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Fact or Fiction: Which rookies will start?


At least two of the Giants' drafted rookies will start Week 1. *MICHAEL EISEN: Fiction - *

The Giants have productive veterans blocking the path of every draftee. Perhaps No. 1 selection Justin Pugh will earn a starting job, but I don't see two draft choices starting the opener (barring injuries).

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -"Starting" is a nebulous word in the NFL, but for this statement's purpose I'll consider someone a starter if they are on the field on first and ten against the Cowboys on 9/8. With that definition in place, I believe both Johnathan Hankins and Justin Pugh will be starting for the Giants in Week 1. Hankins will come off the field in passing situation for Cullen Jenkins, but he is a better space eater and should be more effective against the run.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -I'm going to say one – Justin Pugh. You don't draft someone in the first round if you don't expect them to contribute right away. Then looking at the second-round choice, I think Johnathan Hankins has the potential to start down the stretch, but even Linval Joseph – also a defensive tackle taken in the second round – had to first earn his stripes behind some veterans. As for the rest of the draft picks, there is too much tenure ahead of them to make up by Week 1.

The Giants will carry three quarterbacks into the regular season.

MICHAEL EISEN: Fact - Tom Coughlin would prefer not to sacrifice the roster spot, but I don't see you he can avoid it. David Carr is perfect for the Giants and Ryan Nassib is too inexperienced to have as your only backup. And placing him on waivers would certainly mean losing him. So the Giants should have a  third QB for the first time since 2007.
As much as the Giants liked Nassib, I don't think they will deem him ready to be Eli's primary back up in 2013. They want a backup that can step in and the offense doesn't have to be simplified or changed at all. David Carr is that guy. I don't think Nassib is ready to be that guy this year. There's no way they can sneak him onto the practice squad either. In other words, the Giants carry three quarterbacks.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact -It's not ideal for Tom Coughlin because he likes to keep that extra spot for a special teams contributor, and we've seen the value in such players over the years. But, like anything, there are exceptions to any rule, and drafting a quarterback in the fourth round is one of them. There's no way the Giants would be able to maneuver him onto the practice squad, and I don't believe they would go into a season with a rookie solely backing up Eli Manning.

At least one starter – offense or defense -- is not currently on the Giants' roster.

MICHAEL EISEN: Fiction -Although it's possible, I don't see the Giants signing a player off the street at this late date who will walk in and become a starter.
There's only one position that's a question, and it's the outside linebacker spot opposite Jacquian Williams. In my gut, I still believe the Giants add a veteran presence there and he'll figure out a way to start. I just don't believe Keith Rivers will be healthy enough to be a starter in that spot. Now there is the possibility a guy like Spencer Paysinger steps up, but I haven't seen enough to believe quite yet.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -There will be some new names on the roster between now and the season opener, but I don't see one working his way up the depth chart to take a starting job – at least not in the beginning of the season. Especially with the rookies just drafted, the top of the depth charts position by position look to already be secured.

Safety Will Hill will play more snaps than any of the Giants linebackers in 2013.

MICHAEL EISEN: Fiction -This is particularly true if Mathias Kiwanuka is officially listed as a linebacker. But I think two or three backers will get more snaps than Hill, especially if rookie Cooper Taylor proves he can contribute at safety.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -I believe he will play more snaps than any linebacker not named Jacquian Williams. Of course, injuries will have a big impact on this, but in my opinion Williams will be on the field an awful lot due to his ability to cover. Will Hill still has a lot to prove and will have to compete for that third safety spot. Williams is a much surer thing.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -While he finished 2012 strong – racking up 23 tackles in the final four weeks – I think he needs to prove more to see more time on the field. He has a nose for the ball and is a skilled special teamer, but he'll have tough competition on the depth chart.

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