EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – In the nine years from 2009-17, the Giants had three season-long team captains seven times. They had five captains in 2013-14 before reverting to three from 2015-17.
That number doubled to six captains every year from 2018-21. Last season, Brian Daboll's first as head coach, the Giants had 10 captains.
Daboll announced the team's 2023 captains and, once again, it's a 10-man group: Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Andrew Thomas, Darren Waller, Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, Bobby Okereke, Adoree' Jackson, Xavier McKinney and Graham Gano.
Barkley is a captain for the fifth consecutive season, the team's longest active streak. Jones is a fourth-year captain and Gano is in his third season in the leadership position. Thomas, Lawrence, Williams and McKinney are second-year captains. Jackson, Waller and Okereke were selected captains for the first time, the latter two players in their debut season with the Giants.
"The way we do it is I have six slots and I have all the players vote and then if you get a certain amount of votes, then you are named captain," Daboll said. "I think there were 22 people on the team that received votes, which to me is good for our team in terms of the way players perceive other players in leadership roles. Just because you are not a captain doesn't mean you are not a leader on the team. There was a considerable number of guys who got, maybe it was five votes or three votes. Some guys got over 50 votes, but that was all by the players."
View photos of every move made by the Giants during the 2023 cycle.
Jackson, a seven-year veteran and third-year Giant, said he has not been a captain since he played in college at USC.
"It's humbling, it's a very humbling feeling," Jackson said. "There were a lot of emotions like excited; I was blushing because it was cool to see my peers think of me in such a light to vote me to be a captain. So, it was a really humbling feeling because it was from my peers and then just being in the organization that we're in, a prestigious one at that, it just means a lot."
Jackson is the Giants' second-most experienced defensive back, after nine-year safety Bobby McCain. He has been a mentor to the youngsters in a secondary that includes three 2023 draft choices in Deonte Banks, Tre Hawkins and Gervarrius Owens. Now, he is in a team-wide leadership position.
"Just keep doing what I've been doing, just trying to be there, uplift, keep a smile on my face, bring others up, try to have them smiling," Jackson said. "We go out there and compete every day and I think that's what it's about, competing and doing your job and you're just trying to bring others along with you. They always say just do your job or do what got you here or just keep doing you. You don't need to be superman, just be you and that'll take you a long way."
Waller and Okereke are the first new Giants to be elected captain since special teamer Nate Ebner in 2020.
"I think the players respect them and they have gone about their job the right way and performed out on the field," Daboll said, "whether it be in practice or in some of the games and players that voted for them certainly have respect for them."
Waller was a captain with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2021, his fourth season with the team. Becoming one as a newcomer is a special honor.
"It means a lot," he said. "It's something you don't take for granted. I don't come in to try to earn a 'C' on my jersey. I just come in to try to impact guys in a positive way because I know I'm somebody that's been in the league longer than a lot of guys in the locker room have. They may look at me to see, 'How's he been able to sustain through good times and through bad?' I try to set an example like that, and it manifested into being a captain. I'm going to continue to try to do the same things that I've been doing as far as uplifting guys and just being a positive example."
As will Okereke, who joined the Giants this year after four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. He was a captain in his senior season at Stanford. But he is particularly proud to be cited by his new teammates.
"I think, honestly, that's one of the biggest honors that you can get as a player on a team, to be voted by your peers, voted by your teammates as a captain," Okereke said. "Something I don't take lightly at all. I just think we've got a great group of men in this locker room; we've got great leadership all around and I'm just happy to add to that and do whatever I can to help this team win."
View photos of the New York Giants' 2023 roster as it currently stands.