Biggest Needs Giants Still Must Address After 2013 NFL Draft
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General manager Jerry Reese once again has succeeded in drafting the best player available on New York's draft board while improving positions lacking depth.
An aging Giants' offensive line was a growing concern heading into April's draft. That issue was laid to rest for the foreseeable future with the addition of Syracuse's versatile lineman Justin Pugh.
Reese also continued his quest to improve the interior of the defense by adding defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins from Ohio State.
Lastly, any lingering questions about New York's commitment to improving their play in the trenches were put to rest when Damontre Moore was drafted. Moore and his 26.5 career sacks could signify he is the next great pass-rusher to wear a New York Giants uniform.
Along with these picks, the Giants were able to solidify their backfield, and they grabbed a young quarterback, Syracuse's Ryan Nassib, to groom behind Eli Manning.
Even after filling a handful of needs in the draft, the Giants still must add depth at two key positions this offseason. Here is a look at what areas the Giants still must address.
New York's linebackers were burned often in 2012.
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New York's lack of interest in drafting a single linebacker was somewhat puzzling.
With that said, when was the last time the Giants did anything predictable during a draft?
The key players to watch when examining New York's linebacking corps are Dan Connor, Mark Herzlich, Keith Rivers, Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger.
Connor and Herzlich are insufferably slow. Presumably, the hope is that Connor's skills at diagnosing plays will offset his deficiencies against the pass. Unfortunately for Giants fans, the days of ground and pound football are over, thus making players like Connor less valuable.
Keith Rivers and Jacquian Williams each have battled their fair share of injuries.
If either of these players can stay healthy, their physical tools will be an asset for Perry Fewell's defense. Of course, talking about health in early May never is a ringing endorsement for optimism.
The last viable option currently on New York's roster is Paysinger. This special teams star has not been able to gain any consistent playing time on defense during his career with the Giants. It's difficult to imagine that will change in 2013.
Fewell mitigates the bleak play of the linebacking corps somewhat by his use of three safeties, including Will Hill or Ryan Mundy. While deploying this formation may relieve the burden of New York's struggling linebackers, the Giants could still be in the market for a veteran linebacker this spring.
Karlos Dansby and Nick Barnett are two players who potentially could be on New York's radar. These veterans combined for 246 tackles in 2012. While it's hard to imagine general manager Jerry Reese scoring both Dansby and Barnett, any sort of help on New York's second level will be welcomed.
There are a handful of intriguing options Reese can explore in free agency. Talent is readily available at both outside and inside linebacker at what should be reasonable asking prices. Expect the Giants to entertain the idea of adding veteran talent to these positions as camp approaches.
Part of New York's success hinges on Corey Webster's ability to bounce back.
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Perhaps too much has been made of the struggles endured by New York's secondary in 2012. While the Giants' linebacking unit is barren talent-wise, their cornerbacks are a solid blend of youth and experience.
The main concern for this secondary heading into next season is whether Corey Webster can rebound from a difficult end to the 2012 campaign. Webster has experienced slumps in the past and has responded well. For some reason, there is an overwhelming sentiment he will not be able to turn things around at this point in his career.
As Giants fans keep a close eye on their former top cornerback, expectations will be high for the young man expected to take the reins. Prince Amukamara will be asked to defend No. 1 receivers on a weekly basis next season. He certainly has the tools to succeed in this new role.
Amukamara has shown flashes of why the Giants selected him in the first round of the 2011 draft. If his output is consistent this fall, the Giants secondary will be vastly improved.
As Webster and Amukamara take on new roles, Aaron Ross and Jayron Hosley will be competing for sub-package duties. Each of these players will play an important part in the secondary considering the need for at least four playable cornerbacks in a pass-happy NFL.
New York can still consider this an area of need following the draft. The question marks surrounding the depth chart at cornerback are undoubtedly a concern. Ultimately, Jerry Reese may be in wait-and-see mode with an expectation that his secondary will play with a renewed focus in 2013.