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For years, the New York Giants have made a living out of drafting defensive ends who can get after opposing quarterbacks.
The team’s most recent Super Bowl title teams in 2007 (XLII) and 2011 (XLVI) were keyed by pass rushes led by performers such as Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Michael Strahan.
Of course, Tuck is now with the Oakland Raiders, and Strahan is getting ready to be enshrined in Canton in about five weeks. At right defensive end, Pierre-Paul looks to rebound from a pair of subpar and injury-plagued seasons.
But what about the other defensive end spot? The Giants used a third-round pick in 2013 on Damontre Moore, who played in 15 games this past season but was more of a factor on special teams than on defense, where he totaled just 11 tackles and zero sacks.
That figures to change in 2014, although the team did sign free-agent Robert Ayers from the Denver Broncos this offseason.
Still, the Giants want to see more…of Moore, who has definitely caught the eye of defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. “I think preseason games will be the measuring stick,” said Fewell recently to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. “We think he’s made a lot of progress from where he was a year ago. He’s grown a lot, and if he takes that next step in the next month on his own, progressing even more, then when he comes back in the fall we’ll have another measuring stick of where we need to go with him.”
The 2011 Giants totaled 48 sacks on their way to a Super Bowl title. That figure dropped to 33 sacks a year later while this past season’s club got to opposing quarterbacks 34 times.
Is the 6’5”, 250-pound defender ready to assume a regular spot in the lineup? Tom Coughlin and Co. are certainly hoping so, and they need the second-year pro to step up in a big way.