Giant five: Top leaders

January, 21, 2013
1/21/13
11:18
AM ET
This week we are rolling out some Giants top five lists.

So in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Inauguration Day, the first list of the week will focus on the Giants' five most important leaders on the roster with an eye toward the 2013 season.

These five Giants make this list because of their stature on the team, how vital their success on the field is to the Giants and how important their leadership skills are. These are five guys Tom Coughlin can use to lead in the locker room and on the field.

1. QB Eli Manning: He isn't the most vocal of this bunch. In fact, he might be the quietest of them all. But because this team follows his lead and the Giants go as far as he can take them, Manning is at the top of this list.

[+] EnlargeAntrel Rolle
Debby Wong/USA TODAY SportsAntrel Rolle is the most outspoken of the Giants' leaders.
In the rare moments that he does choose to talk, he commands the team's undivided attention. But really more than anything, Manning leads by example with his steady demeanor. If the Giants are going to be Super Bowl contenders in 2013, Manning has to lead the way and play like the elite quarterback that he was in 2011.

2. S Antrel Rolle: Rolle has emerged as one of the most important leaders on the team. The safety usually rings the alarm when the Giants need a wake-up call. When the Giants aren't showing enough fire or not enough "dog," the safety will let his teammates and the media know.

Rolle often spits out the hard truth when things are going bad and his criticism is often welcomed by teammates, who usually agree with what he has to say. On a team that often needs somebody to be vocal, hold nothing back and hold teammates accountable, Rolle might be the best to play that particular role.

3. DE Justin Tuck: The team's defensive captain rallies his unit on the field before every game and typically knows the pulse of the team. He is capable of delivering stirring halftime speeches to spark his team, like he did in a win over Jacksonville during the 2010 season. He prefers, however, to lead by example.

But Tuck hasn't played up to the level he is accustomed to recently. The Giants need a bounce-back season from Tuck, who is entering the final year of his contract.

4. DE Jason Pierre-Paul: The team's best young player was more comfortable this past season in voicing his opinion at times and telling it like it is. Like Rolle, he can be frank and straight to the point when the Giants are struggling.

Considering his stature on the team and his importance to the success of the Giants -- and with Osi Umenyiora potentially moving on -- it's time for JPP to grow more as a leader as well. He showed signs of doing that last season. GM Jerry Reese wants JPP to talk with Michael Strahan this offseason to learn how to deal better with double teams, but he certainly wouldn't mind Strahan sharing some leadership tips as well.

5. RB Ahmad Bradshaw: Bradshaw is another who leads by example. His strong, violent runs can often spark the team. He also rallies the team on the field with stirring pregame talks and his emotions can be good for the team. Sometimes he might take it a little too far, like he did during a game this season when he slapped Victor Cruz on the helmet too hard and exchanged some words with Coughlin on the sideline at one point.

But Bradshaw is the toughest Giant on the roster and can be the heart of the team. He would be higher on this list except for the fact that injuries have plagued him and he was uncertain about his future on the team with David Wilson emerging. Still, Coughlin likes to keep multiple backs and he loves Bradshaw for his toughness and heart.

Honorable mention: LS Zak DeOssie (special teams captain), RG Chris Snee, MLB Chase Blackburn (free agent), DT Chris Canty and LB Michael Boley (future uncertain).

Tell us below which Giants leaders are critical for the team's success in 2013.
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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