After a busier-than-expected run through the free-agency period, the New York Giants will try to address the holes they're still left with in the draft, which is something they're more comfortable doing anyway.
New York has either brought in or is grooming replacements for all of the guys it lost in February and March, but the Giants still won't likely be able to get back to the playoffs and the Super Bowl without a really strong showing at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 26 and 27.
Until that three-day stretch arrives, a lot of chatter and speculation will dominate the discourse surrounding this team, and we'll be right here to keep you up to date on all of it.
4/8/2013: The Giants have begun the process of hosting prospects, as well as visiting potential draftees all around America. Each team can bring in no more than 30 players for visits, and it seems the G-Men still have some entertaining to do.
Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger has been tracking visits per her sources as well as outside media reports, and the resultant list has 19 names on it. Don't get your hopes up, because few of them are hyped. The only clear first-round candidate the Giants have met with thus far, according to the New York Daily News via Vrentas, is Chance Warmack. However, there's only a small chance the former Alabama guard slides to the Giants in the No. 19 hole.
The strange thing about the fact Chance Warmack is the biggest name to visit with the team thus far is that, after re-signing Kevin Boothe at left guard, the G-Men aren't desperately in need of players at that position.
I think the focus of this draft has to be on the defense, which has undergone some major changes and is dealing with quite a few losses at all three levels. So with that in mind, here's my an updated list of prospects that should be on the Giants' radar when they're on the clock with the No. 19 overall selection.
Keep in mind, this will likely change a fair bit.
1. Ziggy Ansah (DE, BYU): The pass-rusher with plenty of upside might not make it out of the top 10, but if he happens to slide, the Giants would be crazy to pass up a potential long-term weapon to complement Jason Pierre-Paul.
2. Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State): Less exciting, but extremely productive and a perfect fit for this Giants team.
3. Xavier Rhodes (CB, Florida State): They have to be thinking about a shutdown corner of the future, even if they used a top pick on Prince Amukamara two years ago.
4. Desmond Trufant (CB, Washington): Ansah will likely be gone, forcing them to settle for Werner. And at cornerback, Rhodes will likely be gone, forcing them to settle for Trufant.
5. Kenny Vaccaro (S, Texas): Vaccaro would be a great value pick here and could be a starter from the get-go, but they already have some viable options at the safety position.
6. Tank Carradine (DE, Florida State): That's right. Three former Seminoles that could wind up with the Giants in Round 1. Carradine is the worst-case scenario due to injury questions.
Round 1 (Pick 19): Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)
Round 2 (Pick 49): Darius Slay (CB, Mississippi State)
Round 3 (Pick 81): Khaseem Greene (LB, Rutgers)
Round 4 (Pick 116): Jordan Mills (OT, Louisiana Tech)
Round 5 (Pick 152): Kevin Reddick (LB, North Carolina)
Round 6 (Pick 187): Josh Evans (S, Florida)
Round 7 (Pick 225): Demontre Hurst (CB, Oklahoma)
Round 7 (Pick 253): Corey Fuller (WR, Virginia Tech)
Eli Manning will always be the face of both of the Giants' Super Bowl victories from this era, but nobody can deny that the G-Men wouldn't have won either championship without being fueled by a lights-out pass rush.
The Giants lost their edge in that department last season, and the entire team suffered greatly as a result. Justin Tuck has just nine sacks since the start of the 2011 season and Osi Umenyiora has exited via free agency, leaving the Giants with major concerns when it comes to their ability to sack opposing quarterbacks.
Even if Tuck rebounds and they use Mathias Kiwanuka more frequently as a pass-rusher, Jason Pierre-Paul needs more support, which is why I think the Giants have to be leaning in this direction in Round 1.
Sure, they're in bad shape at the linebacker position and could use some help in run defense. And yes, they're still lacking a trustworthy right tackle, but this boils down to the importance of the position. Manning has gotten by without a top-flight right tackle for years and the linebacking corps was a concern even before their last Super Bowl victory.
In this division, you've gotta be able to slow down opposing passing games, which is why the Giants have to prioritize defensive ends and cornerbacks before linebackers and safeties.
Manti Te'o's name was connected to the New York Giants well before the draft season arrived. The Giants have been in need of linebacker help for some time and the Notre Dame product is one of the draft's top players at that position.
However, that world-famous fake girlfriend scandal caused Te'o's stock to drop, with poor showings in the national championship game and the Combine certainly not helping his cause. A solid Pro Day helped, though, and now Te'o is being mocked by many as a potential first-round pick again, while others still have him going at various spots in Round 2.
That means the Giants have to be considered a possibility at No. 19, as well as No. 49. They met with Te'o Thursday and appear to be interested.
I've said time and again that drafting a stay-at-home linebacker in Round 1 is usually silly, especially when you have plenty of needs and the linebacker in question is far from being a sure thing. Te'o is small and lacks top-level speed, so I can't imagine they'd go that way in the first round.
But in Round 2, be my guest. This is still a guy, after all, that many expected to be a top-10 pick before everything hit the fan in January. You'd be getting a potential steal with the 49th pick. Te'o would have a chance to make an impact from the get-go in the rotation at linebacker, stealing snaps from Dan Connor and providing an upgrade over Chase Blackburn.
The question now might be whether he'll make it to them in that spot.