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Five New York Giants are Poised to Breakout in 2013

February 18th, 2013 at 10:15 AM
By Dan Benton

There are a lot of question marks facing the 2013 New York Giants, and many of those questions will have to be answered with young talent. Whether it be along the offensive or defensive lines, in the secondary or at other key contributing positions, Big Blue will be relying on young or overlooked talent to breakout and help carry them to the top of the NFC East.

Below, we've listed the top five players who are poised for a breakout season in 2013.

Defensive end, Adewale Ojomo: The Giants were so impressed with Ojomo a year ago they opted to give him a spot on the 53-man roster rather than risk losing him by placing him on the practice squad. And although he was rarely active and saw no action during the regular season, he was kept around because he has an extremely bright future. Now, with Osi Umenyiora likely leaving by way of free agency, Ojomo will have an opportunity to compete for some decent playing time in 2013.

Linebacker, Jacquian Williams: Although Williams will likely battle it out with Spencer Paysinger in training camp, he's poised to take over as the starting weak-side linebacker now that the team has released veteran Michael Boley. The key with Williams is very simple: stay healthy. When given the opportunity, J-Will has played very well and showed substantial overall improvement, but none of that will matter if he's sitting on the sideline nursing injuries. However, if he stays healthy, the sky is the limit for this youngster.

Safety, Will Hill: Perhaps more than anyone else on the team, Hill has an incredible opportunity going into 2013. If the team allows Kenny Phillips to leave via free agency, and Terrell Thomas is able to resume his career at cornerback, Hill will be one of the primary competitive pieces in training camp, battling it out with Stevie Brown and Tyler Sash for playing time. And although Brown proved extremely valuable in Phillips' absence this past season, Hill showed fierce determination, willingness to do whatever he was asked and significant improvement as the year wore on. Even if he loses his battle with Brown in training camp, Hill is going to see quite a bit of playing him in 2013 and you can almost guarantee this ambitious young man will make the most of it. With all the talent in the world, he may be a superstar in the making.

Tackle, James Brewer: One way or another, Brewer is going to find himself to be a valuable asset in 2013. David Diehl at right tackle is anything but a certainty at this point, even if the team does hang onto him and his large salary. Meanwhile, on the other side of the line, the team doesn't really have a suitable backup for Will Beatty (assuming they're able to re-sign him or place the franchise tag on him). Whether he ends up starting or not, Brewer will have plenty of opportunities to prove his worth this coming season and we here at Giants 101 feel he's going to open some eyes.

Wide receiver, Rueben Randle: It took Randle quite some time to wrap his mind around the complex playbook of offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, but as the 2012 season wound down, he began to flash some brilliance and ended the season with an impressive two-touchdown performance against the Philadelphia Eagles. That was just the tip of the iceberg, and whether the team brings back Domenik Hixon or not, Randle is poised to become the #3 WR and and with Eli Manning at the helm, big things are on the horizon.

Others considered: Tight end Adrien Robinson, linebacker Spencer Paysinger, cornerback Jayron Hosley and running back Da'Rel Scott.

Also…

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Tags: Adewale Ojomo, Adrien Robinson, Football, Jacquian Williams, James Brewer, Jayron Hosley, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Rueben Randle, Spencer Paysinger, Will Hill

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45 Responses to “Five New York Giants are Poised to Breakout in 2013”

  1.  fanfor55years says:

    Great piece Dan.

    As you know, I am in full agreement with you (except for Scott, who I still just don’t “get”).

    I am surprised that more people haven’t figured out how much potential there is among these young players. I think many are way too cautious about Ojomo because they think he did it “only against back-ups” last preseason. Well, that’s not true. He absolutely dominated the Patriots’ offensive line in the last preseason game when the Pats played a lot of starters in an effort to get timing down after they had played poorly in a few previous games. I was there. He looked like as natural a pass-rusher as I’ve seen in a long time. I planned on staying at that game for a half and then heading home. I didn’t leave because I wanted to keep watching that kid. He has the goods.

    As for Hill, I trumpeted his potential the moment Reese signed him and I will say again, this kid has all of the skills that Kenny Phillips had before the knee problems. I saw him play in high school, and he looked like an NFL player even then. He has good closing speed and is a fierce hitter. He still has a lot to learn in Fewell’s system, but I think he’s going to be a big-time player.

    A number of months ago I said that Randle would become the #2 receiver on this team by 2014. I’m sticking with that. Watching him against Cleveland and Philadelphia you saw what he is capable of once he knows the system. The guy has a lot of upside and the thought of four years with Nicks and Randle as our outside receivers with Eli throwing them the ball and Wilson able to break any run should throw shivers up the spines of the league’s defensive coordinators. (Before anyone starts screaming, I love Victor Cruz. I hope he sticks. I don’t think he will, and I don’t think he will be a “better” receiver than Randle, just a different type who is tremendous in his own right).

    I’m less sure about Williams (health) and Brewer (who knows what he’s got at this point?), but it is in good part because of those other three that I think the Giants are going to be better than many assume in 2013 and should be back toward the top of the league again in 2014 (with the assistance of two typically strong Reese/Ross et. al drafts).

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      I see some potential in Scott. He’s hard-nosed and tough. He just needs to stay healthy and accept a small role.

      •  CT GIANT says:

        DAN: Remember, Scott came in during July lockout, so his 1st real year, with OTA’s and Off season film study etc. wasn’t until after the giants drafted Wilson.
        At the combine his 40 time was best of all RB’s and 2nd overall at 4.34 and had a solid preseason in spite of the lockout running a 96 yd TD, and another 56 TD with blazing speed.
        His problem imo, was Coughlin’s attitude throwing him in 5 games for a total of I think 5 times, not having a clue.
        At this point, at 5’11 215lbs, with his speed, he might , might be a candidate
        to return punts or KO’s, yet it appears if the giants let him go, I see some serious potential in him, but not here.
        CT GIANT

    •  Hanshi says:

      55, we’re talking about Scott as a #3 RB. I’ve seen you write that you don’t get it but he has a lot of speed, can’t move well laterally but we’re talking #3 not #1 or even #2. I think with his speed and Jerald Ingram coaching him up he will be much better than expected.

    •  Chad Eldred says:

      I know you like to claim sole credit as the oracle that saw Will Hill coming, but there were others here, myself included. He has the ability and has managed to keep his nose clean for a full season which is great sign. The biggest drawback on Hill was never related to physcial tools or talent. I really hope that he connects the dots and sees that working hard and living clean have led to this opportunity. We are going to need him.

  2.  James Stoll says:

    We all better hope that list is expanded to include Wilson, Holesy and Robinson

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      I was tempted to add Wilson and Brown, but “breakout” sort of implies coming from left field. We all know they’re very talented and have seen flashes of their breakout. I mean, Wilson set all sorts of records and Brown had 8 TDs prior to being hurt. Kinda removes them from that “breakout realm” – at least in my mind.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        Yeah, but I would agree that Hosley and Robinson are potential breakout players. Tougher for Robinson if Bennett is retained, but I think Hosley is going to have a very good season.

        Wilson already “broke out”. Brown too. Agree with you there.

        As for Scott, I really hope I’m wrong about him, but frankly hope he doesn’t “break out” because even if he has more talent than I’ve recognized, he isn’t going to get much opportunity unless someone is hurt.

        •  G-MenFan says:

          Agree on Hosley, but Robinson didn’t even dress last year. This will really be his “rookie” season as far as getting snaps goes.

  3.  GOAT56 says:

    Two players I would add are Austin and Jernigan.

    While poised for a breakout isn’t how we think of Austin but this is the first season he has played in several years. Maybe with a season under his belt and his second full offseason he can finally begin to tap into his talent. Although, Austin is going into his 3rd season it’s really much more like his second season. Given that he didn’t play his senior year or rookie year his second year was much more of a rookie season that anything else. Maybe he can be in line for a jump like Joseph made from his rookie year to second season. At this point Austin is not a player I would bet on to produce but I certainly wouldn’t completely right him off yet.

    Jernigan is much like Austin in that many fans have already attached a bust label to Jernigan. I don’t think we have been able to get a fair assessment of Jernigan as of yet. He’s had Cruz emerge out of nowhere, Randle added to the mix plus vets like Hixon and Barden around. If we don’t re-sign Hixon, Jernigan will move into a role as 4th WR. While we don’t play a ton of 4 WR sets, getting through a season where none of the top 3 is banged up enough to get the 4th WR significant snaps is unrealistic. Even if we do re-sign Hixon as a 5th WR Jernigan will get chances just as Barden did last year. Also, with Wilson being heavily evolved at RB from the start the KR job is open and Jernigan would seem like a top candidate.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I like Jernigan. He almost broke a few returns in 2012, and in his few opportunities over the past two seasons he looks like he could be a disruptive force. Quick cuts, good hands, and nice YAC potential. I think he could be as good as the majority of slot receivers in the league. We’ve been spoiled by Cruz (and before him, Smith, who while not great was very solid and reliable and among the best at the position).

      If Austin “breaks out” it would be HUGE, but I don’t think Dan could honestly include him since we’ve seen just about nothing from him to date. He’s, frankly, a hope-and-a-prayer at this point.

  4.  kujo says:

    GiantsWFAN ?@giantswfan
    Caution on Beatty is his aching back……cannot ignore when talking bonus $$

  5.  Krow says:

    I wouldn’t stick either JJ or Ausitn with the bust label. But there’s just no indication of how they’re doing based on performance. The coaches see them in practice, but we don’t. And they both got very few snaps. It’s hard to draw any conclusions.

  6.  Krow says:

    Brewer is another enigma. With all the drama at ROT I would have thought they’d have given him a shot. I know he was a project, but he was closing in on 2 years. There’s also no buzz about him. The guy is a puzzle.

    •  G-MenFan says:

      His rookie year (2011) they had some depth on the line and had needs in other places so they didn’t dress him for games. He only began to get snaps last season. I think he’ll be good. One thing for sure: he’s frickin’ huge.

  7.  Chad Eldred says:

    The most satisfying thing about this list is that Ramses Barden isn’t on it. It seems that there is always a guy or two on the roster that is overdue to depart. Sinorice Moss and Gerris Wilkinson come to mind as previous examples. Guys that have had their chance and and, for whatever reason, missed it, or just couldn’t get it done. It’s time to stop letting a guy who is never going to be a contributor occupy a roster spot.

  8.  GmenMania says:

    I would love to predict a breakout for Ojomo, because I think he has a lot of potential, but I just don’t think he will get enough playing time to make a noticeable impact. Sure, he may get 1-2 sacks, but not much more. Remember, he has JPP, Tuck, and most likely Kiwi and Tracy ahead of him on the depth chart. The impact he makes will be mostly dependent on how many snaps he plays.

    •  Chad Eldred says:

      Tracy has to stay healthy or he will be going the way of Clint Sintim. Ojomo could quickly blow by Tracy on the depth chart. Ojomo will be in the rotation by the end of the year. Bank on it. I see Tuck with a reduced role and the young guys given a chance to compete for snaps.

      •  GmenMania says:

        Regardless of whether Ojomo is in front of or behind Tracy on the depth chart, he’s still only #4. So his impact will be limited.

        •  Chad Eldred says:

          But at the end of the day, the depth chart may be loosely correlated to the number of snaps, but it is not the sole factor. Theoretically you could be number 3 on the depth chart and never play at all. There will be plenty of rotation along the line, especially with the “bend, don’t break” style of defence that requires our D to be on the field for long periods of time. If he gets to the QB, he will get on the field. I just don’t consider Tracy an obstacle for Ojomo. Tracy needs to worry about staying on the roster. He’s approaching Barden territory.

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      With LBs thin, Kiwi is still gonna see a lot of time there. Tracy, assuming he remains with the Giants, will compete with Ojomo for #3 (and like Kiwi, he can play a little LB).

  9.  G-MenFan says:

    “It took Randle quite some time to wrap his mind around the complex playbook of offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride,…”

    I wish he’d do me a favor and wrap his hands around his neck.

  10.  KingAndrewXXIII says:

    I posted this late yesterday afternoon…but since there has been several articles since then, I figured I would go ahead and repost:

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/draft2013/story/_/id/8956303/report-alec-ogletree-former-georgia-bulldogs-linebacker-arrested-dui

    With Alec Ogletree getting a DUI the week before the combine, it is VERY likely that, couple with his other issues he has had off the field, that he drops. How far he will drop is a mystery…but again, still highly likely. Does anyone think there’s a chance he’s there for us when we pick in the second round? Reese has been known to take fliers on guys he likes that have character issues (Manningham, Hosley, Bradshaw.) Peter King said that had Ogletree not had all the off-field issues that he would be a top-10 pick, and was still projected a top-25 pick prior to the DUI. I think that if we could somehow land a top notch OL/DT/CB in the first and somehow manage to grab Ogletree in the second round, this would be one hell of a draft!

    I am still EXTREMELY high on DJ Fluker; I think an addition of a mauler like that who has faced off against the toughest competition in college football, along with the re-signing of Beatty, would add a much needed shot of youth (and Fluker, a mean streak) to the OL while keeping the continuity of the interior. With the depth at DT in this draft – targeting someone like LSU’s Bennie Logan and Rutgers Logan Ryan a little further down and taking impact players like Fluker and Ogletree (again, if he were to fall) in the first couple of rounds would set this team up very nicely moving forward. I know the combine hasn’t even happened yet…and there’s a lot that can happen between now and April…but a situation like this would be amazing.

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