can Kennard, who has already shown flashes at workouts this spring.