The New York Giants' defensive line is more concept car than lean, mean quarterback-busting machine at this point. High-priced free agents Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon, along with returnees Jason Pierre-Paul and Damon Harrison look shiny and awesome on the showroom floor of theory and spring practices. Whether or not the group will perform the way they look can't be determined until the real games are played.
That bit of reality check did not top NFL.com from naming the Giants potentially Fearsome Foursome the league's fourth-best defensive line. Even NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal acknowledged the theoretical nature of the ranking:
The Giants' defensive line remains more of a concept than a reality at this stage, a connection to the Giants lines of old without truly knowing if Steve Spagnuolo can make them all work together. Vernon and Pierre-Paul are the bookends of potential versus production. Vernon consistently pressured the quarterback in Miami without always finishing plays. JPP caused havoc last year as he learned to play with his hand wrapped in a club. Now he will play with a glove, which should help him tackle.
Harrison is a known commodity as a run-stuffer and Hankins is a sleeper to be the best player of the group. The Giants should have four above-average starters, something that is difficult to find elsewhere. They need JPP to return to his 2011 self to get this group to another level.
Potentially, this group can be great. If JPP can play well. If they stay healthy. If Vernon and Harrison justify their contracts. If other players emerge to provide some depth. It's difficult to rank a group that has never played a down this highly. Is this "hopeful" ranking by Rosenthal jumping the gun? Will Rosenthal be proven right or wrong?
Your thoughts, Giants fans?