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New York Giants need Jay Bromley, Owa Odighizuwa, and others to step up

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While there are plenty of holes on the Giants roster, there could be some answers too... If the coaches can bring out their potential.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

With the new league year rapidly approaching, we've been going over the list of prospective free agents to see where New York Giants could -- and should -- spend their nearly $60 million of cap room.

As we've done so, an interesting trend has surfaced: Some of the most popular free agent targets weren't high draft picks. No, players like Olivier Vernon, Malik Jackson, George Iloka, and Damon Harrison were a third-round pick, a fifth-round pick, a fifth-round pick, and an undrafted free agent, respectively.

The fact that some of the most (potentially) sought-after free agents weren't highly-touted draft prospects only highlights the struggles the Giants have had filling out their roster from the later rounds of the draft.

But that's an argument we've had time and again, and there's no reason to rehash it. No, this is a new era for the Giants, with a new(ish) regime. Let's take a look at five players the Giants coaching staff can, and need, to develop into prominent contributors.

Jay Bromley

The Giants' third-round pick from the 2014 class, Bromley hasn't seen the field as much as the Giants, or fans, would have hoped. Under the previous regime he was largely stuck behind more tenured players like Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson, and Markus Kuhn. However, when Bromley did see the field in 2015 -- both in the rotation and later in the season when the coaches' hands were forced by injury -- he was the Giants' best defensive tackle not named "Johnathan Hankins."

While we don't know exactly what went into the Giants decision to draft Bromley when they did, there have been whispers that his work ethic was the deciding factor. If his physical upside and work ethic can bear fruit in 2015, it will go a long way towards solidifying a shaky front seven.

Owa Odighizuwa

Another third-round pick, this time from this past draft, Odighizuwa was considered a potential steal. With physical gifts that normally command a first-round grade, Owa fell in the draft due to injury concerns after a lost 2013 season. Predictably, a remarkably rare and "weird" foot injury cost him most of his rookie season. It should be noted that that injury doesn't seem to be related to the hip surgeries and he played a full healthy season in 2014.

Owa is still transitioning from being a block absorbing defensive end in a 3-4 front to an attacking end in a 4-3 front, but if he can successfully make the transition, his heavy hands and explosive athleticism should give a boost to a Giants' pass rush that is anemic at best.

Bobby Hart

Hart would appear to have a chance to seize a starting job this year. Hart came into the league with a rare mix of youth and experience. Few rookies start as many big games in college as Hart did by the age of 20. Fewer still last until the seventh round. Hart did back-up duty for the Giants in 2015, filling in at right guard and starting a game at right tackle.

He played well at both positions, though his future is likely at guard. Hart's play almost certainly has to be part of the reason why the Giants felt comfortable releasing both Will Beatty and Geoff Schwartz at the start of the off-season. The Giants will need Hart to step up and take a starting job, helping to solidify a young and talented offensive line, and giving them value from a round that rarely yields it league wide.

Nat Berhe & Cooper Taylor

Landon Collins is the only safety the Giants can count on in 2015, and will likely look to free agency to solidify the back end of a defense that hemorrhaged yards.

However, they have a quartet of young safeties on the roster who missed all of 2015. Mykkele Thompson tore his Achilles tendon, Bennett Jackson tore the ACL in his right knee a year after microfracture surgery in his left, Nat Berhe had a calf injury, and Cooper Taylor was cut, re-signed, and promptly suffered a season-ending concussion after giving a spark of hope to the secondary.

Of the four, Berhe and Taylor are the most likely to be able to contribute in 2015, and the Giants need at least one of them to step up and be an important contributor. The two have different games; despite his size, Berhe was an aggressive psuedo-linebacker in college and could cover over the middle and be a pass rushing weapon, Taylor is a size/speed phenom with rare athleticism who appeared to "get it" upon his return to the field.

The Giants need at least one of them to become a dependable contributor, even if it is in sub packages (an important role in today's NFL).

Geremy Davis

The Giants' offense appears solid. They scored points, moved the ball well, and Eli Manning was second in the league in touchdown passes. Other than Odell Beckham Jr., however, the wide receiver corps is pretty threadbare. Victor Cruz is coming back from a pair of difficult injuries, Dwayne Harris is tough but has important duties on the special teams, and Hakeem Nicks is a free agent and not the receiver he used to be.

Davis is a good special teams player in his own right, but his difficulty separating out of his routes kept him off the field. If he can polish his route running enough to get on the field, his size and strength could be an asset to a team with few dependable receiving options beyond Beckham and Shane Vereen. As well, his abilities as a blocker -- along with Harris -- should help to improve a screen game that McAdoo has been trying for two years to emphasize.