COMMENTARY | We all know how important Eli Manning is to the success of the New York Giants. Ditto for the likes of wide receiver Victor Cruz and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. However, football is a team game, more than any other sport, and there are unheralded players on Big Blue.
Here's a look at five Giants you hardly ever hear or read about, but they'll play key roles on the team this year:
LT Will Beatty -- The competition this offseason between veteran David Diehl and rookie Justin Pugh at right tackle garnered tons of attention, but Beatty had and has the left side locked down. The fifth-year pro is the anchor of the offensive line and has the important job of protecting Eli Manning's blindside. It's no wonder the Giants signed the unsung lineman to five-year contract this offseason.
PR/WR Jerrel Jernigan -- Jernigan is entering a make-or-break season, but it seems like's he's already become an afterthought. Granted, the team's 2011 third-round pick hasn't made an impact through his first two pro seasons, but the speedy return man could play a key role on special teams this year. The Giants had a league-worst 144 punt return yards last season.
LB Jacquian Williams -- Williams, who missed six games with a knee injury in 2012, has been flying under the radar, but he'll be key to the maligned linebackers unit. Fellow linebackers Spencer Paysinger, Keith Rivers and Mark Herzlich are listed as starters, but Williams has the speed and range to make a difference against the run and pass. Remember, he recorded 78 tackles two seasons ago.
FB/TE Bear Pascoe -- Pascoe is listed as the primary backup at tight end and fullback on the team's first unofficial depth chart, and he could have an impact at both positions. Pascoe rarely shows up in the box score (he has 26 career catches), but his toughness and blocking skills are invaluable. He could pave the way for big seasons from headline-making running backs David Wilson and Andre Brown.
K Josh Brown -- Brown has replaced fan-favorite Lawrence Tynes, who will forever be remembered for kicking the Giants to a pair of Super Bowls. Ironically, Brown and Tynes have nearly identical career field-goal percentages (81.3 and 81.5, respectively), but will Brown make the clutch kicks this season? Last year, Brown connected on 11 of 12 three-point attempts, four of which came from 40-plus yard out.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer with more than 15 years of experience covering amateur and professional sports for several print and online media outlets. He tracked the New York Giants for Yahoo! Contributor Network during the team's Super Bowl run in 2011-12. Adam can be found on Twitter @Pegcitysports.
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- New York Giants
- Eli Manning
- David Diehl