2014 NFL draft was one of the best ever, unless you’re the Browns

Conventional wisdom in the NFL says that you need at least three years to properly judge a draft class. Sure, giving out grades right after the fact is always fun. But there’s a lot to be said for waiting to see the players actually take the field before we can truly see if they pan out or not.

Left guard Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg are good starters, but Pugh missed five games with injury and the middle of the line collapsed without him. The right side was a turnstile all year, but the Giants brought back right guard John Jerry and hope that another 2015 draft pick, Bobby Hart, can hold his own at right tackle. They also added free agent signee D.J. Fluker, who can play either right guard or tackle.

With the individual talent up front, there really aren’t many excuses for the line to be as poor as it was last season. A lot of the Giants’ offensive problems can solve themselves if the line just does a better job protecting Manning and opening up holes for Perkins.

With respect to Manning, there’s really not much doubt who the real face of the franchise is here. Odell Beckham Jr. has taken the league by storm since arriving in New York in 2014, and he has a good chance to be this generation’s most iconic athlete. An incredible player and magnetic personality, Beckham is must-see TV.

However, it’s not a one-man show in the Giants’ receiver corps. They have quietly built a strong supporting cast around Beckham. Brandon Marshall was brought in after the New York Jets cut him, and despite some struggles with the Jets’ motley crew of QBs throwing him the ball last year, he can still play at age 33. Sterling Shepard turned in a strong rookie year with eight touchdowns, and with Marshall in town, he can thrive in his more natural slot position. As far as starting receivers go, that’s a pretty good trio of talent the Giants can boast.

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