Weak Side Starter: Michael Boley
Boley had an incredible year for the Giants, stepping up as both a leader and the play-caller for the defense. He wore the head set in his helmet and made the pre-snap adjustments as well. Oh, and he played pretty well too, recording the second most tackles on the team with 93 and a team high-tying three fumble recoveries.
Reserve: Keith Rivers
The Giants acquired Rivers for a fifth-round pick prior to the 2012 NFL draft, and the thinking has to be to get him in the starting lineup at some point.
But when? Perry Fewell has toyed with the idea of putting him in the middle, but is worried about overwhelming him with learning a new defense (via ESPN).
For now he is playing his normal position and absorbing the new language, but don't be surprised if he takes over the middle spot early in the season.
Middle Starter: Chase Blackburn
Fewell has been adamant about Blackburn being the starter, but will not say definitively if he will be there long term.
I can’t say he will stay there permanently, but right now Chase is our guy and no one has clearly beaten him out for the position. Chase has some distinct advantages over some of the other guys.
Blackburn played well down the stretch, mostly on first and second down. He made the play of the game for the defense when he intercepted a Tom Brady pass in Super Bowl XLVI. For the time being, he is the starter.
Reserve: Keith Rivers
I think it is pretty safe to say Rivers is the backup to both Boley and Blackburn at this point. Mark Herzlich has seen time behind Blackburn, but Rivers is much more talented.
Strong Side Starter: Mathias Kiwanuka
Kiwanuka was arguably one of the best all around defenders for the Giants last season. He played the run beautifully from the linebacker spot and showed off his versatility in the all-defensive-end front four formation, dubbed the "NASCAR" group. With Tollefson out the door, Kiwanuka could see more time with his hand in the dirt, but he will still start games as a linebacker.
Reserve: Jacquian Williams
Williams showed a ton of improvement and flashes of his potential at times during last season, none more so than his 10-tackle performance against the Philadelphia Eagles. His emergence could give the Giants license to have Kiwanuka rushing the passer more often.