Voters: Dr. Bill Chachkes, Kel Dansby, John Fennelly, Chris Johnson, Dan Orlando (Sports World Report), Rich Resch, Craig Santucci, Dan Stack, Jon Wagner
Honorable MentionsTerrell Thomas
Votes received: Wagner (8th place), Dansby (6th)
Wagner: The Giants won the Super Bowl last year without their leading tackler from the prior year. Trying to do that two years in a row wouldn't be impossible, but it could be extremely tough.
Resch: The team’s best corner when fully healthy, Thomas may make his biggest impact covering dangerous slot receivers. I ranked Webster ahead of him because we don’t know what Thomas will look like after missing a full season, but he has #1 cornerback talent. His presence also means Antrel Rolle won't have to switch to cornerback, which is certainly a good thing.
Votes Received: Stack (9th), Johnson (10th), Resch (7th)
Stack: With the secondary coming off a suspect year, Webster has to remain a key cog.
Johnson: The closest thing to a lockdown corner the Giants have. He keeps getting better each year.
Resch: Webster is not an elite corner, but he is in that next tier; a guy who can legitimately cover a team’s top receiver, if not totally shut him down. He’s been the one constant in the secondary over the past five years, and with the team’s #2 and #3 corners coming off of injuries, Webster is absolutely in my personal top 10.
Votes received: Chachkes (9th), Orlando (9th)
Chachkes: Although out of football until returning to the Giants in early December of '11, he solidified the rotation of the linebacking corps.
Orlando: He [solidified] the middle and allowed the defense to start finding itself in time for a playoff run. Blackburn helped get the Giants back on track with an impressive interception during the Super Bowl. With no experienced vets on the roster to challenge him, Blackburn is currently the Giants best option for an important part of the defense.
Resch: Want to know how valuable Blackburn is? Just look at how the defense was transformed after he was signed in the middle of last season. He’s not the most talented guy, but look up "toughness" in the dictionary, and you'll see a picture of Chase Blackburn (Disclaimer: not actually true). He uses all of his abilities and does anything in his power to make the play. How can you not love this guy?
Votes received: Dan Stack (10th), Chris Johnson (9th)
Stack: The anchor of the offensive line.
Johnson: Can play all over the line. As solid as they come.
Resch: Diehl was considered the worst left tackle in all of football by more than one evaluator last season. That may or may not be true, but Diehl is a guy I want on this team…just maybe not protecting Eli’s blindside. It’s not always pretty, but he gets the job done, and has proved critics wrong every step of his fantastic career.
Votes received: Orlando (10th), Wagner (10th)
Wagner: Is it crazy to put a rookie who hasn’t played in the NFL yet on this list? Maybe, but I expect Wilson to make an early impact and wonder how healthy Bradshaw can remain. I wouldn't be shocked to see Wilson ultimately supplant Bradshaw as the #1 back, which means he'd be too valuable to lose.
Orlando: The RB position is one in which a young, fresh rookie tends to enjoy only a mild learning curve. Talented first year players can often become key components immediately. If Wilson can both compliment Bradshaw or even fill in as a main event presence when Bradshaw is sidelined, then the entire offense will improve.
Resch: I think it’s too premature to rank him above Ahmad Bradshaw, and he probably wouldn’t even be in my top-15. Still, I am as excited as the next guy to see what Wilson can do, and I am hopeful that he will become the next great NFL running back.