The Giants had a strong 2010, finishing the season 10-6, but ended up out of the playoffs after a late-season slump. Coughlin came under fire for the team's poor finish and another subpar season might make Giants fans forget all his success.
The draft is an opportunity to improve. The Giants have six picks in the NFL Draft right now. Barring trades, these are the players they will choose.
Former Florida interior lineman Mike Pouncey would be a perfect fit for the Giants at No. 19. The Giants struggled with depth throughout last season at guard and center.
Pouncey is the brother of Maurkice Pouncey, the center for the Pittsburgh Steelers and both were teammates at Florida. If Mike comes close to his brother's NFL success, he is well worth a first round pick.
Rich Seubert and Shaun O'Hara are getting older, and Chris Snee needs help blocking in the middle of the Giants line. Pouncey played guard for the majority of his career, but transitioned to center his senior season.
While Pouncey projects mostly as a guard in the NFL, his versatility could help him pick up playing time early in his career. Having a lineman able to slide up and down the line as injuries occur is a luxury winning NFL teams often have.
The Giants will be in the market for a running back this offseason with Ahmad Bradshaw's future with the team unclear.
He is not under contract for 2011, and no negotiations for next season will occur until a new collective bargaining agreement is in place.
The trend in the NFL is toward having two starting-quality running backs. The Giants have Brandon Jacobs, but they need another. Whether it was Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber, Derrick Ward and Brandon Jacobs or Jacobs and Bradshaw, the Giants have been following this practice for the better part of this century.
Ryan Williams could be that back. Although he missed part of last season with a hamstring injury, Williams was one of the best backs in the ACC in 2009. Williams would provide a similar change-of-pace to a game as Bradshaw. He has quick feet and is one of the more agile backs in the draft.
It is no secret that the Giants have a uniquely deep defensive line; Barry Cofield and Chris Canty are solid defensive tackles. But it is also no secret Jerry Reese loves drafting defensive lineman.
Reese also loves value—regardless of position. This year's draft class has unique depth along the defensive line, and it is possible Jenkins, a top-10 defensive tackle in this year's draft, will fall to the Giants in the third round.
Jenkins is a bit raw as a pass-rusher, but has the mind and body to improve into a run-stuffing, pass-swatting NFL defensive tackle.
The Giants need to upgrade their linebackers. Many pundits think the Giants will use an early pick on someone like Akeem Ayers.
Linebacker has been a need throughout much of Jerry Reese's tenure. He has often been reluctant to use high picks on linebackers. Round four seems about the time he would start looking.
Nate Irving will likely be available when the Giants are picking. Irving was first-team All ACC in 2010 after a car crash forced him to miss the entire 2009 season. Irving has great speed and recognition, but will have to hit the weight room hard to succeed in the NFL.
Jordan Cameron is one of the most talented tight ends in the NFL Draft. At the NFL Combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.59.
Cameron is a big body at 6'5" and 245 pounds. He switched to tight end from wide receiver in 2010 and is a project as far as his blocking is concerned.
His speed and leaping ability make him an intriguing late-round gamble for a Giants team trying to find a more explosive tight end option than Kevin Boss.
Matt Dodge inspired many Giants fans' to cringe, curse and even cry throughout the season. It is no secret that Dodge is on the hot seat—and has been since he began his career as a Giant. Dodge's struggles lasted all season, even before his fateful punt to DeSean Jackson in the last Eagles game. At times, he struggled to catch snaps and had inconsistent hang time and length on his punts.
The Giants will have another punter in camp next season—or there will be a riot in New York. Donahue is considered the best punter in the draft, and because punters are rarely drafted high, he should still be there when the Giants make their final pick.
Punting in New York is a high pressure gig, as Dodge proved last year. The fans have a short leash—even if the coach doesn't. It might not be the best position for a rookie, but if there are few other options, don't be surprised to see the Giants snag a punter late.