Sports teams have a heart, a core, or players that are integral to management, the fans and the future of the franchise. The Giants are no different. They have a core, but it's a small and shifting one, and it's evident that core needs to be expanded by Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin this spring. Here are our twelve core Giants right now:
QB Eli Manning is here for the long haul. His contract is a cap-killer, however. If he played lights-out, no one would have any complaints. Giant fans don't complain too much about him but also don't realize he's vastly overpaid. If he wins another Super Bowl, I'll withdraw that statement. But, he's going nowhere, so he is at the center of the offensive core. It's do or die with Eli.
WR Victor Cruz is right in there with Eli. The Giants made a significant investment in Cruz and we agree that was a wise decision. Cruz is one of the league's top performers at receiver and under new OC Ben McAdoo, he should continue to build on his already record-setting career.
OL Justin Pugh had an impressive rookie season in 2013. Many felt his arms were too short to play tackle in this league. Have we mentioned that many who assess players are idiots? Pugh will be a Giant for however long he wants to be.
OT Will Beatty is a core player. Yes, we know he disappointed last season but the team is financially committed to him so he will be around for a few more years.
WR Rueben Randle has a ton of upside, but he's shown lapses at times. The new offense should get him more opportunities to catch the ball and go instead of catching the ball with his back to the defense.
CB Prince Amukamara has turned the corner on his career and is the most valued player on the defense right now. He's healthy and coming into his prime. It will be interesting to see just how good he can be going forward.
S Antrel Rolle is a Pro Bowl-caliber player who takes the lead on and off the field. I think everyone knows that. Just ask him.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul has to show the club he's overcome back and shoulder surgeries. The Giants are relying on him whether he comes back 100% or not.
DT Jonathan Hankins is a very interesting player the Giants have yet to hand the keys to. He seems able to us and we're expecting he'll be an anchor on the defensive line in the future.
DE Damontre Moore is a natural talent who is only 22 years old. He displayed the ability to both rush the passer and make an impact on special teams in 2013.
LB Jacquian Williams is still a bit of an enigma to us. Point him in the right direction and he'll deliver. The Giants have to channel his talents to help them the best way he can.