The New York Giants may have won Super Bowl XLVI, but with their amount of injuries and glaring holes on both offense and defense, the team finished just 9-7 in the regular season and almost didn't reach the postseason.
The Giants have work do to this season and there are key areas that will need to be addressed.
Free agency is an uncertainty and we don't know who the Giants will be able to sign/re-sign in that time period.
While keeping those uncertainties in mind, here's a round-by-round analysis of how the Giants can address those needs, and who would make a good fit.
This is their most pressing need.
As great as Eli Manning was both in the regular season and in the playoffs, he was also prone to getting sacked, including 11 times in the postseason alone.
If the team wants Eli to continue being an effective quarterback, they need to prevent him from getting hit so often. Thus, an offensive tackle is sorely needed.
However, as the 32nd pick, their top choice may be be a bit limited.
Mike Adams from Ohio State could be a possibility, but after his poor showing at the NFL Combine, I'm not sure he would be a great pick.
Instead, they could go with two options:
1.) Trade up for Jonathan Martin from Stanford.
It's a bit of risk and would cost them a bit, in terms of picks (and possibly players), but if they're looking for a high-quality tackle without going at the very top of the board, Martin would be their best bet.
He's got both the size and the quickness to cover a relatively wide range against bull rushers and inside blitzes. He also possesses a strong work ethic and high IQ, which is always nice to have.
The only problem his strength is average when it comes to moving defenders into the trenches, so if they do somehow draft him, it will need to be addressed in camp.
2.) Take a chance on the 32nd pick/wait in the second round and pick Zebrie Sanders from Florida State.
Though CBS Sports has him projected in the middle of the second round, Sanders is talented in his own right.
Unlike Martin, Sanders has played at both left and right tackle positions, so he can be used to replace Kareem McKenzie or Will Beatty, provided he does well in training camp.
He had the fifth-best grade of all tackles at the NFL Combine (85.0) and has showcased a little bit of everything in his collegiate career: speed, strength, intelligence, etc.
He has also been very durable, playing in every game during his three years with the Seminoles.
I'm more in favor of the latter, because they can get a quality player without having to give much in return.
If it weren't for the fact that two of their tight ends, Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum, both suffered torn ACL's during Super Bowl XLVI, there might not even be a need to pick a tight end in the draft.
But, seeing as how uncertain both of their returns are, and the only healthy tight end left is Bear Pascoe, a tight end is sorely needed for the upcoming season.
Enter Orson Charles from Georgia.
The only junior tight end entering this year's draft, Charles may not have the size other tight ends have (he's 6'2"), but he does possess the strength to block, and the speed and hands to use as a receiving option.
In a league that's focusing on having tight ends used as receiving options (see Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, etc.), Orson Charles would fit just fine.
A position plagued with injuries throughout the regular season, a decent defensive tackle is just what the Giants need to improve their pass rush rush while adding some power, as well.
Alameda Ta'amu from Washington would be an interesting pick to go with.
Though he's more suited for a 3-4 defense (whereas the Giants play a 4-3 defense), his huge 348-pound frame would be perfect for clogging up lanes against opposing running backs.
His presence would require opposing offensive linemen to double-team him—opening up a seam for a teammate to get to the quarterback.
Ta'amu has plenty of strength and overall athleticism, but, with all that weight, he lacks agility. Thus, his true effectiveness at the position is used as a run-stopper.
Another choice would be Kheeston Randall from Texas.
He's a much leaner player, and doesn't possess the the strength that Ta'amu has. However, he's much quicker when it comes to taking down runners.
He was also perceived by teammates, according to Chad Reuter, as a leader both in the locker room and on the field, and has shown great character.
Like Ta'amu, though, he hasn't delivered a lot of pressure against opposing quarterbacks
I can't see impending free agent Brandon Jacobs sticking with the Giants, so the team is going to need a power back to complement Ahmad Bradshaw.
I like Robert Turbin from Utah State, and he should fall somewhere in this round.
Though he's a big back (at 222 pounds), he has shown great speed and acceleration for a player his size.
Last season, he came back from an ACL injury he suffered in 2010, rushed for 1,517 yards and 19 touchdowns, while being an integral part of getting the Aggies in their first bowl game since 1997.
Obviously, durability will be a concern, and he does lack straightforward speed.
However, he is a patient runner that can have quick bursts of speed when going through the hole. He has done a good job as a pass blocker and receiver, meaning he can be used on multiple downs and in a variety of plays.
I'm not a big fan of Michael Boley.
Ever since he left the Atlanta Falcons, and signed with the Giants in 2009, he hasn't been a big contributor for the Giants.
Drafting an outside linebacker to serve as competition might motivate him to perform at a much higher level in 2012.
If that doesn't work, at least you have a new linebacker to use.
In the fifth round, I like Emmanuel Acho from Texas. He'd be a good fit in the Giants' 4-3 defense.
Thought not much of a pass rusher, when used, he does a good job applying pressuring and wrapping the quarterback up in the backfield. He's also a good at deflecting passes, especially against opposing slot receivers.
If he can continue to do that at the pro level, he'll give the secondary some relief and allow them to focus on the deep-threat receivers. He also possesses high intelligence and a good work ethic.
The problem with Acho is when during rushing plays, he tries avoiding opposing lineman to make plays, but this can also create open lanes for backs to run.
It will definitely be something that needs to be addressed in camp, should they pick him.
An interesting side note, his older brother, Sam, also played linebacker for the Longhorns. He was drafted last year in the fourth round by the Arizona Cardinals.
The sixth and seventh rounds are a toss-up between a wide receiver and another offensive linemen (because, personally, you can never have enough).
However, I think wide receive Gerell Robinson from Arizona State would make for a good sixth-round pick.
He's big (standing at 6'3"), and his size should help when it comes to catching balls thrown over his head and/or in opposing coverage. He's also tough to bring down, which makes him useful in short-pass and red-zone situations.
However, he has inconsistent hands and has taken stupid penalties in his tenure with the Sun Devils.
He'll need to improve in both areas to have any long-term success in the NFL. Since he's a sixth-round pick, though, he's expendable if things don't work out.
You can never have enough offensive linemen, and considering the injuries to the Giants' offensive line in the past few years, having a good backup would be nice to have.
There are a number of choices they could make, but I'm going with Grant Garner, a center from Oklahoma State.
Playing with one of the top offenses in college football last year, he possessed both a quick snap to the quarterback, and quick feet. He also can cover a decent range against opposing defenders.
However, he lacks blocking strength and any real pop when making contact—an area he'll need to improve if he wants to succeed.
He won't be much more than a backup to David Baas, but it's always good to have some depth.