Luke Petitgout – He's so much better than most fans and media realize. He's capable of establishing himself as one of the game's better left tackles but he's yet to realize that potential. He has the size, strength, speed and toughness to rate among the best, but his constant penalties, especially last season, have held him back. With all the offensive weapons the Giants have, defenses are going to be doing their best to get to Eli Manning. The onus is on Petitgout to keep them away.
Will Demps – Of all the new faces in the secondary, Demps is going to be playing centerfield and oftentimes serve as the last line of defense. A good year from him and the Giants defense could rank among the league's best. A poor year and it could be back to the free-agent drawing board. Now we'll see if Demps helped make Ed Reed or if Reed kept Demps in the league.
Osi Umenyiora – Last year, Umenyiora took the league and opposing blockers by surprise. He won't be afforded that luxury this time around. He's going to be circled on a lot of offensive coordinator's Xs and Os boards. If he can continue at the exceptionally high level of play he was at last year, that'll open up so many other avenues for defensive success. The Giants are counting on it.
Jay Feely – He finished with exceptional numbers last season, yet he's mostly remembered for the fallout in Seattle. Heaven only knows how the Giants season would have unfolded last season had they snuck out of Seattle with a victory. All his mates backed him at the time because he's such a likable guy, but patience is going to run very thin if he costs the club yet another key late-season contest. It might not be fair, but Feely's going to need to be near perfect in 2006.
Eli Manning – We know, we know – everyone already knows this. But we still had to put him on our list. Most of the puzzle is already constructed pretty solidly. As Manning goes, so go the Giants.
On the rise
Brandon Jacobs – He was disappointed in his rookie season despite the fact that he reached the end zone seven times. Jacobs wants to be more than just the short-yardage back and judging from how hard he worked and how he looked during the offseason, he appears ready to become Tiki Barber's full-time backup. If he can consistently keep his pad level down, there's no stopping this Mack truck.
Chris Snee – More and more people around the league are starting to mention Snee's name when discussing some of the game's better guards. He's right up there – and he's still learning and developing. You knew he had to be tough to marry Tom Coughlin's daughter. He might be even tougher on the field.
Corey Webster – No one's going to be surprised if Webster has a solid sophomore season. He has all the tools – mentally and physically – and now has some experience under his belt and a player-coach lining up opposite him in Sam Madison. Despite Madison's superb résumé, he may get more passes thrown his way than Webster.
Justin Tuck – New York's forgotten defensive lineman is back and planning to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. While Tuck may be overshadowed by the two Pro Bowlers and the first-round pick, he's planning to play so well this summer that he forces his way on the field. There's no such thing as politics with Tim Lewis. If you're good enough, you're going to get snaps. Tuck is good enough.
Carlos Emmons – As good as Emmons has looked this offseason, he has a former starter lining up behind him in Brandon Short. There's no doubt it's Emmons' job to lose and no one really expects him to cough it up. But it's clear that Coughlin and Lewis wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger if he slows up – or succumbs to the injury bug once again.
Tim Hasselbeck – The Giants backup QB last season is going to need to fight off both Rob Johnson and Jared Lorenzen to retain the number two spot. Johnson has more experience and a much more attractive résumé and Lorenzen has much more of an upside. He might have finished minicamp second on the depth chart, but it's going to take a very solid camp from Hasselbeck for him to stay in that role.
Derrick Ward – He kind of backed into the reserve running back role last season and, to his credit, fared well when called upon. However, he has a motivated Brandon Jacobs running up his back and also new signee Little John Flowers, who certainly may prove to be more than a camp body. Ward's going to need to stand out during camp to retain his secondary role behind Barber – and quite possibly to even remain on the club.
Tim Carter – The only difference about the footsteps that Carter is hearing is that they're already in front of him. It would be borderline shocking if Carter holds off Sinorice Moss for the third receiver job.
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