Think the Giants are set along the Defensive Line? Think the top need is Offensive Line? Think again. The staff over at Pro Football Focus has ranked the Giants roster minus free agents such as Justin Tuck, Linval Joseph, Jon Beason, Trumaine McBride, and Hakeem Nicks — and the results aren’t exactly pretty.
According to PFF, the Giants top 3 needs are:
1) Defensive End
Without Justin Tuck, the Giants have one less run stopping DE in their rotation and his replacement at this point, Mathias Kiwanuka, ranked as one of the worst defensive players in the league last year. So we’re not confident in this line even though their offseason in 2013 was brilliant in its focus to reshape the effectiveness of the DT position. Without re-signing Tuck and possibly letting Linval Joseph sneak out the door – the Giants defensive line is back to project land heading toward the draft. Will Da Monsta come of age like JPP did in his second year? We have no way of knowing — but under the mantra of the Giants needing players and not projects, the outlook isn’t good with Tuck and Joseph going elsewhere.
Look, Chris Snee is injured, in decline, and due a SHED LOAD of money this season. He’s a major cap casualty if he’s released. He has thought about retiring but hasn’t gone that route yet. David Diehl retired. Kevin Boothe did not have a great year and may not be re-signed (although he absolutely should be because he’s so versatile). And James Brewer is not inspiring confidence and is another member of the Big Blue “special projects” files. But we know we have a player in Justin Pugh, and if we can assume Will Beatty has a bounce back year our bookends are known quantities. It’s all about the interior line and you can bank on the Giants taking at least one versatile OL in this draft. Another acquisition in free agency should also happen here, but it’s too soon to tell.
I think Trumaine McBride does not get the credit he deserves, and I sincerely hope he is re-signed. McBride was the best cover corner on the team last year, period. He did get burned a couple of times in some big spots, but he did recover well and showed some aggresiveness to break up passes that otherwise would have gone for big gains on his watch. I’d like to see more of McBride and I think the Giants do not have better options on the roster right now. This draft isn’t particularly known for its CB depth either — so I think you have to make lemonade here. Re-signing McBride is part of the recipe.
Now, what wasn’t mentioned?
Linebacker – Without Jon Beason, the Giants will have wasted a 7th round draft pick and potentially the entire 2014 season. Beason is priority #1 – bar none. He was great in stopping the run, and provided that key leadership ingredient to the middle of the defense where one was clearly lacking. Mark Herzlich is a great story, and I turly appreciate what he’s overcome to be on this team. But a game changing MLB he is not, and Beason needs to be re-signed. Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams are serviceable, not great though. LB acquisition is a real priority for this offseason.
Wide Receiver – Hakeem Nicks is not coming back folks. And there is no way in hell the Giants are going with 2 slot receivers out wide like PFF has them lined up unless there’s another imposing WR or TE in the mix… and in that case our OL had better hold up a lot better to impending pressure. Those are all needs the Giants have in the draft, and how the weapons get utilized remains to be seen under new OC Ben McAdoo. It will be interesting to watch how the weapons are collected this offseason, but with Nicks out the door you can bet another pass catching threat to create mismatches will be acquired at WR and TE.
Running Back – David Wilson is the listed starter… we don’t even know if he can play football with his neck/spine issues. That’s totally alarming! Even more alarming is the current other options behind him under contract, Michael Cox. What in the world are the Giants going to do to run the ball next season? A veteran RB is needed, whether that’s Toby Gerhardt or Peyton Hillis – flip a coin. Andre Brown’s injury history is concerning, and beyond that we’re looking at another draft pick.
Conclusion – the Giants can’t possibly stockpile enough draft picks to address all of their needs. And their tightness to the cap is going to make restructuring contracts absolutely critical to adequately addressing the holes on this roster. And we know Rolle, Manning, and Snee have huge cap hits — and there’s little talk of restructuring those deals. Could be looking at another nail biting draft for Big Blue… and Jerry Reese could not be under more pressure to deliver home runs.
Get your popcorn ready.