NFL Draft 2012: 5 Kinds of Players the New York Giants Should Be Looking for
The Super Bowl Champions New York Giants have many issues that need to be addressed.
They have a failing offensive line, a bevy of injuries at the tight end position, a flock of young linebackers and a handful of free agents to re-sign.
The 2012 NFL Draft will provide the G-Men with an opportunity to add depth to numerous positions and to negate the loss of certain players due to free agency.
New York has done well in the draft of late, drafting Hakeem Nicks and Jason Pierre-Paul in the first round the past two years.
If the Giants have another impressive draft, they'll have little to worry about heading into the 2012 season.
Here are five types of players the Giants should look for.
A Playmaking Tight End
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As I stated in a previous article, the New York Giants need to obtain a tight end in the offseason.
Travis Beckum and Jake Ballard both exited Super Bowl XLVI with torn ACLs, and are expected to begin the 2012 season on the PUP list.
Even so, the Giants' three tight ends in Beckum, Ballard and Bear Pascoe combined for only five of Eli Manning's 29 touchdown passes in 2011.
New York's three tight ends also played a limited part in their Super Bowl run, combining for just 127 yards and one touchdown in four postseason games.
Pascoe is a restricted free agent and isn't guaranteed to be back in New York again in 2012.
With Clemson's Dwayne Allen being an option in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Giants should look towards the 6'4", 255-pound tight end.
If Allen is unavailable, Stanford's Coby Fleener and Georgia's Orson Charles are also options at TE for New York.
A Physical Linebacker
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Vontaze Burfict immediately comes to mind when thinking about a physical linebacker.
The 6'3", 250-pound LB out of Arizona State had a down season in 2011.
Though it never hurts when a "down season" culminates into 69 tackles, five sacks and an interception.
2010 was his best season, when he recorded 90 tackles and forced two fumbles.
The Giants need to fill some gaps at the LB position, as they featured four rookie LBs in 2011 and lost Clint Sintim and Jonathan Goff for the entire season.
Putting Burfict alongside Michael Boley and Chase Blackburn (if the Giants re-sign him) would certainly bolster the Giants' linebacking corp.
If the Giants can't snag Burfict, Boston College's Luke Kuechly or Nebraska's Lavonte David could help at linebacker.
A Bruising Running Back
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New York may need to add a running back this offseason, as the status of Brandon Jacobs being a member of the Giants next season is extremely questionable.
Since they already have speedy backs in Ahmad Bradshaw and Da'Rel Scott, the G-Men should be looking for a bigger back to fill Jacobs' shoes if he does indeed play elsewhere.
While it's hard to replicate Jacobs' size (6'4", 264 lbs), there are a few bruisers in the draft who can help the Giants in the rushing department.
Washington RB Chris Polk can power through defenders at 224 pounds and can surely help the G-Men.
The same can be said for ACC Player of the Year David Wilson out of Virginia Tech, who, at 222 pounds, averaged 5.9 YPC and was effective out of the backfield in the passing game.
For a late-round find, USC's 230-pounder Mark Tyler comes to mind.
A Solid Offensive Lineman
The left side of the Giants' offensive line must be addressed.
Although it improved in the later parts of the season, the Giants' O-line as a whole was pretty dismal, especially in the rushing game.
The Giants averaged an NFL-worst 89.2 YPG in 2011, opposed to 137.5 in 2010.
David Diehl has proved that he can no longer handle his blocking assignments, which will force the Giants to draft an offensive lineman.
6'7" 295-pound Matt McCants out of UAB would be a great addition to protect Eli Manning and open up some holes for the running backs.
He was an All-Conference USA first-team member in 2011 and started in 11 of 12 games for the Blazers.
At this point, most offensive linemen in the draft will be an upgrade to a depleted Giants' line.
A Hard-Nosed Safety with Good Hands
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The Giants could use help in the secondary, and more importantly at the safety position.
If the Giants re-sign Terrell Thomas it will negate the loss of Aaron Ross if Ross leaves via free agency.
Giants' safety Deon Grant is among many free agents the Giants must address.
But even if Grant re-signs, the Giants can upgrade their safety positions.
And to do that, they ideally would look towards either of the Alabama safeties in Mark Barron or Robert Lester, although they likely will be taken since the safety position isn't a main concern for New York.
If they do decide to draft a safety, it will be in the later rounds.
In that case, the G-Men can look at a guy like Wisconsin's Aaron Henry or Illinois' Tavon Wilson
Honorable Mention- a Solid Receiver and Punt-Returner
Jordan White, WR
This Western Michigan product led the nation in receptions and yards, and has some punt-returning skills.
The Giants can definitely use a punt-returner, and if Mario Manningham leaves via free agency, White would be a perfect replacement.