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Fact or Fiction: Did the NFL Top 100 get it right?


*The staff debates Big Blue topics as the 2017 season gets closer: *

1. You had no problem with the final installment of the "Top 100 Players of 2017".

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JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -I had some problems. Aaron Rodgers at number six is a joke. He has to be a top three player. Rodgers has carried a Packers squad with a lot of flaws to the playoffs time and time again. There is no more physically gifted quarterback, perhaps in NFL history. I also wouldn't have ranked Ezekiel Elliott over Le'veon Bell. Bell does have injury concerns, but when he is on the field, he is a better all-around player than Elliott.

LANCE MEDOW : Fact -I'll never understand why people get so worked up over rankings that mean nothing in the big picture of things. The only rankings that I care about are the standings based strictly on facts: wins and losses.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -I'm tired of rankings altogether in sports, and here are my top five reasons why. Just kidding. Next question!

2. Sterling Shepard is the next Giant to make his "Top 100" debut.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - I'm going to go with Olivier Vernon. By all rights, he should have made a list already. Even though his sack numbers might not reflect it, Vernon has been one of the better defensive ends in football the last couple of seasons. He gets hurries on the quarterbacks while playing excellent run defense at the same time. Shepard, on the other hand, will have to split targets with too many great players to put up the numbers that would vault him into the top 100.

LANCE MEDOW : Fiction -If Brandon Marshall hadn't already made the "Top 100" as a member of another team, I would have put him ahead of Sterling Shepard but I think there are a few defensive players that deserve consideration before we throw Shepard's name in the mix. Given their production and the fact they were both named Second-Team All-Pro, you could easily make a case for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Olivier Vernon to make this year's "Top 100" so it's certainly not a stretch to think they'll have a legitimate chance following the 2017 season. As far as Shepard goes, keep in mind, just 14 wide receivers made this year's "Top 100" and none of them were third on the depth chart.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact -Shepard has a few things going for him. First, he's really good. Second, he's only getting better. Third, he has the "it" factor and star power. If his arrow continues to point up, he should make the "Top 100" at some point in the near future. Even with Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram coming to the Giants, I still think Shepard's numbers will go up from his rookie year. Eli Manning trusts him, and Shepard is making an effort to increase his yards after catch.

3. Evan Engram is the rookie you're most excited to see at training camp.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - We saw the type of athleticism and speed that Engram has in the spring, but training camp will allow us to see the other part of his game: blocking. Once the pads come on, we will see exactly how physical Engram is willing to get and how effective a blocker he can be. I'm excited to see it.

LANCE MEDOW : Fiction -I'm anxious to see the entire rookie class in pads for the first tim but given Evan Engram has already shown some flashes dating back to rookie minicamp, I wouldn't put him atop the list. I'm more interested in watching second-round pick Dalvin Tomlinson, who will likely be battling with veterans Robert Thomas and Jay Bromley for a starting job and fifth-round selection Avery Moss, who has a chance to establish himself as a situational pass rusher and key special teams contributor. You can't tell much about defensive linemen until they put the pads on so that's why it's worth focusing on Tomlinson and Moss.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact -The incoming first-round draft pick always steals the show for me, even when you count the veterans. Engram looked more and more comfortable as the team progressed through OTAs and minicamp, but I can't wait to see him unleashed with the pads on. Not only will his speed shine through, but we'll see where he is in his blocking.

4. The toughest position group the Giants face this season is Denver's cornerbacks.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -The Broncos had the No. 1 pass defense in the league last year, and a big reason is their cornerbacks. Chris Harris and Aqib Talib are both top cover corners and they will be a handful for the Giants wide receivers. The Cowboys offensive line was in the mix here but they lost both Doug Free and Ronald Leary. The Eagles offensive line is really good too but not quite there. The Seahawks safeties are in the mix but Earl Thomas is coming off of serious injury. The Rams defensive line is a real option too with Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald. I'll stick with the Broncos cornerbacks.

LANCE MEDOW : Fact -The Broncos showcased the number one passing defense in 2016. They surrendered just 186 passing yards per game and 13 total touchdowns ranking first in the NFL in each category. Denver is fully stacked in the secondary with veterans at both corner and safety. Aqib Talib, Chris Harris and Bradley Roby form one of the best corner trios in the league and T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart make up a nice 1-2 punch at safety. Those five players combined for 45 passes defensed, 11 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles in 2016. The Seahawks secondary is right behind Denver but, unlike Seattle, the Broncos have proven commodities at every single position.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -It's the Cowboys' offensive line, which is a testament to the Giants' defense for helping sweep Dallas last season. Name another unit that has three first-team All-Pros on it. On top of that, the Giants have to face it twice a year – not just once like Denver's secondary.

Photos from Landon Collins' breakout season in 2016.

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