By Michael Stewart
- Ereck Flowers (LT): With his first 2 seasons now behind him, Flowers can only improve based off his 2016 performance (at least that’s the plan). Only 23 years old, Flowers can still become that LT the Giants had envision when they drafted him 9th overall in the 2015 draft. Flowers has shown the desire to improve with his hard work this off season in the weight room working on strengthening his lower body and reduce weight from last season.. The jury is still out on whether his devotion in the weight room pays off, but Flowers should have added motivation this season as his rookie contract ends after this season and his overall play in 2017 will determine if the Giants pickup his 5th year option.
- Paul Perkins (RB): In 2016, Paul Perkins was finally given the chance late in the season and didn’t disappoint Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the rest of the Giants front office. Perkins gained 456 yards on 112 carries for a 4.1 ypg. The Giants and Perkins expect these totals to vastly improve in 2017 as Perkins has been given the early starting role as the Giants features RB. Perkins is going to be counted on in a big way to make it happen; with a full offseason under his belt, he should be that much more improved in 2017.
- Darian Thompson (FS): After a disappointed rookie season that saw Thompson end up on the injury list (Chronic Foot) for basically the entire season; 2017 looks much more promising for the gifted FS. However; Thompson will have major competition awaiting him with Andrew Adams (played 13 games in 2016) looking to retain his starting position from last season. Ultimately; I believe Thompson will pick up where he left off and regain his starting spot as the Giants FS and alongside Landon Collins.
- B.J Goodson (MLB): B. J. Goodson was drafted in the 2016 NFL draft (4th round) by GM Jerry Reese to eventually become the Giants middle linebacker of the future. Despite not seeing much action on the defensive side of the ball in his rookie season, Head Coach Ben McAdoo is expecting Goodson to compete with Robinson for the starting position this year. This could start out as a platoon system between the two, however; as the season unfolds Goodson could find himself trenched as the #1 MLB for the Giants. All the tools are there for him to succeed and if given the opportunity, Goodson could have a very solid sophomore season for the Giants.
- Aldrick Rosas (K): Who the heck is Aldrick Rosas? The unknown kicker out of Southern Oregon displayed a strong and accurate leg during his college days, but this is the NFL now and the Giants are currently banking on an unknown, unseasoned NFL kicker to help them to the Super Bowl seems a bit of a risk. Despite having only a brief opportunity for the Tennessee Titans last season, Rosas has a blank resume, however; despite this the Giants are so high on him that he is currently the only kicker on the roster. There’s no question regarding Rosas leg power and if he lives up to the Giants endorsement; he could be one the biggest surprises for the Giants this season.
Final Thoughts: Any one of the 5 mentioned could have a breakout season from their 2016 performance. This is not to say that anyone of these 5 candidates will be a Pro Bowler in 2017 like Landon Collins did last season. However; it’s not a reach to believe that each one of these players could improve from their 2016 season performance and emerge as a vital component to the Giants success.