It seems that even with NFL training camps in full swing across the league we still aren’t quite out of "list season".
ESPN ranked all 32 teams by their young talent — players under 25 years old. They make a good point to start their rankings: With the rising cost of veteran players, it’s increasingly important for teams to get their young players producing sooner.
So then, where do the increasingly young New York Giants rank?
12. NEW YORK GIANTS
2015 ranking: 6
Odell Beckham Jr. is off to one of the best starts ever for a wide receiver. He alone does a lot to lift the Giants in these rankings. The Giants would be happy if rookie Sterling Shepard was half as good right away, and he should get his shot, as Victor Cruz has been slow to return to action. Left tackle Ereck Flowers had some rookie growing pains, allowing 21 blown blocks in the passing game last season. Running back Andre Williams and tight end Will Tye provide depth, but not starter-quality snaps.
New York went big on defense this offseason, starting with the first-round selection of cornerback Eli Apple. He's most likely to be the Giants' No. 3 corner this season, which is still an important job in today's NFL. Landon Collins had an active rookie season. The safety's biggest regret is probably dropping a game-ending interception thrown by Tom Brady; it would have doubled Collins' total for the season. He was better at stopping the run than defending the pass. A year after placing four safeties on injured reserve, the Giants could start third-round rookie Darian Thompson opposite Collins.
Not bad, but the rules of ESPN’s rankings put the Giants at a disadvantage. By specifically ranking teams by the players under 25 years of age, they are leaving some of the Giants’ most talented players just off the rankings. Headlined by Olivier Vernon, the list of talented youth that just misses the cutoff also includes Weston Richburg — one of the game’s best centers — Justin Pugh, Devon Kennard, Brad Wing, and Kerry Wynn (granted, he’s not in the same class as the previous five, but teams could certainly do worse for their fourth defensive end. The Cowboys certainly are.)
I’d also like to note that they list Will Tye as depth but not starter quality after being the top rookie TE in the league in 2015, and ranking right around 20th league-wide in receptions, yards, and yards per game despite only starting seven games.
Elsewhere in the NFC East the Dallas Cowboys are ranked 24th, the Washington Redskins are ranked 28th, and the Philadelphia Eagles are ranked 30th. So in comparison to the rest of the division, the Giants seem to be in the best position to continue to improve over the next couple years.