Rivers, the ninth selection in the 2008 NFL draft, has been underwhelming since being taken by the Bengals, falling short of expectations and often injured. The acquisition of Rivers does potentially address the Giants biggest need this offseason, should Rivers or current Giants linebacker Michael Boley move to the inside linebacker spot.
Regardless of the direction the Super Bowl champions may choose to go there, one thing appears certain: the Giants will not draft a linebacker in this year’s draft.
The Rivers pickup shifts their focus going into the draft at the end of this month and enables them to answer some other questions heading into the 2012 NFL season.
Let’s take a look at how things are shaping up with just a few weeks to go leading up to the draft.
The departure of longtime New York Giants right tackle Kareem McKenzie and the uncertainty surrounding the future of the left tackle position has really put Big Blue in a bind.
Jerry Reese is not the type to address the offensive line in the first round, but he would be a fool to ignore the dramatic regression the Giants offensive line took in 2011.
At 6’7”, 323 pounds, Adams is a physical specimen with raw ability entering the NFL. He has shown great footwork, though he can be a bit heavy on his feet, and utilizes his long arms to ward off rushing defenders.
Adams can immediately fill the right tackle void left by McKenzie in his rookie year and may be a better fit there than on the blindside.
Washington’s Chris Polk lands here for the Giants with spectacular talent at a position of growing need.
Polk is a bruising runner with above-average speed and desired size for a back in the NFL. The 5’11, 215-pound back excels at everything asked of him and could be a contributor from day one.
The Incredible Polk does most of his running outside the edges, but can be successful between the tackles as well. He breaks tackles as well as anyone in this year’s draft class and would do wonders filling a void left by the Giants former bulldozing back—Brandon Jacobs.
With Rocky Bernard and Jimmy Kennedy gone, the New York Giants have some room at the defensive tackle position. They're well known as a team that loves to rotate their defensive lineman, Clemson’s Brandon Thompson would be a substantial addition.
Thompson is a promising, young pass rusher whose talent and intangibles should tickle the fancy of general manager Jerry Reese.
Coupled with any of the Giants’ impressive defensive tackles, Thompson has the capabilities to excel far beyond expectations for a late third-round selection.
A.J. Jenkins is an intriguing talent coming out of an offense that was not so receiver-friendly. Despite that fact, the Illini product showed some potential over the course of his senior campaign and has quietly worked his way up the draft boards this offseason.
With the departure of Mario Manningham, Jenkins has the ability to slide right in at the No. 3 wide receiver spot and could easily become a mainstay at that position, though it's unlikely he'll be much more at the NFL level.
Jenkins runs sharp routes and has home run threat written all over him. He makes some foolish drops, but displays great hands on most plays.
He is well worth the risk of a fourth-round pick after coming off an 84-reception season at Illinois.
The New York Giants offensive line was once one of the biggest strengths on the team. Age and the brutal pounding of life in the NFL has caught up, however, and it is time to start building another strong unit for the future.
Lucas Nix is a solid run-blocking prospect from Pittsburgh that could take over for veteran David Diehl when his time with the Giants has come to pass.
His ability as a pulling guard makes him a favorable selection at this point in the draft and could give a huge boost to a rushing attack that finished dead last this past season.
Winston Guy is one of those players blessed with the size and ability to be a late-round steal in the 2012 NFL draft.
Guy was highly productive during his collegiate career at Kentucky, tallying 226 tackles in his final two years. He proved to be good in coverage at the safety position, picking off five passes during that span as well.
Guy also excels against the run and can give invaluable support on the edge.
The departure of veteran Deon Grant could open the door for someone with the sure-tackling Guy’s potential to become a major contributor in defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s three-safety sets.
The New York Giants ensured a lot of depth in the secondary this offseason, but it could never hurt to have more. That becomes especially true when considering the player former Oregon star Cliff Harris could be.
Boasting a collegiate career marred by poor decision-making and a subsequent dismissal from the University of Oregon football team, Harris is a disappointing prospect.
In truth, Harris is one of the best cornerbacks coming out of college. His 2010 campaign is enough to warrant the argument that Harris could have been a first-day prospect had he not tarnished his own opportunities.
The former Duck starred at Oregon during his sophomore season, keeping opposing receivers on lock down while tallying 33 tackles, six interceptions and a nation-leading 23 passes defended. His ability as a punt returner is an added bonus.
Harris will need to prove he is a deserving commodity, of course. But with a seventh-round pick, you cannot go wrong taking a chance on a player of his caliber.