COMMENTARY | Entering the 2013 NFL draft, the New York Giants had areas of concern on both sides of the football, and while they were able to bolster the offensive and defensive lines, some issues remain unresolved. For instance, the Giants drafted only three defensive players despite being trampled for a franchise-record 6,134 yards this past season. Plus, their most explosive offensive player is at an impasse with the club over a long-term contract. So where do the Giants stand now that the draft is done, and can their problems be solved before the start of next season? Here's a look at the team's most significant post-draft problems.
Victor Cruz's Contract -- It's widely assumed a deal eventually will get done, but Cruz's contract standoff continues to loom over the organization. The deadline has passed for another team to sign the salsa-dancing wideout to an offer sheet, but he's no closer to reaching an agreement with New York. Giants co-owner John Mara is on record saying "it will get done at some point," but coach Tom Coughlin has expressed his concern over the situation. Worst case scenario, Cruz plays under a one-year tender and becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season. However, the Giants obviously don't want for this issue to drag on and become a distraction heading into training camp.
Cornerback Concerns -- This past season, the Giants were burned for numerous big plays, including a league-high 29 passes of at least 30 yards, yet the team did not add a cornerback at any point in the draft. Richmond safety Cooper Taylor, the team's fifth-round pick, will add depth in the secondary, but the pressure will be on projected starters Corey Webster and Prince Amukamara to hold down the corners. Unfortunately, Webster is coming off a career-worst season and Amukamara has missed 12 games over his first two pro seasons. Moreover, backup cornerback Terrell Thomas, a one-time rising star in the secondary, is coming off two ACL injuries in as many seasons. Cross your fingers.
Lame Linebackers -- Many mock drafts had the Giants selecting a linebacker in the first round, but as it turns out the team didn't draft a single one during the entire draft. Yes, they bulked up the defensive line with the selections of defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and defensive end Damontre Moore in the second and third rounds, respectively. But returning linebackers Jacquian Williams, Keith Rivers, Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich must show improvement, otherwise the defense is going to continue to suffer against the run (New York gave up at least 110 yards rushing in each of its final six games of 2012). Look for the Giants to add to this position before the start of training camp.
As a Giants fan, which one of these issues worries you the most? Do you have other concerns about the team? Let me know in the comments section below.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer with more than 15 years of experience covering amateur and professional sports for several print and online media outlets. He tracked the New York Giants for Yahoo! Contributor Network during the team's Super Bowl run in 2011-12. Adam can be found on Twitter @Pegcitysports.
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