New York Giants 2012 NFL Draft Needs
The New York Giants are your NFL Super Bowl champions. What can I possibly say negative about them, that they need to fix, in order to make another run? Actually, a good deal.
Don’t get me wrong. The Giants could march into another playoff tourney right now and take home the Lombardi again, simply because Eli Manning has placed himself into elite status, and their defense is suffocating when the pressure is on.
But it’s the regular season that should cause worry, as this team is just barely built well enough to withstand injuries and a tough schedule. It’ll only get harder as they try to repeat, so they need to improve at a few key positions, and add depth overall in case they somehow get hit by the injury bug again like they did last year.
Here’s a look at their biggest draft needs, and what they might do in the 2012 NFL Draft:
Offensive Needs: RB, OG, TE
Wide receiver could be a fourth need on offense, but the Giants will probably bring in some undrafted bodies, and who knows, maybe Ramses Barden will finally amount to something.
On that note, the focus changes to their biggest offensive hole, which has to be running back. Brandon Jacobs fled for the Bay Area, and Ahmad Bradshaw seems to have a broken foot every other week. The Giants need to find someone to share the load; someone who could eventually even be “the guy” if/when Bradshaw hits the shelf again. I think that guy is Boise State’s Doug Martin. If the Giants want him, they’ll spend their 32nd overall pick on him in the first round. Otherwise, they’ll hope David Wilson or Lamar Miller make their way to them at the end of round two.
After running back, guard has to be their biggest concern. They had issues with guard all year in 2011, and it was simply inconsistency from a number of players. If they don’t grab a running back early, they could opt for Kevin Zeitler (who is a natural center) to slide over to guard and at least push their current guards. That’s a bit of a reach, though. Guys like Kelechi Osemele, Brandon Brooks, and Brandon Washington would be much more likely in the second or third round.
Tight end isn’t as important as running back or guard, but in terms of talent, the Giants may want to just bypass logic and draft Stanford’s Coby Fleener. He’s a freak at the position, as he has excellent size, speed, and route-running ability. He can be an immediate impact player at a position that hasn’t had a dominant player for the Giants since a year or two before Jeremy Shockey left.
I know they added Martellus Bennett, but he’s unproven and both Travis Beckum and Jake Ballard are facing long roads back with serious knee injuries. Fleener fixes the tight end spot, and also gives Manning a new target that could help make-up for the departed Mario Manningham in the passing game.
Defensive Needs: CB, DL
Antrel Rolle is incredibly talented, but there’s an argument that he could be upgraded because of his spotty coverage at times. However, there really isn’t a replacement for him to be had early in this draft. If the Giants want to improve on Rolle, they’ll either coach him, replace from within, or snag someone in the later rounds and see if they can’t groom him. LSU’s Brandon Tyler could be worth a look at the end of round two, but I’m not sure if he’s the best fit (or an upgrade).
However, as far as an impact guy on defense right now, you’re probably looking at a new cornerback. Aaron Ross left for Jacksonville, and Terrell Thomas (though talented and re-signed) is coming off of his second torn ACL. Yikes. Any way you look at it, the Giants need to make sure they don’t get carved up against the pass as much as they did at times in 2011. It’s time to get a corner. If they do it early, Stephon Gilmore is a good possibility to end the second round. They could also reach for Alfonzo Dennard at the 32 spot.
If they wait until round two, they’re probably looking at Brandon Boykin (if they’re lucky), or possibly Jayron Hosley.
Beyond corner, the Giants just need to keep adding depth to their monstrous defensive line. Interior depth is needed, and they could also take a look at some raw pass-rushing specialists, simply because Osi Umenyiora is always talking about leaving, and they can never have too many effective linemen to rush the passer.
The Giants continue to be a playoff-built team that simply under-performs for them majority of the regular season. However, if they simply pad some tiny holes on offense and keep adding depth elsewhere, they should continue to contend for a playoff spot. And once/if they get it, as we all have come to find, anything can happen.
Kevin Roberts owns and operates NFL Soup and heads the fantasy football division of the site. Roberts also finished 2nd in the Wide Receiver position in Fantasy Pros expert fantasy football rankings in 2010 and 3rd in the Quarterback position in 2011. In addition to running the fantasy football section of the site, Roberts contributes to NFL Soup's NFL Draft coverage and breaking news reporting. Follow Kevin on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin