The 2012 New York Giants have been riddled with injuries—the main reason they currently stand at 6-6.
While the Giants have played the most brutal stretch of schedule in the NFL, their lack of ability on the OL, DL and LB core have led to their recent stretch of five straight losses.
For next season, it is imperative that the Giants upgrade the linebacker core, the offensive line and the defensive line. The Giants live on the pass rush and running play, two areas that have now become their weakness. They currently rank 32nd in yards per game at 83.8, and also rank 32nd in yards per carry at 3.3.
The blame in this category can be put upon three sources: OL play, RB play and Kevin Kill Drive. Even though the RB play of Bradshaw and Jacobs have been disappointing this year, a majority of the blame must fall upon the absolute horrendous run blocking and playcalling of Kevin Kill Drive.
I swear to God if I see one more HB misdirection with Brandon Jacobs on a 3rd-and-1, I will kill him.
Unfortunately, the defense seems to be playing just as badly as the running game. What has led to the 28th ranked scoring defense has been the lackluster pass rush of the defensive line, and inexperience and horrible play of the linebacker core. Injuries to both Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora have been catastrophic to the Giants, especially coupled with the injury of rookie DT Marvin Austin.
The only player that has stepped up in this time is DE Jason Pierre Paul, an absolute monster in only his second year of play. But Paul cannot carry the DL by himself. With the lack of a consistent pass rush, the LBs have had to cover for longer and longer durations of times, with the result of a complete exposure of their lack of ability.
If the Giants want to compete in the NFC East next season, Jerry Reese will have to make considerable upgrades in the draft.
In this draft I will look at the first three rounds of 2012 NFL mock draft.
David DeCastro (G, Stanford)
The Giants have a huge need at left guard with the disappointing play of David Diehl. DeCastro has been a huge reason for the underrated success of the running game of Stanford and is a very good pass protector.
He has a very good build at 6'5", 310 pounds, and should be an immediate upgrade on the OL.
Vontaze Burfict (MLB, Arizona St.)
Starting MLB Jonathon Goff might not be with the team next year, and Burfict would be an immediate contributor in his absence. Burfict is a huge athlete at 6'3", 252 pounds and has a great intensity and mean streak.
However, an average season and problems with penalties have dropped him out of the Top 15 on a majority of draft boards.
Luke Kuechly (MLB, Boston College)
Luke Kuechly is slightly undersized at 6'2" 235 pounds, but has the great work ethic and intangibles that have led to amazing production at the college level. Kuechly, however, must gain more muscle to become a dominant player at the next level.
Riley Reiff (OT, Iowa)
Manti Te'o (MLB, Notre Dame)
Zach Brown (OLB, North Carolina)
A solid upgrade at OLB, Brown is a strong pass rusher, but average in coverage. Part of the problem in his coverage is his biting on the play-action and bad positioning which ends in him being burned on pass routes. Brown needs to gain more muscle at the next level since he only measures in at 6'2" and 232 pounds.
Cordy Glenn (OG, Georgia)
Glenn has the size at 6'5" 335 pounds to succeed at the NFL level. He also is a hard worker and displays a great amount of toughness missing on the OL.
Glenn is a better run blocker due to his mobility and strength, but must improve his pass protection slightly to become a starter. Easily the second-rated OG in the game who might move up into the first round.
Peter Konz (C, Wisconsin)
Konz is listed at 6'5" and 315 pounds, which makes him a very good C prospect. Konz anchors a very good Wisconsin OL, and should be a stable addition to a NYG team that lacks a true leader on the O-line. It also helps that the Giants have no true C at the moment, relying on mediocre players Kevin Boothe and David Boothe.
Kendall Reyes (DT, Connecticut)
Brandon Jenkins (DE, Florida State)
Nate Potter (OT/OG, Boise State)
Potter is a project who projects to be a RT or an OG. Kareem Mackenzie has been average at best this season, and Potter would be a good player to replace him in a couple of years.
Potter could also be an OG and could be an upgrade to either side of the line. Potter needs to gain some weight, as he is only listed at 298 pounds but has good height at 6'6".
Casey Hayward (CB, Vanderbilt)
A good CB who could really see an upshot with a good bowl game. He has decent speed with an unconfirmed 40-yard dash time of 4.45. Listed at 5'11", 188 pounds, he could really help a depleted CB core, especially with the questions about Terrell Thomas and inconsistency in Aaron Ross.
Sean Spence (LB, Miami)
Slightly undersized at 5'11" and 224 pounds, he would need to add some bulk at the next level, but has above average speed to make up for his lack of height.
He also has great instincts and can make tackles across the field. He would add new defensive blood and be an upgrade to a weak OLB core.
Ben Jones (C, Georgia)
Donnie Fletcher (CB, Boston College)
With this draft, the Giants have the ability to upgrade OL and LB while also having the outside chance of DT/DE and CB. Hopefully this would improve a lackluster rushing game and obtain a stronger linebacker presence.
With the rest of the draft I would like to see the Giants look for RB help to be paired with oft injured Bradshaw—someone fast and speedy such as LaMichael James or Isaiah Pead.
From that point on, I think the Giants should just draft depth at CB and DL. Heaven knows we seem to always need more.
Hopefully an injury-free and Kevin Kill Drive-free team will compete in a wide open 2012 NFC East.