Offensive right tackle Kareem McKenzie, middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, wide receiver Plaxico Burress and kicker Jay Feely all fill holes at their respective positions. The acquisitions of Burress and McKenzie, in particular, are viewed as instrumental to furthering the development of Manning and a Giants offense that struggled at times in 2004.
There is a need to provide some insurance for All-Pro running back Tiki Barber. With questionable depth behind him on the roster, the Giants are in a precarious position, one which could prove detrimental to a team expecting to show great improvement in head coach Tom Coughlin's second season.
While the free-agent market is relatively void of running backs to get excited about, the draft could prove to be the place where the Giants make their move. The scouting staff has spent time watching collegiate running backs. Ciatrick Fason from Florida, Marion Barber of Minnesota and J.J. Arrington from California all have caught the eye of Giants scouts, with Fason appearing to be the best fit for the Giants due to his quickness and powerful running style.
The defense, somewhat inconsistent last season, could face further struggles unless talent and depth are added. Outside of Michael Strahan on the defensive line, there aren't any difference makers. The linebacking corps received a significant boost from the addition of Antonio Pierce, but there should be reservations about the state of the weak-side spot filled by Barrett Green.
In the defensive backfield, starting cornerbacks Will Peterson and Will Allen are the strength, as the safeties are questionable outside of 2004 surprise Gibril Wilson. Until the Giants improve the quality at free safety and add depth throughout the defensive backfield, New York is susceptible in the event of injury.
Cornerback – Will Peterson has played reasonably well. Will Allen has shown some inconsistency, but has the talent to be a better than average corner. Without much help for these two cornerbacks, the Giants have pegged the defensive backfield as a priority heading into the draft.
Defensive line – Except for defensive end Michael Strahan, the Giants lack quality and depth across the line. Defensive tackle Kendrick Clancy was signed in free agency to replace Lance Legree, and Norman Hand was released.
Running back – If Tiki Barber goes down, so do the Giants. With questionable depth on the roster (Michael Cloud and Derrick Ward), the Giants do not have a viable replacement and could face enormous struggles offensively. After failing to land a running back in free agency, the Giants will need to look towards the draft for help.
Wide receiver – The Giants lack quality and depth behind Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. If either receiver goes down for any period of time, the Giants will struggle mightily.
FREE AGENCY AND OFFSEASON
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: RB Michael Cloud, QB Jesse Palmer.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED: WR Plaxico Burress (Steelers), DT Kendrick Clancy (Steelers), PK Jay Feely (Falcons), OT Kareem McKenzie (Jets), QB Jim Miller (Patriots), LB Antonio Pierce (Redskins).
PLAYERS LOST: DE Lorenzo Bromell (released/failed physical), DT Martin Chase (released/failed physical), CB Terry Cousin (released), DT Norman Hand (released), WR Ike Hilliard (released), DL Lance Legree (Jets), OG Barry Stokes (released/failed physical), S Omar Stoutmire (released/failed physical), QB Kurt Warner (Cardinals), DE Keith Washington (released).