Being an unapologetic fan of the New York Giants, this is a difficult article to write because, hey, the Giants are the best team ever and all of the players are underrated, right?
Of course I am kidding but still, when you are a fan of a team it can be hard to separate your personal feelings toward a player from the analytical part of your brain that tells you someone is just not cutting it.
This is especially true when talking about a team that has won two Super Bowls in the past six years.
Also, in today's NFL, there is so much turnover on rosters that this article ended up being much harder to write than I was expecting.
I will start with the negative first, then switch to the positive.
Justin Tuck - I can't believe that I just wrote that name but Justin Tuck deserves to be on this list. Over the past two years he had only 4.0 sacks in 2012 and 5.0 in 2011.
I know that sacks aren't everything but he really has not made many impactful plays in general, except for the very end of the 2011 season and during the postseason of that same year. Tuck has battled numerous injuries over the past few years but by his own admission, he has not been living up to his standards.
Will Beatty - Will Beatty is certainly not a household name, but based on his contract I feel compelled to put him this category.Beatty has played well at times for the Giants, but has been too inconsistent thus far in his career. Now entering his fifth season, the former 2nd round pick out of UConn will be expected to be a productive performer and live up to the five-year, $37.5 million contract that he signed this past offseason.
Mathias Kiwanuka - Coming out of Boston College, "Kiwi" was strictly a defensive end used to rushing the passer. Ever since coming to the Giants, he has alternated between defensive end to outside linebacker numerous times out of necessity.
Although his statistics over the past few years are not overly impressive, Kiwanuka is the type of player that all successful teams need on their roster - tough and selfless. He also has a knack for making a play at the right time. Now that Osi Umenyiora is in Atlanta, Kiwi is moving back to the defensive line permanently and could be primed for a big year.
Antrel Rolle - Much like Mathias Kiwanuka, Antrel Rolle is tough and will do whatever the coaching staff asks him to do. After winning the Super Bowl in 2011, it was revealed that he played with two torn rotator cuffs in his shoulders, but didn't miss a game.
He has also been forced to play out of position numerous times as a nickel cornerback because that is what the team needed him to do. Though outspoken, Rolle is no doubt a leader and is a big reason why the Giants have had a winning record for three consecutive seasons.
Eli Manning - I know you might be scratching your head right now, but when Ron Jaworski compiled his top 32 quarterback list for 2013, he had Manning at No. 8 and Joe Flacco at No. 4. Let's take a look at what each player did in 2012:
|Player||TDs ||Ints||Yards||Comp %||Rating|
This is just one example of how Manning seems to be overlooked again and again as, in my opinion, this ranking was a case of being a "prisoner of the moment." First, the 3,817 yards that Flacco threw for last year was a career high where Manning threw for at least 4,000 yards from 2009-2011.
Second, yes, Flacco was the Super Bowl MVP last year and there is no denying how well he played in the playoffs last year, but Manning has done that twice and also recently (it's not like he was Super Bowl MVP in 2001 and 2003 for example).
It just seems to me that when Manning has an "off" year, he drops in the quarterback rankings unfairly and that his history doesn't get factored into those rankings as much as when other players are evaluated. I could go on and on but I will stop simply because I already have.