5. Jon Beason
Beason was a Godsend for the New York Giants defense in 2013, coming from the Carolina Panthers in a trade to immediately upgrade the middle linebacker position. But a broken foot during the offseason now puts Beason’s status for Week 1 in jeopardy.
Mark Herzlich is an adequate backup, which is why Beason’s injury falls to No. 5 on this list. But Beason replaced Herzlich as the Giants’ starter, so there’s an obvious drop-off in production between the two backers. Beason will play in 2014, and should have a major impact on the revamped Giants D.