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Friday, June 6, 2014
Big Blue Morning: Ranking the rosters

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Interesting exercise by Pro Football Focus, ranking all 32 NFL rosters Insider in order. It's an Insider post, so you have to pay to read it, but for our purposes here I can tell you that the New York Giants' roster came in at No. 19 in the NFL and No. 3 in the NFC East, behind the No. 5 overall Eagles and right behind the No. 18 overall Cowboys.

Along with the rankings are color-coded charts that rate each team's starters. Of the 22 starters they project for the Giants, only 10 rated above average and only three -- fullback John Conner, guard Geoff Schwartz and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- rated "high quality." None rated in the blue "Elite" category. Hence, this part of the evaluation:
There aren't many glaring holes on the Giants' roster anymore, but their problem is more the absence of real difference-makers. Rashad Jennings showed he was a "capable" runner a year ago in Oakland, but he's little more than that, and the receiving corps now expects Victor Cruz to lead the way rather than complement a true No. 1 receiver.

I think it's fair. There's something of a "who-scares-you?" element to the Giants as currently constructed. The Giants think Jennings can be more than just "capable," but neither they nor we know that for sure yet. Quarterback Eli Manning and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul are players who have performed at elite levels in the past, and if they can elevate their games this year they could certainly improve the color-coded rankings on the high end. But given the way the past two seasons have gone for them, it's impossible to rank them as high-end performers right now without seeing them do it again.

You're welcome to like the Giants' roster better than Pro Football Focus does. They are just one set of opinions, after all. But as we've been discussing here for months, the Giants ended 2013 with a long way to go to build their roster back up to championship-contender level. Even with all of the work they've done to improve this offseason, they still have plenty more they could do.