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1. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie — The most lucrative contract doled out by the Giants in free agency went to Rodgers-Cromartie. He solidifies a secondary that loses Corey Webster as a long-time starter. It was recently reported by Jordan Ranaan of NJ.com that DRC would be shadowing the opposition's No. 1 receiving threat. Thanks to this signing, the Giants could soon possess the defensive "island" that is much desired in today's NFL.
2. Prince Amukamara — Still, Amukamara is no pushover to yield his starting job. The 2011 first-round selection has improved every single season since his premature rookie debut. Last year, Amukamara was one step away from shutdown-caliber. If he can make the jump in 2014, Prince and DRC will make for a devastating duo protecting the outsides.
3. Walter Thurmond — Thurmond is a very talented defensive back himself, but his fight for a starting role remains an uphill battle. He is more likely to assume Terrell Thomas' duties as the slot cornerback, when the Giants employ five defensive backs. He has both the size (5'11", 190 lbs) and athleticism to thrive in inside coverage.
4. Trumaine McBride — When cornerbacks started going down with injuries, few expected McBride to be the one to step in and hold the entire secondary together. That was the case in 2013, though, as the 5'9" corner started 10 of the 15 games in which he played. He will face some expanded competition this summer, given the acquisitions of Rodgers-Cromartie and Thurmond.
5. Jayron Hosley — Once a promising third-round draft pick, Hosley has since receded to the background of the cornerback depth chart. While Hosley probably has the athleticism and instincts to be a real playmaker—à la fellow Virginia Tech product DeAngelo Hall—he won't ever prove it if he doesn't ever escape the injury report.
6. Charles James — James was an undrafted free agent from Charleston Southern who played in 12 games last season. He is a scrappy, undersized (5'9", 179 lbs) cornerback with a long road ahead of him to a roster spot.
7. LaRon Scott — Another small (5'9", 184 lbs) cornerback, Scott once played with the New Orleans Saints, where he made a slight impact as a returner. He performed no such duties with the Giants, making him yet another outsider to make the roster.
8. Travis Howard — The 24-year-old out of Ohio State has absolutely no NFL experience, and the Giants signed him to a future/reserve deal back in December.
1. Antrel Rolle — The undoubted heart of the Giants defense, Rolle had a Pro Bowl-caliber impact on the team last season. He is the most experienced, and also most versatile, defender in the Giants secondary. Never before has he been surrounded by so much talent, which could mean less shifting around for the 31-year-old. That could spell increased production for the nine-year pro.
2. Will Hill — Hill is an up-and-coming talent in the NFL. If he can stay out of trouble, Hill can become the most dominant safety in the game. He is fearless when attacking the line of scrimmage. A sure tackler, Hill has the range to engulf the shiftiest targets in the open field. He will throw his weight around recklessly, making him a threat to any pass-catcher looking to make a play in his vicinity.
3. Stevie Brown — Don't forget about Brown either. Just two seasons ago, Brown valiantly substituted for Kenny Phillips, showcasing an uncanny nose for the ball with eight interceptions and two forced fumbles in only 11 starts. He missed all of last season with a torn ACL, but he looks to get back into the mix with Hill and Rolle in 2014.
4. Quintin Demps — One of the many defensive backs signed by the Giants during this free-agency period was Demps, a 28-year-old who did not truly catch on until last season with the Chiefs. There, he earned the first six starts of his career. In the midst of such a thick pack now in New York, it's unlikely he earns many more.
5. Cooper Taylor — One of the more intriguing picks of the 2013 draft was New York's fifth-rounder, Taylor. The former Richmond Spider has the body frame (6'4", 228 lbs) to be a sort-of linebacker/safety hybrid. With larger defensive backs seemingly all the rage lately, Taylor could shoot up this deep, deep depth chart rather quickly.
6. Junior Mertile — Mertile is a Florida International product with wide receiver experience. He was signed to a reserve/futures contract back in December.
7. Ross Weaver — After landing with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2010, Weaver has spent time with the Seahawks, Cowboys, Lions and Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League. He hopes to catch on with the Giants.
8. Chaz Powell — A member of the Giants' practice squad in 2013, Powell is a highly unlikely candidate to make the 53-man roster by the end of training camp.