Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Florida State's Christian Jones can be a difference-maker at linebacker.
The focus this offseason has been on New York's offense, which ranked 28th in the league last season, per ESPN.com.
While New York's defense was the more solid of the two major platoons last season, that's not to say there's no room for it to improve. This was illustrated by the signings of defensive backs Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond and Quintin Demps earlier this offseason.
So where do the Giants need the most help on defense?
The position that always creeps into the conversation at this time of year is linebacker, but 2013 is a little different. Sure, the Giants could use a young, promising linebacker, but he might not find the field as a rookie. Middle linebacker Jon Beason was an instant hit in New York last season, and former Baltimore Raven Jameel McClain looks to make an impact beside him next season. To earn playing time, the rookie would have to beat out both Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams, who have devoted the past three seasons to carving out roles in Big Blue's defense.
On the line, things are a bit less certain.
The loss of longtime Giant and defensive captain Justin Tuck leaves a gaping hole at defensive end. Mathias Kiwanuka appears to be in decline, Jason Pierre-Paul has struggled with injuries and second-year man Damontre Moore had his work ethic called into question by none other than Tuck, according to a tweet by Steve Serby of The New York Post. That leaves just newly signed Robert Ayers, a former first-round bust with the Denver Broncos, to hold things together at D-end.
In the interior, Cullen Jenkins is proven, but he's also on the wrong side of 30. Recent draft picks Johnathan Hankins (2013, Round 2) and Markus Kuhn (2012, Round 7) have flashed potential despite little production. If neither of them catches on, the Giants will be forced to shove Mike Patterson, a serviceable reserve, into a starting role.
Even the defensive backfield is no longer a sure thing with Will Hill in trouble again and 2013 fifth-rounder Cooper Taylor the only other safety on the roster signed through 2015.
My favorite prospects at each position:
End: Scott Crichton of Oregon State is a powerful guy that can develop into a strong D-end, but he will need some polishing.
Tackle: Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh will make plays in the backfield and is absolutely worth the 12th overall selection, if New York opts against O-line.
Linebacker: Christian Jones of Florida State has the versatility to fit into several roles.
Cornerback: Stanley Jean-Baptiste of Nebraska fits the mold for the highly desirable big corner at 6'3", 218 pounds and is likely to be available as a mid-round selection.
Safety: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama should be considered in the first round, as the league places a premium on top-shelf defensive backs to shut down monster tight ends.
Kevin is a New York Giants Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter here.