New York Giants: Top 5 Potential Sleepers for 2012

Lou RomContributor IJuly 24, 2012

New York Giants: Top 5 Potential Sleepers for 2012

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    The New York Giants draft better than most any team in the NFL.

    So, it's no surprise that historically the team has done a great job of finding sleepers from the draft, not to mention free agency and trades.

    If you're a Giants fan you hope this year won't be any different.

    If you're an NFC East opponent, you hope this is the year your team catches a break.

    Either way, since the Giants are Super Bowl champs, everyone will be watching.

    So, let's take a look at the Giants' top five possible sleepers for 2012 and let the debate begin.

Jayron Hosley Could Be the Defensive Sleeper of the Year

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    Jayron Hosley, Cornerback: The Giants selected the Virginia Tech cornerback with the 98th pick in the 2012 draft.

    While the Giants snagging Hosley may not look like a steal when reviewing his final year at Tech, it's his sophomore season that should make Big Blue fans hopeful.

    In 2010, Hosley lead the NCAA with nine interceptions and showed great ball skills. Though he's a bit soft on run defense, he's got 4.3 speed and has been compared to Asante Samuel.

    And, of course, given the Giants' horrific secondary performance last year, Hosley could surprise many.

Brandon Collins Looks to Rise Above a Large Contingent of Wide Receivers

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    Brandon Collins, Wideout: An undrafted free agent out of Southeastern Louisiana, Collins could make a splash in preseason this year.

    As a senior, Collins caught 61 passes for 746 yards, taking five of those deep for touchdowns.  And, Collins has caught the eye of Giants' offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who, according to Big Blue View, said Collins looked "really, really impressive (with) good speed, great quickness."

    Collins, who comes in at 5'11" and 180 lbs, comes with plenty of upside and could see significant playing time if he continues to impress.

Keith Rivers, Former First-Round Pick, Can Make a Big Impact at Linebacker

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    Keith Rivers, LB: The Giants got Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers, a former No. 1 draft pick, for a steal, giving up a mere fifth-round draft pick.

    Rivers missed last season with a wrist injury and has never played 16 games in a season, mostly due to injuries. 

    His pro resume is modestly impressive—with two 70-plus tackle seasons and a couple of sacks for good measure.

    But it's hard to ignore what made the Bengals select Rivers with the ninth overall pick in 2008. Rivers was one of the most highly touted linebackers of 2008, garnering praise and placement in The Sporting News, Lindy's, Street & Smith's, Blue Ribbon and NationalChamps.net All-American status to name a few.

    Rivers could surprise in 2012.

Jerrel Jernigan One of Many Competing for the Giants No. 3 Wideout Slot

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    Jerrel Jernigan, Wideout: A Troy standout selected in 2011 by the Giants, Jernigan has been described as tough, hard-working and versatile. Jernigan, scouts say, plays much bigger than his 5'9" frame would suggest.

    He certainly impressed at Troy, where in four seasons he set school and Sun Belt conference records with 3,128 receiving yards, 262 receptions and 5,971 all-purpose yards.

    The Giants' No. 3 receiver slot is wide open with Mario Manningham leaving for the Bay, so don't be surprised if this sleeper awakes the Giant within.

Rueben Randle Could Rise to the Top of a Deep, Young Crop of Receivers

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    Reuben Randle, WR: Randle struggled to put up big numbers and score with an LSU offense that would put even the most ardent fan to sleep. But he did: Randle caught 58 passes for nearly 1,000 yards.

    In 2012, perhaps he gets a chance to be the sleeper of the Giants draft. Randle has size, speed, strength and a toughness that you can't teach.

    Randle came highly recommended from former Giants coach and current LSU assistant coach Thomas McGaughey. He gave Randle rave reviews to head coach Tom Coughlin and the Giants staff.