Jason Pierre-Paul (Photo Credit: Icon Sports Media, Inc.)
Another edition of my New York Giants power rankings list is here! With the 2012 NFL draft done and over with, there are some additions to the rankings.
1. Eli Manning
No need to get into deep specifics. You know the numbers, you see his leadership, you know how clutch his is in the 4th quarter. That’s enough said right there. Manning will continue to do great things for this offense.
2. Victor Cruz
My last power rank list had Cruz in the third slot, but I changed it up this time. I think Cruz will bring even more power and speed next season. If you think you’ve seen everything Cruz can do, you haven’t seen anything yet. I see even bigger plays and more magic from this kid next season. The Super Bowl ring will only lighten the fire and more salsa dancing touchdowns.
3. Hakeem Nicks
Nicks is one of the most athletic players on the team. He’s able to jump high and make some of the most incredible and acrobatic catches. He makes some of the hardest catches look so easy. He finished the 2011 season on a very high note and had some of the biggest highlights in the postseason. This will give him a lot of motivation going into the 2012 season.
4. Ahmad Bradshaw
Bradshaw was the starting running back last season and still holds that position. I probably would have ranked him a little higher had he not injured himself for four weeks. Bradshaw is recovering from a stress fracture in his foot, but his mindset is on training camp. He’s not picking up a football until he is fully healed and positive vibes are through the roof. I’m expecting big things from him. Hopefully he can stay healthy.
5. Rueben Randle
Yes, he’s only a rookie. Yes, we haven’t seen him on the big stage yet. Yes, he wasn’t drafted number one. How he was still even available in the second round for the Giants second pick I will never know. Randle has everything a WR prospect can have: speed, agility, and major athleticism. Jerry Reese believes he’s NFL ready. Tom Coughlin believes it. I believe it. Randle will be the perfect fit for the WR trio with Nicks and Cruz. With no disrespect to Mario Manningham, Giants fans will not miss him.
1. Jason Pierre-Paul
There’s only one word that describes Pierre-Paul: MONSTER. All opposing quarterbacks better hope their lines protect them. They will not want Pierre-Paul running in their direction. His power and speed is unbelievable and he will not back down. Pierre-Paul will run right through the quarterback until he is down on the ground. I don’t expect anything less from him in 2012. Now having a Super Bowl ring in his young career, I see more power, aggression, and hunger for another one.
2. Mathias Kiwanuka
Kiwanuka got a major bump up on this list. The Giants just handed Kiwi an three year extension before the draft. Well deserved, by the way. Kiwanuka was a defensive-end-turned-linebacker and proved his worth last season. Health was a question going into 2011, but it’s not a question going into 2012. He’s going to be a big weapon for the defense.
3. Justin Tuck
My hero. Tuck is the definition of leadership. Tuck is one of the main reasons why the defensive line is as good as it is. He’s a motivator. Not to mention he too is an absolute beast. You let Tuck through your line, you will pay. He will get to the quarterback, and he will sack him.
4. Osi Umenyiora
I think a more quiet Umenyiora is a more powerful one. The last two seasons he was complaining about the Giants not paying him enough money. He wanted more. His results on the field were good. However, he could be better. Yes, in 2010 he led in sacks, but it was a strangely quiet year for him. He vowed to stay quiet this offseason. I only hope that means he’s going to bring his talk onto the field instead of to the media. If that’s the case, he will not be stopped.
5. Terrell Thomas
True, Thomas did miss the entire 2011 season with an ACL tear. But let’s look at what he was able to do in 2010. He led the entire team in interceptions and tackles that year. Yes, a corner led a football team in tackles. There’s no denying that Thomas is one of the better corners in the league, even if his paycheck doesn’t say so. He will bring those defensive backs to where they need to be. I expect him to come back with full training and healthy legs. Thomas will remind all Giants fans why he’s so valuable to this team.
Like always, power rankings will change as the offseason continues. If the team were to take the field today for Week 1, these are the stars. These are the players that will make key differences between winning and losing. We’ll see what happens as the months pass by.