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Thursday, January 16, 2014
NFLN survey/franchise player: Giants

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Our NFL Nation team of reporters surveyed 10 players from each team, on the condition of anonymity, and we're rolling out the answers to our questions in advance of the Super Bowl. One of the questions was "If you had to start a team with one player, whom would it be?" The winner was Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, with 62 votes out of the 320. A close second was Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, with 56 votes. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers were next on the list with 41 and 40 votes, respectively, and Calvin Johnson was the top non-quarterback wit 37 votes.

The only New York Giants player who got a vote on this question was wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who got one. I'm a fan of Nicks -- or at least the pre-2013 version of Nicks -- but I'd happily pick second in an all-NFL-players draft in which someone took him at No. 1. Eli Manning remains the Giants player you'd take if you were starting a team tomorrow, or maybe you could make a case for Victor Cruz due to Manning's age.

Speaking of age, I'd probably have answered Luck to this question, since I interpret the question to mean I'd be starting a team and intending to build it to win long-term. Peyton Manning is turning 38 in March, and while I'd definitely take him first if I were picking a team to play this weekend, I think the 24-year-old Luck is the guy you take if you're thinking about building something around your top pick that can last a long time.