Let's take another opportunity to reflect on the New York Giants' disappointing 2012 season by grading each of the team's key contributors on defense.
Eli Manning: B-
Mr. Fourth Quarter wasn't his usual clutch self in 2012. He lacked accuracy and consistency and he just seemed exhausted. Manning didn't get a lot of help from his receivers, but his line and his running game were both better in 2012 than they were in 2011.
Ahmad Bradshaw: B-
Bradshaw might never be able to make it through a full season healthy again, but at least he was pretty damn productive when he was on the field in 2012. He missed a pair of games and was limited in a few others, but his yards-per-carry average shot up from 3.9 to 4.6.
David Wilson: B-
Wilson needs to improve his blocking before he can take over as a lead back, but at least the rookie speedster found a groove as a playmaking presence during the second half of the 2012 season. He had 247 yards on 5.8 yards per carry during the final four games of the year, adding four touchdowns (one on a kick return).
Andre Brown: C
Brown busted out with 130 yards from scrimmage on 23 touches against Carolina in Week 3, but he faded after that and went down with a season-ending broken fibula in Week 12. Quality backup, nothing more.
Henry Hynoski: A
A consistent, tough blocker who rarely screws up. This guy is Tom Coughlin's ideal employee.
Victor Cruz: B+
Dropped passes were a factor for Cruz, whose numbers declined quite a bit in his first full season after breaking out in 2011. I can't hate on a guy who still caught 86 passes for 1,092 yards and scored 10 times.
Rueben Randle: B-
The 2012 second-round pick faded in and out over the course of the year before finishing strong with five catches, 101 yards and two touchdowns in the final two weeks. It looks as though the Giants have found their new No. 3 wide receiver.
Domenik Hixon: B-
Like Randle, Hixon also finished strong. The oft-injured veteran actually saw December football this year, delivering with 187 yards on 13 catches during the final four games of 2012.
Hakeem Nicks: C
That broken foot Nicks suffered back in organized team activities cost Nicks in a big way in 2012. He lost much of his offseason and was never able to get back on track while less than 100 percent. As a result, it was by far the worst season of Nicks' four-year career.
Ramses Barden: C-
Barden also broke out with 138 yards and nine catches in that Carolina game. At that point, he had emerged as the favorite to become the No. 3 wideout. Unfortunately, though, the 27-year-old former third-round pick had just five catches for 82 yards the rest of the year.
After toiling for four years in Dallas, Bennett finally came close to living up to old hype in his first season with the Giants, posting career highs in receptions, yardage and touchdowns. He was also one of the team's most consistent blockers on pass and run plays.
Will Beatty: A-
Beatty broke out to finally solve the team's tackle problem in 2012, drawing the 11th-best overall offensive tackle rating from Pro Football Focus and ranking second in the league among left tackles in terms of run-blocking. He gave up just three sacks on over 900 snaps.
Chris Snee: B+
Snee is no longer the player he used to be, but he still made the Pro Bowl after putting together a steady, consistent campaign. The 31-year-old is still much better than your average right guard.
Kevin Boothe: C+
You'd rather Boothe be a backup, but he's still an above-average run-blocker who rarely makes big mistakes and doesn't take a lot of penalties. Can't complain.
Sean Locklear: C+
He didn't give up a single sack on 656 snaps. The veteran took a few too many penalties and struggled to open up holes (something you need from your right tackle), but at least he was a fairly reliable replacement for David Diehl.
David Baas: C+
Baas took a step forward in 2012 after really struggling in his first year with the Giants. He certainly doesn't dominate inside and he's rocked a little too often in pass protection, but the 31-year-old is integral to the running game.
David Diehl: D+
Diehl wasn't close to as bad as he was last year, but still wasn't good enough to be a reliable starter. In 13 games, he surrendered too much pressure and failed to produce in the running game. He'll turn 33 early next season, and I don't think he has a lot left in the tank.
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