Looking at the New York Giants‘ roster from last season to now, it’s easy to find holes that need to be filled. Long-time GM Ernie Accorsi was a master for the Giants in terms of personnel for so many years. Current GM Jerry Reese has not deviated from the roots of Accorsi when it comes to drafting players, but finding guys to fill needs that were not addressed via the draft he has been subpar.
The Giants draft-day strategy is no secret: Best Available Player. I scratched my head a little when they took Odell Beckham Jr. with the first pick last year because I thought there were more pressing needs than receiver but we all know how that move worked out…so far. But that’s part of what makes the draft so great.
The Giants have some glaring needs that have been a few years in the making. Here is what I would expect the Giants to address in the upcoming draft:
I was enraged before last season of what the Giants’ linebackers consisted of. John Beason, Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich were not enough to excite me. No disrespect to those guys but you aren’t winning games with those guys as your starters on defense. The Giants need to get mean on defense with a run-stopper. They need a defensive leader or a general, if you will, at that position. I’m not sure the Giants will spend a pick on a linebacker at #9 but I certainly see them addressing the issue from round 2 and on. If they did value a player at linebacker in round 1 it would probably be Randy Gregory from Nebraska or Shane Ray from Missouri.
2. Pass Rusher DT/DE
The Giants are usually stockpiled at these two positions but find themselves in the NEED in 2015. Jason Pierre-Paul will be back in what could be his last year as a Giant which makes DE a top priority for the G-men. The defense needs improvement up front. The Giants were ranked 29th in total team defense last year and 30th in rushing defense. The Giants were absolute pushovers on defense last year and it all starts with improvement up front. Getting to the QB has to be the motto of the defense for next year and the future. I expect the Giants to use their first pick on a guy like Dante Fowler Jr out of Florida or Arik Armstead from Oregon.
3. Offensive Line
QB Eli Manning took more of a beating than he was used to last year. And when Eli gets those happy feet and twinkle-toes you can forget it. Granted it was a new offense under Ben McAdoo but Eli and the running game barely stood a chance. In my estimation it’s time to part ways with Will Beatty. This guy has been a huge disappointment. Holding calls, false starts and flat out blown assignments just make me irate watching this guy. Justin Pugh has come along at OT since being drafted so I think the Giants can get one more guy to bring along with Pugh at the same time; building a core at OT for a long future. Brandon Scherff of Iowa has been rumored the guy the Giants like best but he could be gone by the 9th pick. Andrus Peat from Stanford or Ereck Flowers from Miami would be the next logical choices.
4. Tight End
This has been an unaddressed need as long as the linebackers need. I’m sorry but the Giants are not going to be a threat with a McAdoo offense without a decent threat at TE. Without that threat, the WR’s can be double covered all day. Eli Manning was extremely efficient when he had Martellus Bennett to throw to and the Giants took him for granted. Without him, Eli struggled not having that security blanket. I’d be shocked if the Giants don’t secure a TE somewhere in the draft. Just draft a TE and I’ll be excited!
The Giants’ main focus should be on defense. Giants’ football has always had a hard-hitting run-stopping mantra about it at its core. I fully expect them to focus on defense early and often in the draft. Otherwise, the future for Big-Blue could be dire.