Quarterback Eli Manning’s retirement leaves huge leadership shoes to fill. Today, we project the New York Giants’ captains for 2020.
When Big Blue reports for their spring activities and then training camp, fans will witness a New York Giants team that doesn’t include Eli Manning. It’ll mark the first Manning-less Giants squad since 2003.
By winning two Super Bowls, Manning established himself as arguably the greatest quarterback in the history of the franchise. He also personified what it takes to be a leader both on and off the field. This is why, for the previous 13 seasons, Manning was one of the team’s captains.
His retirement leaves big shoes to fill and the Giants will definitely need their captains to step up in Manning’s absence next season. But who will that list include?
We have over six months to go before head coach Joe Judge makes his picks and there will certainly be roster changes from now until the season starts. Nonetheless, here’s our early prediction on who will wear that “C” patch.
Daniel Jones (Offense)
Some may feel it’s too soon for Daniel Jones to be named one of the team’s captains since he’s yet to play a full 16-game season. But providing him with that honor would be a ringing endorsement that the franchise firmly believes in him. It would also solidify his readiness to lead the team both on and off the field.
Saquon Barkley (Offense)
This is a no brainer. Saquon Barkley is arguably the team’s best player and shows the maturity of a 10-year veteran. Barkley has stated numerous times that he’s not into personal stats and only possesses the desire to lead his team to victories. That’s the type of mentality you want in a captain.
Sterling Shepard (Offense)
With Manning’s retirement and Zak DeOssie’s future up in the air, Sterling Shepard could end up being the longest-tenured Giant in 2020.
Shepard missed six games last year due to concussions but still led the team in receptions with 57. Last offseason, the Giants showed their faith in the receiver by giving him a four-year extension. They should portray that faith even more by awarding Shepard with that “C” on his uniform.
Dalvin Tomlinson (Defense)
Although the Giants defense has struggled mightily over the past few seasons, Dalvin Tomlinson has been a bright spot in his trio of campaigns.
The stat-line doesn’t always show how productive Tomlinson is playing, being that he’s often double-teamed. But he’s never missed a game in three seasons and recorded a career-high 3.5 sacks in 2019.
Jabrill Peppers (Defense)
There have been speculations that the Giants may part ways with one of their 2019 captains in Antoine Bethea. If that were to happen, they don’t need to look any further than Jabrill Peppers.
Despite missing the last five games of 2019 due to a transverse process fracture, Peppers finished fourth on the team in tackles with 76.
His second season with the Giants should be even better.
Michael Thomas (Special Teams)
This one is pending since that the Giants have yet to ink Michael Thomas to a new deal. But knowing the emphasis Judge puts on special teams, you’d think he’d want one of the ball club’s best players in that category back in 2020.
Thomas is also a key contributor to the Giants defense as he’s able to play both safety positions. In addition, he was the team’s nomination for the 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
All in all, Thomas is a solid player and an overall mentor to this organization.