Continuing with its series on franchise's most underrated and overrated players, NFL.com has finally reached the New York Giants.
The underrated category is headlined by none other than quarterback Eli Manning, who author JJ Territo calls "the greatest New York Giants quarterback ever."
"Fans don't give Eli enough credit for what he's accomplished in his nine seasons. He's already brought home two Super Bowl championships, one against a team pursuing the first 19-0 season in NFL history," Territo wrote.
"This season, Manning will most likely surpass Simms as the Giants' all-time leader in passing yards, and solidify his spot as the greatest quarterback in franchise history. For some reason, the perception that Eli Manning is not an elite quarterback still exists, and that makes him underrated."
Following Manning is recently departed linebacker Chase Blackburn, who led the team in tackles last season, as well as former running backs Dave Meggett, Ottis Anderson and Joe Morrison.
On the overrated side, a very unpopular name -- former tight end Jeremy Shockey -- leads the way. Shockey, a member of the Giants from 2002-07, was one of the team's most outspoken players. Both his outlandish persona and his production on the field proved replaceable.
"Despite making four Pro Bowls while with the Giants, Shockey was easily replaced by Kevin Boss," Territo wrote. "Shockey defines the term overrated, as he will be remembered for his bravado and not his play."
It's hard to argue against this, as Shockey never seemed to fulfill his potential as one of the league's best receiving tight ends. No disrespect to Boss, but he was a no-name who made Giants fans quickly forget about Shockey.
Following Shockey is perhaps one of the more controversial names -- defensive end Justin Tuck.
Tuck is a team captain and was one of the more productive defenders during the Giants' 2007 Super Bowl run, but Territo believes the lineman's recent decline in production is setting a poor example for the entire Giants defense.
"The best leaders usually lead by example. Tuck hasn't exactly set the best example over the past two seasons, totaling just nine sacks in that time span," he wrote. "They clearly need more leadership from their captain. If he's going to lead the Giants to another Super Bowl, Tuck needs to get off the Subway diet and start crushing opposing quarterbacks."
Territo makes a valid point, and Tuck will be the first one to tell you his slide in recent years has been due to off-field distractions (insert your $5 foot-long joke here)
As captain of the team, you expect consistent, high-level production, just as you would with Derek Jeter. So while it's difficult to defend Tuck, who has not been the same player he was when he first made a splash in the league, I believe it's a bit premature to consider him one of the franchise's most overrated players. He has time to redeem himself still, for sure.
Other players deemed overrated include Brandon Jacobs, who when drafted by New York was expected to be a dominant force in the Giants running game. Also mentioned is Jason Sehorn, a fan favorite but battled numerous injuries, and Ron Dayne, the former Heisman Trophy winner who never found that same success in the NFL.
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