This season did not end well for the New York Giants. After a hot 5-0 start against mediocre teams, the Giants have won just three of their last ten games, are eliminated from playoff contention, and are entering a meaningless game with Minnesota on Sunday.
This may be a bit preemptive since the season has not officially ended for Big Blue, but it's all we have right now.
The following is my take on the top three needs General Manager Jerry Reese should address this coming April in the NFL draft. Of course, these needs may also be met in the off season, but I don't think any one player would make the difference, unless it is someone like Champ Bailey (like that'll ever happen).
Which leads me into the first priority for the New York Giants' staff: find a legitimate cover corner to compliment Corey Webster.
I know most of you will disagree with me because of the talent the Giants have drafted at that position the last couple years, but Aaron Ross' hamstring injury and the poor late play of Terrell Thomas in the passing game (he is a pretty good tackler and great in run support) have made me think this is still a need.
Bruce Johnson started the season off overachieving, but played horrible down the stretch. With Ross and Webster out against Carolina, the backups made first year QB Matt Moore look like Peyton Manning.
Since they already have some talent at the CB position and are just looking to solidify the depth in the secondary, I can't justify taking one in the first round. Second round would be ideal, since you can almost always get a steal if you play your cards right.
Crezdon Butler out of Clemson comes to mind. He saw significant playing time all four years at Clemson, and started in every game since he was a sophomore.
The biggest issue with the Giants' secondary this year was nothing they could control, however. When Kenny Philips went down, the Giants were doomed. If you need any indication of what a play-making safety does for a team, just look at the Denver Broncos.
Brian Dawkins came in and transformed that defense from embarrassing to dominant.
Which is my next point. If Kenny Philips cannot come back from his patella femoral arthritis 100 percent, the Giants need to have a backup plan.
Guys like Tennessee's Eric Berry and USC's Taylor Mays look nice, but are not realistic options, since they are most likely first round picks.
Someone who just played very well today in the Rose Bowl for Ohio State is Safety Anderson Russell . He is a big body and is great in run defense, and would be a better backup option than C.C. Brown (who are we kidding, he's gone next year).
Something I would not be surprised to see at all is Jerry Reese going after the guys in the trenches hard this draft. Both lines are getting old in football years and both suffered injuries to some capacity.
I feel like the first round selection is almost certainly going to be an offensive or defensive lineman, and seeing as how the defensive line played so poorly of late, Reese will probably lean in that direction.
How awesome would it be to see Alabama's Terrence Cody dominate Texas in the National Championship game, then end up suiting up in Blue come September.
Cody is the 3rd rated defensive tackle by most respected draft experts, and will almost certainly give the Giants a leg up in the NFC East next year. He is 6'4", 365 lbs (supposedly, most think he's closer to 380)....'nuff said.
If he were to go in another direction and draft an offensive lineman, a guard is the likely pick. Since they took Will Beatty in last year's draft and he seems to be the replacement for Kareem Mackenzie, the Giants will need to solidify the inside with a better guard than Kevin Boothe.
Mike Iupati from Idaho is someone who really impressed me in the Humanitarian bowl against Bowling Green. That is the beauty of Bowl season in College Football; you get to see NFL prospects that you never get to see on a day-to-day basis.
Iupati allowed only five quarterback pressures and 0 sacks as a Senior in 807 snaps. He is the No. 1 OG according to... well... everyone.
Obviously there are other needs that should be addressed come April, but these were fresh on my mind. Jerry Reese has proven himself to be one of the premier drafting GM's—expect nothing less this year.
The 2010 New York Giants have no reason to expect anything less than to win the NFC East, which was the goal coming into this season. As long as everyone comes back healthy, that goal will not change.
P.S. For those of you who read me, I apologize for my recent absence.