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NFL Power Rankings: ESPN has Giants at No. 9

That’s right where they were when the offseason began

NFL: Preseason-New York Giants at New York Jets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Just how good can the New York Giants be in 2017? According to an 80-member ESPN panel of writers, editors and analysts, very good. There’s still plenty of work to be done before next season’s rosters are locked in but as things stand today, Big Blue is the ninth best team in football, according to the Worldwide Leaders.

9. New York Giants

2016 record: 11-5

Post-Super Bowl ranking: No. 9

Adding Brandon Marshall to a unit that includes Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard could be an embarrassment of riches -- assuming Marshall can recapture some of his Pro Bowl form. Marshall caught 47.2 percent of his targets last season, second-lowest among qualified receivers.

Before the 2016 NFL season began, no one saw the Giants as a legitimate threat in the NFC. A struggling offense and 2-3 record after five weeks didn’t help anything. Then the defense, led by new faces (Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and Damon Harrison) and resurgent, familiar ones (Landon Collins, Jason Pierre-Paul and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) carried the Giants to a 9-2 record the rest of the way and their first playoff-berth since 2011.

With Pierre-Paul back in the fold on a long-term deal, that defense figures to pick up where it left off — with the possible exception of DT Johnathan Hankins. This offseason, the Giants have upgraded their receiving corps, swapping out Victor Cruz for Brandon Marshall, and found a tight end who can hold a block in Rhett Ellison.

The Giants also added depth to their weakest unit, the offensive line, by signing D.J. Fluker. That won’t put them in any conversations with the Dallas Cowboys’ or Tennessee Titans’ maulers, but it certainly doesn’t make Big Blue’s unit any worse than they were last year. And there’s still the NFL Draft and plenty of time before September to add pieces.