It became an annual rite of passage that the Giants would draft a pass rusher. People often mocked them for it, but as former GM Ernie Accorsi was fond of saying, “You can never have too many pass rushers.” He was right, and current GM Jerry Reese — who has adopted many of Accorsi’s ideas — likely would agree.
The Giants’ defense broke down in 2012, allowing the most yards in franchise history. The run defense was a major flaw at times, but you also can’t overlook the lack of pass-rush production. Pressures were down, QB hits were off and sacks dropped from 48 in 2011 to 33 this season.
Several players saw drops in their sack production. Jason Pierre-Paul, appearing to be on the verge of stardom, dropped from 16½ to 6½. Osi Umenyiora fell from nine to six, Justin Tuck from five to four and Mathias Kiwanuka from 3½ to 3. The loss of sub-rusher Dave Tollefson (five sacks in 2011) to free agency hurt more than expected, and the early-season injury to DT Chris Canty also reduced the pressure up front.
Expect some additions and changes to the front four. Umenyiora appears to have one foot out the door, and Tuck, who is in decline, could be cut. Even if Kiwanuka moves to end full-time after masquerading as a rush linebacker, the Giants still could look for reinforcements up front. Young DE Adewale Ojomo has promise but remains raw, and there just isn’t that much depth after that.
It appears that once more the Giants will seek pass-rushing help in the draft, and it could come relatively high. It shouldn’t be a surprise at this point.
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- Ernie Accorsi
- Mathias Kiwanuka