With the draft only a week away, and with the better part of free agency complete, the draft picture has become pretty clear. For most teams it is evident what holes remain and what is needed to make the roster more complete. The New York Giants are no exception.
Here are the Giants' top five needs entering the NFL Draft:
1. Middle Linebacker
Giants fans have forgotten what a playmaking linebacker looks like. Not since Jesse Armstead have the Giants had a dynamic force in the linebacking core, and with the defensive line not doing their job last year, the linebackers were exposed. Michael Boley can be a very good player when he is healthy, and Clint Sintim was drafted last season to be used as an OLB. That leaves middle linebacker as the obvious spot to upgrade, and conveniently, Antonio Pierce ended last season on the IR and has since been released. It's time for the Giants to add some real talent to the middle of their defense.
Positional Depth Chart: (1) Jonathan Goff, (2) Chase Blackburn
2. Defensive Tackle
Free agent signings Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard did not help to solidify what many thought was already a strength. Barry Cofield is a good young tackle, and Jay Alford could turn into one if he is able to come back healthy from MCL and ACL injuries. The Giants may be able to piece together a solid DT core, but if the right player is available, they could use the upgrade.
Positional Depth Chart: (1) Barry Cofield, (2) Chris Canty, (3) Jay Alford, (4) Rocky Bernard
The addition of Antrel Rolle fills a significant hole in the Giants’ defensive backfield, but question marks remain. Kenny Phillips is one of the top young safety talents in the league, but a serious knee injury has his future in doubt. Michael Johnson is a fine No. 3 safety, but he shouldn't be starting. When Phillips went down, the Giants’ carousel of replacements were exposed, and the pass defense was repugnant. With his future in doubt, the Giants should look to add another safety to the mix.
Positional Depth Chart: (1) Kenny Phillips, (2) Antrel Rolle, (3) Michael Johnson, (4) Deon Grant.
4. Offensive Tackle
Right tackle Kareem McKenzie will be 31 this year, and he’s battled his fair share of injuries over the years. Left Tackle David Diehl was a pro-bowler, but he will be 30 this season. William Beatty was drafted to eventually take over at one of the tackle positions, and he looked good in limited play. Tackle is not a pressing need for 2010, but with the offensive line aging and under-performing, it’s time for the Giants to start drafting for the future. If they do find an upgrade at tackle, they may decide to move Diehl back to guard for 31 year old Rich Seubert.
Positional Depth Chart: LT: (1) David Diehl, (2) Guy Whimper, RT: (1) Kareem McKenzie, (2) William Beatty
5. Defensive End
With Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora (likely) returning, the Giants do not have a need at defensive end. But this is an organization that believes that you can never have too many pass rushers. Especially after last year's embarrassing showing by the defensive line, don't be surprised to see them grab another pass rusher in the first three rounds.
Positional Depth Chart: (1) Justin Tuck, (2) Mathias Kiwanuka, (3) Osi Umenyiora, (4) Dave Tollefson