The best way to build your team is through Free Agency.
MICHAEL EISEN: Fiction -The best way to build an NFL team in through the draft – select young players, coach them up and develop them in your system. It is hard to find an NFL champion that hasn't had a series of productive drafts. You can fill in gaps on your roster through free agency, but you have just as good a chance of overpaying for someone else's retreats. For a team to become a consistent contender, good drafts are essential.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -This is really how we are starting Fact or Fiction this week? Why not just ask me if the sky is blue or if the Knicks and Yankees have injury problems. Way too easy. The only real way to build a NFL team is through the draft, where you get young players at low cost that can outplay their contracts. Free agency can be used to supplement and fill holes but a team cannot be built that way. When's the last time a true franchise quarterback switched teams in free agency? Enough said.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -It's through the draft, as evidenced by the Giants and other Super Bowl-winning franchises. While we can run through the slate of teams that have failed by over-emphasizing free agency, the stable franchises are the ones that promote from within. And that starts with the draft. Steve Weatherford, who wasn't drafted by the Giants but has played on five different teams, was actually on the radio last night talking about this issue. He brought up an interesting point, saying what makes Jerry Reese successful and somewhat unique compared to other general managers is that he trusts himself to get it right -- even if it takes a few years to show results. And those results speak for themselves.
Josh Brown or David Buehler will start the season as the primary kicker in 2013.
MICHAEL EISEN: Fact -The race has just started, but Brown is the early leader in the clubhouse. He has been a productive NFL kicker for 10 years and has scored more than 1,000 points in the league. Like all coaches, Tom Coughlin wants an experienced, reliable kicker. Barring a poor training camp and preseason, he should find one in Brown.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -Another easy one. I don't imagine the Giants will spend money on another veteran kicker, so unless they draft someone (unlikely), it will be competition between those two players for who is the Giants kicker in 2013. Both guys have big legs, which the Giants love.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact -I think it will be Josh Brown. He is a steady kicker who might be able to give the Giants a couple extra yards to work with this season. His ability and experience should make for a smooth transition for his new teammates and coaches.
Aaron Ross will be the primary punt returner in 2013.
MICHAEL EISEN: Fiction -First, it's no certainty that Ross will make the 53-man roster. If everyone stays healthy, the Giants have a crowded competition at cornerback. Even if he is, Ross was never a punt returner that struck fear in the heart of opponents. The Giants want someone who can secure the ball and is more of a home run threat.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -Aaron Ross's past hamstring issues and age make him an unlikely candidate to be the full time punt returner this year. I think there's a better shot that Ross beats out Jayron Hosley for the slot job and Hosley becomes the primary punt returner. I also still think there's a chance Domenik Hixon returns next year, and he takes back his punt return job.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -There are a lot of variables between now and the start of the season for roles to shake out, but Ross coming back is a move to try to once again bolster the cornerback position. I don't think punt return was the primary part of that decision. Although he can and has filled that role the last couple seasons, let's first see what he first brings to the field this training camp.
The Giants secondary will send one member to the Pro Bowl in 2013.
MICHAEL EISEN: Fact -I'm picking Antrel Rolle to have a big season and get selected for his third Pro Bowl.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -Good, this was one I really had to think about. I'll go on the pessimistic side here, only because the Giants haven't sent a defensive back to the Pro Bowl since 2010 when Antrel Rolle went. Corey Webster's reputation took a big hit with his subpar 2012 campaign, and the Pro Bowl voting is all about reputation. Stevie Brown didn't get in last year when he intercepted eight passes and there's little chance he tallies those types of numbers again. Prince Amukamara might be the best chance if he has a breakout year. If Antrel Rolle continues playing in the slot a lot, his numbers probably won't be where they need to be for a Pro Bowl bid. Call me Mr. Negative if you want, but that's what I think.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -The Pro Bowl is a name game, and if you were on the Giants defense last season, yours is tarnished until proven otherwise this year. Even when the Giants won the Super Bowl two years ago, none of their secondary was selected. Right and wrong, you need tangible stats to make it to an all-star game. Stevie Brown came closest in 2012 with eight interceptions, which tied with Seattle's Richard Sherman total for second in the NFL. But until one breaks through, I'll say Fiction.
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