Giant Needs

Our next step in the personnel process is an honest evaluation of the Giants' team needs. This assessment will guide us through the draft and free agent period. We understand that this evaluation could change between now and the final game of the season, but this is a foundation on which to build the post-season plans.

It is adjustable as the season moves forward. We will discuss the team needs by position group in priority order from highest to lowest.

Defensive Back – Even though they drafted Aaron Ross last year in the first round, we believe this is the Giants' biggest area of need. Ross has showed that he should become a very good corner. After Ross they don't have much. Sam Madison is hanging on. He has been respectable, but he will be 34 and he is not nearly the player he once was. In an ideal world he should be a third or fourth corner; not a starter. R.W. McQuarters is also getting up in years, but he is still suited to remain a reserve corner. Kevin Dockery is helpful to have around but at 5-8 he has trouble with big receivers. Corey Webster looks like a second-round bust. They could also use some help at safety. If they do not re-sign Gibril Wilson the safety need will be heightened. They need to get better than James Butler. We like Butler's skills as a reserve, but not as a starter. Time will tell whether Michael Johnson and/or Craig Dahl will develop. Johnson has showed good skills in limited playing time. Dahl struggled when he played in preseason, but he is helpful on special teams.

Need: High Priority. At least one corner and perhaps two. Also a safety, but it is not a high priority.

Wide Receiver – When Plaxico Burress' play became affected by his injured ankle, there was no one to pick up the slack. Amani Toomer is beginning to show his age; he will be 34 when next season starts. They lack production from the third WR spot. Steve Smith looks like he will be a good receiver in time, but his injury and Sinorice Moss' lack of production became a problem. Domenik Hixon has some ability but he is untested. Getting a healthy Michael Jennings back could help.

Need: High Priority. Another receiver to go with a healthy Burress and Smith would help the offense.

Special Teams – The Giants could be/should be looking for a new punter and place-kicker. The ‘could be' part involves punter Jeff Feagles, who will be 42 before next season. He hinted at retirement before this season, and may make it official this offseason. We would certainly take him back again next year since he is still a master at ball placement. The ‘should be' part involves Lawrence Tynes, who does not instill confidence when he trots onto the field. Even his extra points are shaky. They need a strong competitor next season. It's too bad they waited so long to give the KO return job back to Ahmad Bradshaw. He is a threat every time he touches the ball; with Reuben Droughns we were hopeful he would get the ball out to the 20. We will say this about punt returner R.W. McQuarters: he catches the ball and he holds onto it. He doesn't have the breakaway speed he once had, but he is reliable. If Ryan Kuehl cannot pass a physical they won't re-sign him and then they will need to invest in a full-time long-snapper rather than sharing the job with position players.

Need: High Priority. Definitely a PK and perhaps a punter are needed. A punt returner with some flash would help as well. A long-snapper may be needed also.

Linebacker – In our ideal world, Kawika Mitchell would be a reserve that brings versatility to the table. We would be much more comfortable with him in the reserve role. Kiwanuka is making strides in his conversion to LB. We expect him to be better next year. The middle is solid with Antonio Pierce and Chase Blackburn in reserve. It will be interesting to watch the development of Gerris Wilkinson and Zak DeOssie. Their progress will go a long way toward making this a strong unit. We do not expect Reggie Torbor to return.

Need: Moderate Priority. Switching Kiwi to LB was a good move and it should begin to bear fruit, but they should find a new weakside starter.

Running Back – Who would you rather have right now, Ryan Grant or Reuben Droughns? Who knew Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward would both get hurt and leave the team with Droughns as the starting RB? They can't win with Droughns, who is basically a short-yardage back and not a very good one at that. We think they are in good shape with Jacobs, Ward and Bradshaw, but here's the rub. Can they realistically count on Jacobs and Ward to stay healthy when both have shown serious signs of being injury-prone? We don't want to take that chance again. By the way, did we mention that Bradshaw is under-utilized? He has shown some flash when he gets a chance. Too bad a few early fumbles unnecessarily buried him on the bench. Madison Hedgecock has been a good waiver claim.

Need: Moderate Priority. They must bring in a back that can stay healthy or at least carry the load if and when Jacobs and Ward are injured.

Quarterback – If Eli were to get injured how comfortable would you be with Anthony Wright or Jared Lorenzen filling in for a game or two? That is exactly our point. We believe they need to find someone better than what they have. Drafting a QB late is always a good idea, but they are not limited to the draft. Adding a veteran through free agency would also be a route they can take.

Need: Low Priority. Eli is their guy, but we would like to improve the backup situation.

Defensive Line – When totally healthy, this is the premier unit of the defense and they could be the best in the league. Strahan has sipped from the fountain of youth. Too bad he skipped camp and it took him three or four games to get into football shape. Based on how he is playing now, it looks like he has another year left in him. That's if he wants to and we will assume he does. Umenyiora continues to be a force. The player who has put this unit over the top is Justin Tuck. They can rest easy as they have Strahan's replacement at left DE when he decides to hang it up. Putting Kiwanuka and Tuck at DT was a great move. Fred Robbins still has an important role on this team, especially now that Kiwi is done for the year. Barry Cofield is solid inside and still developing. They need Jay Alford to come through. We do not expect William Joseph back next season.

Need: Low Priority. All they need is another run-stopping DT to join the rotation.

Offensive Line – They are a young and talented group that is building great chemistry and should be intact for a number of years. The only concern here is making sure they have proper depth; on the surface they appear to be in good shape. The biggest question is Guy Whimper. It is essential that they have a solid backup tackle. Though his progress has been somewhat slow he has done a decent job in the brief snippets he has played. They made an interesting waiver claim when they added Kevin Boothe from the Raiders. He has starting experience and could be a factor next year.

Need: Low Priority. They will bring in some new linemen, but mostly they will be camp fodder.

Tight End – They appear to have this position settled with Shockey, Michael Matthews and Kevin Boss. Shockey can do it all. Matthews is a good blocker but he's not much of a receiver. Boss looks like a good receiver, but he needs a lot of work with his blocking. It's more likely that Boss will eventually turn into a solid two-way TE than Matthews. Time is required here while the two young players develop.

Need: Low Priority. It's nice to have a position where they can simply add a few undrafted college free agents for camp.


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