December is already upon us, which means all NFL team's scouting departments will be gearing up for the meticulous offseason process leading up to April's draft.
The New York Giants are not without weaknesses, which shouldn't be a surprise for a 6-6 team. Jerry Reese and his staff have ignored some positions for far too long and will have to start addressing those concerns now.
Reese has been one of the best GMs in the league, but injuries had driven this team into the ground after a 6-2 start.
It is time to start adding depth. Here are five positions I believe the Giants will concentrate on come April 2012, in order from most important to least.
Jerry Reese started preparing for the future when he drafted T James Brewer in the fourth round last year, but this year the Giants have to consider drafting a franchise caliber left tackle or interior lineman.
The Will Beatty experiment did not go well. He is a tremendous athlete, but he doesn't have a mean streak and is average at best at run blocking.
Beatty seems more like a right tackle to me, and if they go with someone like Matt Kalil they can set themselves up with terrific talent for the next decade.
Due to the lack of trust the Giants have at the linebacker position, they have been forced to play their three-safety set for most of the season.
They used to be considered a 4-3 defense, but now most would call them a 4-2-5.
Mathias Kiwanuka made the switch back to linebacker this season, but I can assure you the Giants would rather he be playing his primary position of defensive end.
Plus you have the whole Osi Umenyiora situation—the writing appears to be on the wall for him to be playing elsewhere in 2012.
If he does leave and Kiwanuka moves back to end, that leaves a gaping hole at outside linebacker. Anyone who has covered the Giants for the past few seasons could tell you that the outside linebacker position has been a weakness for a long time.
For some reason or another, the Giants have felt they can hide that weakness, but that just isn't the case.
Reese cannot ignore this position again.
Brandon Jacobs is another player that will likely be playing somewhere else in 2012, even by his own admission.
Without him that leaves unproven backs DJ Ware and Da'Rel Scott behind Ahmad Bradshaw. Again, the Giants have neglected to get another playmaker for their back field for the past couple years now.
If they are sitting there with LaMichael James or Trent Richardson on the board in Round 1, they won't pass them up.
Don't get me wrong, I love the way Jake Ballard has been playing this season, but the fact of the matter is he is not a complete tight end.
He may have emerged as a legitimate threat for Eli Manning, but he is a sub-par blocker and does not possess great speed.
If you look at the elite teams around the league they all pretty much have the same thing in common—great tight end play.
Let's run down the list.
- New England—Rob Gronkowski
- Green Bay—Jermichael Finley
- New Orleans—Jimmy Graham
- San Francisco—Vernon Davis
- Pittsburgh—Heath Miller
- Baltimore—Ed Dickson
- Houston—Owen Daniels
I think you get the idea. If an elite tight end prospect is sitting there in the second or third round, the Giants have to get him.
You're probably thinking, "you have got to be kidding me, right?"
Well, the assumption here is that Osi Umenyiora walks after fulfilling his contract—leaving Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Jason Pierre-Paul as the only elite pass rushing prospects.
Given the injury history of both Tuck and Kiwanuka, the Giants shouldn't feel comfortable with just those three and Dave Tollefson on the roster.
Maybe not in the first or second round, but if they can find another pass rusher that can be a primary backup in the later rounds, that would be perfect.