New York Giants have a lot to look forward to this season. Along with a few nice signings on the defense, first year head coach Ben McAdoo has a still productive Eli Manning and potentially the best receiving core in the NFL with Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, and Sterling Shepard. Many of the aforementioned players have a chance to be valuable components on their side of the ball, but Beckham and Olivier Vernon are my early picks for team MVP’s for the 2016 season.
It’s hard to pick against the #10 best player in the NFL according to the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2015, and Odell has a great chance of moving up that list if he can emulate his stats from last season. Beckham amassed 1,450 receiving yards (5th among receivers) and scored 13 TD’s with 96 receptions in 2015, and he’ll need to replicate these numbers with a receiving core that has a lot of questions.
Cruz hasn’t played a game in almost 2 years, and Shepard hasn’t played a down in the NFL yet, despite drawing numerous comparisons to Beckham. These questions, combined with the amount of targets he will assumedly get from Manning, lead me to believe that Odell will be the offensive MVP this year.
On the flip side, Vernon has the potential to be a game changer. The $85 million dollar defensive end will surely bolster a Giants defense that ranked dead last in total defense and ranked 24th in terms of rushing yards given up per game with 121.4.
Vernon was an absolute force for the Miami Dolphins in 2015, combing for 61 tackles and a team-high 7.5 sacks, besting Cameron Wake by just half a sack. He and Jason Pierre-Paul could form quite the tandem at DE, and, with his previous body of work and explosiveness off of the ball, is my leading candidate for the Giants defensive MVP.