Five Draft Musts

There's no way the Giants hired Jerry Reese to sit idly by as all the other teams scoop up the available free agents. Obviously, Reese and Co. must know something that other GMs don't. That's very well the case. At least that's what the Giants organization and fans are hoping.

No, this has hardly been a banner free-agent crop, but it sure as heck boasted enough players that it would have been fair to expect more than one free-agent signing out of New York in the first four weeks. Now, of course the Giants already traded for Reuben Droughns, which is a great move when you consider they were likely going to send Tim Carter packing soon anyway. However, when you consider some of the other running backs out there – Dominic Rhodes, Jamal Lewis and Ahman Green come to mind – it's a little more difficult to get all that excited about Droughns.

That's why there's no doubt in our mind that a big draft is on its way. Hey, let's call it like it is. Jerry Reese made quite a good living evaluating the college draft, not scouring the free agent wire. That's not to say he won't become adept at that as well, because he knows he had better or his stay as Giants GM will be a short one. But it's a lot easier to be optimistic regarding how Reese is going to fare in the draft, which has been his primary focus for his previous dozen years with the Giants.

The Giants need this to be an impact draft. They need at least two or three guys to be able to contribute in a big way right away. The roster is shaky and contains a few glaring openings. Plain and simple, it would be a little unrealistic to think that the Giants will be able to satisfy all five of their obvious needs, but they better get at least three of the following out of the late-April draft:

A playmaking weak side linebacker – Sure Gerris Wilkinson has some promise, but the Giants need a stud, someone who can come right in and start opening night in Dallas. With Kawika Mitchell now on board to man the strong side and Pro Bowler Antonio Pierce in the middle, the time is now to round out what very quickly could be a very strong corps of LBs. But they need a difference-maker. Be it Paul Posluszny, TGI's pick – and not just because he's a Nittany Lion. This kid's a ball-player, plain and simple. The same way that Brian Urlacher and Antonio Pierce are ball-players. If not, Ole Miss' Patrick Willis, or either of the Florida boys – Florida State's Lawrence Timmons or Miami's Jon Beason – would likely fit the job description perfectly.

A cover corner – Make no mistake that the Giants need to upgrade at corner, and fast. Sam Madison's best days are obviously behind him and one can only hope that Corey Webster's are ahead of him. Whether it's a first-, second- or third-round pick, New York needs yet another corner – and someone who could jump in as early as this season.

A game-breaking receiver – Yes, we know this has been on the shopping list for years now. But with the uncertain status of Amani Toomer and the unproven standing of Sinorice Moss, New York needs another full-time guy. TGI has learned that Big Blue plans to host dangerous USC WR Dwayne Jarrett in the coming weeks so maybe that's their man. Who is it isn't important. That there's someone in place by the end of the weekend is what really matters.

A stud DT – We know this doesn't seem like such a big need after last year's solid tandem of Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield, but neither of those guys does much in the way of occupying multiple blockers and clogging up the run. They need a big guy to anchor down in the middle and keep blockers off Pierce.

Kicking competition – Who knows what Josh Huston will give the Giants? Surely no one does at this point. While we agreed with the decision to let Jay Feely walk, it would also behoove New York to bring to training camp this summer someone that's more than just an extra leg. The only true way to figure out if Huston can handle the heat is by providing a formidable opponent. This isn't to suggest using a first-day draft pick on a kicker, but it wouldn't be crazy if the Giants used one of their final picks just to ensure they landed someone worthwhile.

Like we said, it'd be impossible to solve all five of these issues, but the Giants – and Reese – desperately need to have at least three of them addressed by the end of the draft. By the way, did we mention they also need a left tackle and a tight end, and could very well use a running back as well?

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Good for Antonio Pierce. After multiple years of deserving Pro Bowl recognition, it finally came at the end of last season. What an experience Pierce had in Honolulu.

Being named a last-minute injury replacement did nothing to diminish the excitement for Pierce, who played in his first career Pro Bowl. AP had three unassisted tackles in the NFC's 31-28 loss to the AFC, but his personal highlight was a third-quarter interception of a Vince Young pass.

"That was probably the best moment," Pierce said. "Getting an interception in the Pro Bowl – I wish I could have ran a little further, but the running back (Willie Parker) was right there and made a good tackle."

Pierce stayed in Hawaii an extra two days, continuing to savor his Pro Bowl experience. He had a great time and hopes to return again as a participating player.

"I soaked in every moment," Pierce said. "I don't think a moment went by where I didn't take in something, from the experience, the view, talking to people, meeting new people. Because when you go there you have to deal with 90 other players of the 1,800 in the league. I think that speaks for itself."

Just like his play speaks for itself – and it says here that he'll be returning to Hawaii for years to come.

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