New York Giants: 5 Players That Are Franchise Cornerstones for Big Blue
When you take a look at the current New York Giants roster, you will find a lot of good players.
You'll also find a lot of great players.
Some of them, you might even say are franchise stars, or cornerstone players. They are the type of players that under no circumstances you can lose to an injury, because then your season may be in shambles.
It's a big reason why the Giants have had success and are the reigning and defending Super Bowl champions.
Head coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese have done a tremendous job of assembling and preparing the Giants each and every season.
Coughlin and Reese go together in the equation, Reese scouts, drafts and signs the talent and Coughlin molds them into good players on the field.
Which of the current Giants would you consider a "cornerstone player"?
I believe there are five.
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Who knew that Michael Strahan holding out of training camp in the summer of 2007 would turn out to be a blessing in disguise?
If not, then Justin Tuck would have never gotten a chance to play, and he got to show the world what he can do when given the chance.
Since 2007, he has been the anchor of the best defensive line in football and he can line up anywhere, from the end spot, to even the tackle spot, giving interior lineman fits with trying to stop his speed.
At times, his health can be a concern, but when he is on the field, you always have to know where No. 91 is lined up.
He will also turn 29 at the end of the month, and has a lot of great football left in him for the Giants.
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Remember when we all hated the Jason Pierre-Paul pick in the 2010 NFL draft?
We all cursed Jerry Reese's name for picking another defensive lineman when we really needed a linebacker.
Seems like a distant memory, huh?
JPP has the talent to become one of the best defensive ends to ever play in the NFL, period.
At only 22 years old, he captivated the football audience in 2011 by playing at such an elite level, and at times, single-handedly taking over games on defense.
In his first full season as a full-time player, he had 16.5 sacks.
And remember, this is a guy who had only one year of football experience at South Florida before getting drafted by the Giants.
JPP, teamed with Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, is downright scary for offensive lines to stop.
And it'll only get harder for them as JPP evolves into a more elite football player.
We all remember the 2008 NFC divisional playoff game that the Giants lost to at the hands of the Eagles.
Yep, one of the absolute worst feelings in the world following that gut-wrenching game.
Why? Because if Plaxico Burress doesn't go and shoot himself in the leg, the Giants would have likely repeated as Super Bowl champions. Make no mistake about it, the Giants at 11-1 were the best team in the NFL at that time.
And then Burress ruined it. And following that game, I said the Giants desperately needed a wide receiver to replace Plaxico.
The Giants thought about trading for Braylon Edwards, but thank goodness the Cleveland Browns asked for too much back in 2009, because if not, the Giants would have never drafted Hakeem Nicks in the first round.
The Giants didn't land Nicks until the 29th spot in the draft. Nicks wasn't even the first receiver taken in that draft class; Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin were all taken before Nicks.
But three years later, the Giants ended up with the best receiver out of the bunch, because Nicks is a superstar in the making.
Nicks has caught 24 touchdown passes over the last three years and came up even bigger for the Giants during the playoffs.
At age 24, Nicks is only getting started with his NFL career, and will be catching a lot more touchdown passes at MetLife Stadium for years to come.
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On offense, it all starts with the line.
Sure, you can have a great quarterback, running back and wide receiver, but if you don't have quality guys protecting them, you won't go anywhere.
Over the last several years, the Giants ranked near the top in having one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Of the group, the son-in-law of Tom Coughlin is the best one of the group.
Chris Snee isn't just the best Giants lineman, he's one of the best guards in all of football.
He run blocks well, he pass blocks well, he's got a nasty streak in him, and he's an intelligent player.
Since being drafted by the Giants back in 2004, he has started every single game for them at right guard. He's not only been blessed with talent, but good health on the field as well.
Of the group that was together for Super Bowl XLII, they have slowly gotten older and some aren't Giants anymore, like Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert and Kareem McKenzie.
If they did cut David Diehl, I wouldn't be surprised. But Snee is the one the Giants have to keep around, because he is a special player on the line.
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The t-shirt, hat and trophy in the picture speaks for themselves.
Without Eli Manning, the Giants don't win Super Bowl XLII.
Without Eli Manning, the Giants don't win Super Bowl XLVI.
He is the guy that makes this team go. God forbid Manning ever got injured and was lost for the season, just like his brother, Peyton Manning had happen to him in 2011.
Because the 2-14 record the Indianapolis Colts suffered through this past year, would happen to the Giants if he did.
No offense to backup David Carr, who is a decent quarterback, but he's not on the same level as Eli. Not even close.
He's 68-44 as the Giants' full-time starting quarterback, which speaks volumes on how good Eli is. (I don't count the 1-6 record as a rookie because Eli didn't play the full season back in 2004.)
And he's also 8-3 in the playoffs with two Super Bowl trophies to go along with it.
Oh, and two Super Bowl MVPs too. Not too shabby for a guy who people laughed at when the term "elite" came into discussion.
By beating the Patriots last month at Super Bowl XLVI, Manning shut all the critics up for good by proving that he was in fact an elite quarterback in the NFL and is in the same conversation with Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.
Of the five players mentioned in this article, Manning isn't just a regular cornerstone player.
Ultimately, he is the ultimate cornerstone player for the Giants.