5 New York Giants Players Who Should See Their Roles Expand in 2013
After a disappointing 2012 season that saw the New York Giants miss out on the playoffs just one season after winning Super Bowl XLVI, the G-Men have been active this offseason, releasing veteran players and bringing new talent in.
While we're still anxiously awaiting the 2013 NFL draft to see what Jerry Reese has in store for New York this offseason, the moves that the Giants have made this offseason have given us an idea of which players will see an increased role in 2013.
Which Giants will see an expanded role this season?
Let's take a gander.
Andre Brown, RB
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With no Ahmad Bradshaw this season, the New York Giants will look to Andre Brown to eat up a lot of yards on the ground this season.
Brown was in the midst of an above-average season in 2012, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and scoring eight touchdowns in 10 games before suffering a broken fibula against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12.
The 26-year-old showcased his talents against the Carolina Panthers in Week 3, when he rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns on a season-high 20 attempts.
Brown recently hired ruthless agent Drew Rosenhaus to represent him and has yet to sign a tender (h/t Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News), but Brown has given fans no reason not to think he won't sign that tender and be a crucial piece of New York's backfield in 2013.
Brown will likely handle the starting duties at running back and split time with the Giants' 2012 first-round pick, David Wilson, thus producing an increased role in the G-Men's offense.
Dan Connor, MLB
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It'll be his first season in blue, but as long as Dan Connor stays healthy, he'll likely play the biggest role of his career on defense for the Giants in 2013.
Connor was signed by New York to play middle linebacker (h/t Jenny Vrentas of the Star-Ledger), which signaled the end of Chase Blackburn's time at the position for Big Blue, as he signed a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers (via Newsday).
The 27-year-old linebacker is coming off a season in which he played 14 games for the Dallas Cowboys, recording 57 tackles on defense. The G-Men also have Mark Herzlich to consider at MLB, but with Connor's experience, he'll have the edge to win the starting job and see an increase in playing time.
The Giants owned the NFL's 31st-ranked defense last season and will be looking to fix that with the signing of Connor and hopefully some defensive depth in the 2013 NFL draft.
David Wilson, RB
David Wilson took the Giants by storm at the end of the 2012 season, most notably in Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints, when he rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries and added a 97-yard kick return for a TD.
According to the New York Giants, Wilson set a record that day with his performance.
RB David Wilson has set the franchise record for all-purpose yards in a game (327) #giantschat— New York Giants (@Giants) December 10, 2012
New York's first-round pick in the 2012 draft will be called upon to split time with Andre Brown this season, and after the way he finished the 2012 campaign, I don't think many are doubting he's up for the challenge.
The Star-Ledger's Jenny Vrentas reports that Wilson is ready to be the starting back in New York but knows that the gig won't be handed to him on a silver platter.
My guess is that Brown wins the starting job and he and Wilson split time, giving the G-Men a solid two-headed rushing attack.
Rueben Randle, WR
As a rookie last season, Rueben Randle added three touchdowns to New York's offense, highlighted by two scores against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17.
Similar to David Wilson, Randle finished the season on a high note and should be poised to see an expanded role in the Giants' offense in 2013, especially with Domenik Hixon going to the Carolina Panthers (via Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt).
With Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz (we hope) drawing most of the opposing defense's coverage, Randle should be a big part of New York's offense in 2013 as long as he continues to work on his route running.
Randle and Manning developed some chemistry toward the end of the season and the duo will be looking to bring that connection into this season and get the G-Men back to the playoffs.
Cullen Jenkins, DT
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After battling against Cullen Jenkins twice a season for the past two years when he was a Philadelphia Eagle, the Giants are looking to defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins to bring an added toughness to a defensive line that already features Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul.
According to the Star-Ledger's Jenny Vrentas, there's a possibility that Jenkins could be starting along New York's defensive line when the 2013 season kicks off, especially without the presence of Chris Canty, who was released by the Giants this offseason.
Jenkins is an absolute bull against the run and has recorded at least four sacks each of the past four seasons, including seven in 2010 with the Green Bay Packers.
The physicality of Jenkins on the interior of the Giants' D-line should allow for Tuck and JPP to get around the edge and create havoc in the backfield, thus boosting New York's defense after a down year in 2012.
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