The Giants have been drafting their future leaders over the past few seasons in players such as Devon Kennard, Nat Berhe, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg and Odell Beckham Jr. That is the young core the Giants are counting on to be the glue between the veterans and the new players they picked up in free agency, as well as the rookies they will draft next month.
Kennard, an outside linebacker with a load of talent, has not been able to stay on the field in his first two seasons. In order for him to lead, he's got to stay healthy. When he's out there, the Giants' defense has some semblance of order. But until his health is evident, the Giants might lean on free agent signee Keenan Robinson, who will play MLB and likely don the headset on defense.
Berhe has a similar issue. He sat behind Antrel Rolle at safety two years ago and missed all of last season with a calf injury. As Deion Sanders once said, "You can't help the club from the tub." No truer words were spoken when it comes to Kennard and Berhe. They were both considered late-round steals when drafted, and the Giants still believe that to be the case. GM Jerry Reese described both players as leader-types, and he's going to let this play out.
Pugh is staying at left guard, according to head coach Ben McAdoo. He will remain next to LT Ereck Flowers, who got schooled most of his rookie season, and center Richburg, who should have been a Pro Bowler. Pugh was a first-round pick the Giants sought as their future leader on the offensive line. He's taken and given his lumps enough to know the landscape. It's time for him to pick things up.
Richburg was highly-touted coming out of college. A second-round pick, the Giants expect great things from him. Now that he's settled at his natural position, we should see some stability in the middle of the offensive line.
Defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins and Jay Bromley will benefit greatly from the new acquisitions on the defensive line -- DE Olivier Vernon and DT Damon Harrison. The return of a healthier, more fit Jason Pierre-Paul and the hopeful emergence of DE Owa Odighizuwa will help as well.
Finally, the Giants are hoping the embarrassing events from last season are behind Beckham. As the team's most visible star, Beckham has to maintain his composure and conduct himself with professionalism. If he can do that, the Giants will be a force. If he again shows weakness like his actions from the Carolina game that led to a one-game suspension, the team may not be able to survive the fallout. He's the key to the their chemistry.