Cheat Sheet

It's already draft time, which means it's high time to break down New York's roster to determine where the club's biggest needs are. Here's a position-by-position look at how Big Blue stacks up heading into the draft. As you can tell from the cover of this issue, TGI believes the Giants will come away from the draft's first round with either a linebacker or a cornerback. Only time will tell.

QB – The Giants believe they're set at QB with franchise signal-caller Eli Manning locked up for several years to come, and Jared Lorenzen, a highly-respected backup. Lorenzen has yet to play QB in a regular-season game, but the coaching staff thinks he'd hold up fine if called upon. However, it sure wouldn't hurt to take a chance on a late-round quarterback to compete with Tim Hasselbeck and Lorenzen to improve the depth at QB. Signing a veteran is also not out of the question.

RB – Whether the Reuben Droughns/Brandon Jacobs tandem excites you or not, you had better get used to it. This is the duo New York is counting on to replace the Giants' all-time greatest RB, Tiki Barber. While the two are more similar than complementary, at least the Giants now have someone so Jacobs doesn't have to take all the carries. Derrick Ward and James Sims provide depth. At fullback, New York lost out on Houston's Vonta Leach, which did nothing but anger incumbent Jim Finn, who left New York's offseason program once he found out about the Leach offer sheet. Unless someone they totally love is there, don't expect New York to use any of its early picks to upgrade the backfield.

WR – The trio of Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer and Sinorice Moss is certainly impressive, but expect New York to look to add another game-changing receiver early on, if one presents himself. Toomer's getting up there in age and Moss, who missed basically all last season due to injury, is still unproven. Michael Jennings is dangerous, but raw, while David Tyree is a dependable fourth guy. But there's no doubt they're still looking to increase the team speed at receiver – and rightly so.

TE – With the free agent departure of Visanthe Shiancoe to Minnesota and only Darcy Johnson backing up Jeremy Shockey, the Giants definitely will be looking for a tight end sometime in this draft, likely during the second day. As good as Shockey is, he plays 100 percent all the time and often gets banged up. As a result, having a solid reserve behind him is very important. A reserve that can block is imperative.

OL – If you're thinking that the Giants cut Luke Petitgout and did nothing to replace him, you're not alone. If you also believe that as good and versatile as David Diehl is, that he didn't look very good at all in his brief time last season at LT, you're also correct. Yet, that's where the Giants stand right now, with Diehl at LT, Rich Seubert at LG, Shaun O'Hara at C, Chris Snee at RG and Kareem McKenzie at RT. Moving Seubert into the starting lineup leaves Grey Ruegamer as the Giants' only legitimate interior depth. The slow development of Guy Whimper leaves the tackle positions in the same quandary. As a result, it would be shocking if the Giants didn't spend one of their early-to-middle picks on a tackle and a later choice on an interior lineman.

DL – While the common perception is that New York is fine up the middle, two defensive players have told TGI that the defense most needs a big DT to clog up the middle. Fred Robbins played at a near Pro Bowl level and Barry Cofield started quickly before hitting the wall later in the season. But the thought is that with such strong defensive ends and such a solid middle linebacker, the Giants desperately need a stud up front. That's why you shouldn't be all that surprised if Big Blue drafts a DT higher than most so-called experts predict. The club is obviously fine at D-end, with Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. No, we didn't forget about Mathias Kiwanuka; you'll read more about him in the LBs section. But don't be too surprised if they still spend a late-round pick on a D-end. Former GM Ernie Accorsi isn't the only one that subscribes to the theory that you can never have enough pass-rushers. The DL depth – William Joseph, Adrian Awasom and Jonas Seawright – is nothing to get too excited about.

LB – Yes, it's that Mathias Kiwanuka who is being looked at this offseason as a stand-up outside linebacker. He fared very well at end as a rookie, but the club is much stronger at end than outside linebacker, where they basically have no one with any experience. Kiwi would add another pass-rusher to new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's aggressive defensive scheme and it would be a way to get him on the field more. Right now, the starting outside backers are Gerris Wilkinson and Chase Blackburn with Reggie Torbor in reserve. Exactly. Big Blue better draft someone – and high – unless they re-sign productive Brandon Short. Gambling that they take an LB in the first round would be a pretty safe bet. At least they're fine in the middle with Pro Bowler Antonio Pierce.

DB – While all four DB positions are covered, opposing receivers often weren't last season. New York's new, revamped secondary last season was a huge disappointment. There's no question that the Giants are likely to spend a top pick on a cover corner, which is sorely needed. Only R.W. McQuarters played well enough last season to elicit any excitement while the safety play could have been better as well. Gibril Wilson was steady, but certainly not spectacular, and Will Demps took basically all season until it appeared that he became comfortable on defense. At least Kevin Dockery and James Butler provide some consistent depth.

ST – While it's unlikely the Giants will use a late draft pick on a place-kicker, with only Josh Huston on the current roster, there sure is a glaring need. The Giants let Jay Feely sign with Miami and didn't seem all that bothered by it either. They're set at punter, at least for another year, with veteran Jeff Feagles. While it flew under the radar, re-signing long-snapper Ryan Kuehl was a smart move.

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