For the second time in recent memory, the Giants upset the heavily-favored Patriots in the Super Bowl. For the second time in recent history they had to go through a Packers team at home before making it to the big game. Eli Manning emerged as a great (might one say elite?) quarterback, after a number of disappointing, interception laden seasons. The biggest question is whether or not the Eli of 2011 will make a return appearance in 2012. Eli had 900 more passing yards in 2011 (4,933) than any other season he had played previously (4,021 in 2009). I would personally like to believe that Eli will land somewhere in the middle. Maybe 4,400 yards and 29 touchdowns (the same as last season and his average over the last few seasons). That is easily good enough for a second-tier QB1. Feel free to draft Manning around the same time Philip Rivers and just above Jay Cutler.
Ahmah Bradshaw was not spectacular last season, but his year was injury-plagued, so we can give him a pass. Now the Giants did draft David Wilson at the end of the first round, but rookie backs typically don't have great seasons. I would say that Bradshaw is probably going to have one or two more great seasons with the Giants, but his future past that is a bit uncertain. Fortunately for us, we only need to worry about this season. With Manning commanding more attention from opposing defenses, Bradshaw should end up as one of the top-15 backs this season, and he could be a great value pick in the 4th or 5th round. I think a lot of people will pass on Bradshaw because they are used to him being stuck in a backfield committee, but he could have a really amazing season. Wilson could be a nice pick at the end of the draft in case Bradshaw is injured.
As much as I hate to admit it, the Giants have a wonderful tandem at wide receiver. Hakeem Nicks quietly had a really nice season, with nearly 1,200 yards and 7 receiving touchdowns. Unfortunately, Nicks broke a foot recently, and it is uncertain whether he will be ready for training camp or not. If he misses camp, you can bump him down to a strong WR2 in the 4th round, but he is a late-2nd round pick if he gets healthy and looks good. Victor Cruz had an amazing season last year, and while he might not get another 1,500+ yards this season, he should be a significant WR2 this year. I really like him, and I wouldn't knock someone for picking him up in the 4th round, especially if they had a good early draft. The 5th round is probably a better resting spot for him this season. He and Jordy Nelson are easily the best second-option receivers in the league, and I would put them right next to each other in yards and touchdowns this season. Just as a final thought here, Domenik Hixon would be a nice 12th/13th round pick, just in case something happens to Nicks or Cruz. Martellus Bennett benefited significantly from the injury to Jake Ballard, and drafting him in the 10th or later would be a good decision, especially as a TE2.
This defense should be dominant this season, especially in terms of sacks. Feel free to draft them as a top-5 defense this season. Don't worry about their kicker, they don't kick enough long field goals.
I hope you enjoyed this series (or whatever part of it you read). The next posts will focus on using the information from this series to make predictions. That will be compiled into a few Big Board posts, and finally I will start a series of Mock Drafts. Keep looking here. There will be some surprises and changes from the Predicting Success series.