Which New York Giants Are Affected Most by Jason Pierre-Paul's Absence?
The fallout from Jason Pierre-Paul's injury will have a widespread impact on the New York Giants defense over the next three months.
He's the team's best defensive player, and he will reportedly be sidelined until September after undergoing back surgery, per ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul is undergoing back surgery this morning in LA with Dr. Watkins. Belief is he should be ready for September.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 4, 2013
With JPP out, some unproven G-Men defenders will find themselves in a prime position to make a push up the depth chart, while established veterans will be forced to boost their production.
Here's a list of the Giants affected most by Pierre-Paul's absence.
(Note: Ranked in terms of importance.)
7. Matt Broha and Justin Trattou
Matt Broha and Justin Trattou are fringe roster players who could find themselves on the practice squad for most of the 2013 season.
However, with JPP sidelined through training camp and likely the entire preseason, one of these defensive line reinforcements has a chance to make the 53-man roster and potentially earn some situational snaps during the regular season.
Trattou did appear in six games as a rookie in 2011 and had an assisted tackle.
The two will be among the final defensive rotations in training camp and the preseason, but at least there will be one less body ahead of them on the depth chart over the next three months.
6. Adrian Tracy
Adrian Tracy was a sixth-round pick by the Giants in the 2010 draft.
He didn't play until 2012, but he appeared in all 16 games last season for New York and registered 12 total tackles and one sack.
At 6'2'' and 245 pounds, the William & Mary alum is a bit undersized for the defensive end position. However, if he can generate some pressure off the edge, he could morph into a key contributor in Perry Fewell's 4-3 alignment that's reliant on the defensive line creating pressure without a variety of blitzes.
5. Defensive Tackle Rotation
Pierre-Paul is easily one of the most vaunted edge-rushers in football, so without him, the Giants' defensive tackle rotation will have a more difficult time applying interior pressure.
Cullen Jenkins, who was added in free agency, joins veterans Linval Joseph, Shaun Rogers, Marvin Austin and mammoth space-eater Johnathan Hankins, who was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft.
There will be an intriguing competition at the defensive tackle position, and the winners will have to show an ability to disrupt the middle of the opposition's offensive line, which won't have to worry about JPP.
4. Adewale Ojomo
Adewale Ojomo, who went undrafted last year out of the University of Miami, played in only one game in 2012. He now has a prime opportunity to win one of the backup defensive end positions.
At 6'4'' and a rocked-up 270 pounds, he has the physique to set the edge and get after the passer.
Although Damontre Moore's high draft position will probably make him an early favorite to fill in if JPP misses considerable time, Ojomo will battle for a starting spot for the time being. With sound play during the summer months, he could be a primary depth guy in 2013.
3. Damontre Moore
Damontre Moore's relatively poor workout numbers and slower initial burst contributed to his fall into the third round of the 2013 draft.
He registered 21 sacks in his last two years at Texas A&M—12.5 of which came in 2012.
Though he won't fly off the edge and beat many offensive tackles on a speed rush, he has deceptive power, is sturdy against the run and has a high motor—all attributes that could lead to him earning the starting right defensive spot while Pierre-Paul is nursed back to full health.
The Giants do shuffle their defensive line often, but with a strong showing in training camp and the preseason, Moore could move into a rather prominent role as a rookie.
2. Mathias Kiwanuka
Pierre-Paul can and has played everywhere along the Giants' defensive line in his first three seasons, but Mathias Kiwanuka is New York's most versatile defender.
He's lined up as a traditional outside linebacker, but his pass-rushing talents and size—6'5'', 267—allow defensive coordinator Perry Fewell to be totally comfortable kicking him onto the defensive line to get after the quarterback.
Without JPP, the 2006 first-round pick will see much more time with his hand in the dirt on the edge in July and August.
1. Justin Tuck
After 10 sacks in 2007, 12 sacks in 2008 and 10.5 sacks in 2010, the Notre Dame product has a total of nine sacks over the last two seasons.
He's also missed four games since 2011, which hasn't helped his production.
Regardless of what he's done in the past, the 30-year-old veteran, who's entering his ninth professional season, must be more of an intimidating force on the edge—especially if Pierre-Paul isn't exactly 100 percent when the regular season begins.