LAST SEASON Rush Offense - 116.4 ypg (14th)
Pass Offense - 239.1 ypg (12th)
Total Offense - 355.4 ypg (14th)
Scoring Offense - 26.8 ppg (6th)
Rush Defense - 129.1 ypg (25th)
Pass Defense - 254.3 ypg (28th)
Total Defense - 383.4 ypg (31st)
Scoring Defense - 21.5 ppg (tied 12th) MOST PRESSING NEEDS Offense: Offensive line, athletic tight end and Victor Cruz
Defense: Inside linebacker, edge rusher and safety
Quarterback The Draft Board
5th round Zac Dysert, Miami, OH (6-3, 231) 6th round Sean Renfree, Duke (6-3, 219) 7th round Tino Sunseri, Pitt (6-2, 215)
Eil Manning will be in Giants blue for as long as he wants, so any draft flirtation will be to enhance the competition for the clipboard and headset behind him.
Zac Dysert is more playmaker and gunslinger than true drop-back quarterback, so he'll need time to adapt to a pro-style attack. Sean Renfree is rehabbing an injury he suffered on his last play as a collegian. He's the consummate backup quarterback, reminiscent of former Peyton Manning backup Jim Sorgi.
Running Back The Draft Board
7th round Onterio McCalebb, Auburn (5-10, 168)
Dennis Johnson, Arkansas (5-8, 212)
Ahmad Bradshaw was a 1,000-yard rusher for the Giants last year, leading all other rushers by over 600 yards. As a reward, so to speak, the Giants released him. The writing was on the wall for Bradshaw after the Giants selected David Wilson with the last pick of the first round in 2012. Wilson made more of an impact on special teams, but showed what he could do when he has the ball in his hands. Andre Brown is a restricted free agent. If he re-signs, he and Wilson could make for a solid tag team, given their varied skill sets. As such, the Giants shouldn't be in the market for an impact ball carrier, but eyeing depth and special teams in the last couple of rounds is prudent.
Onterio McCalebb is blazing fast. But he's a seventh-round project because he's not a true running back. He's more of a specialist that can be used on screens, jet sweeps, perimeter runs and in the return game. Dennis Johnson doesn't run like McCalebb, doesn't have size like Brown and doesn't have Wilson's burst, but he's the consummate reliable backup who does a little bit of everything.
Wide Receiver The Draft Board
7th round Emory Blake, Auburn (6-1, 196)
Brandon Kaufman, EWU (6-5, 216)
Ryan Spadola, Lehigh (6-1, 204)
There's no question signing Victor Cruz trumps everything at receiver. He's a restricted free agent and the Giants can't afford to let him leave. That said, expect Cruz to return alongside Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle. Given that triumvirate, there's little chance the Giants will draft a receiver until late on Day 3, if at all.
Emory Blake's production suffered due to quarterback inconsistencies at Auburn, but he's great value in the seventh round. Brandon Kaufman has great size and will catch the football going across the middle, while Ryan Spadola stood out at the combine with his complete set of skills and tremendous hands. Any of the three would compete for the No. 4 wide receiver spot with Jerrel Jernigan and others.
Tight End The Draft Board
1st round Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame (6-6, 252) 2nd round Zach Ertz, Stanford (6-5, 249) 3rd round Vance McDonald, Rice (6-4, 267) 4th round Matt Furstenburg, Maryland (6-3, 242)
Gavin Escobar, SDSU (6-5, 254)
Martellus Bennett went from being a Texas-sized bust in Dallas to a major surprise in New York. He caught 55 passes, 22 more than his previous season high, while scoring five touchdowns. But Bennett is an unrestricted free agent. He wants to get paid but the Giants have other priorities.
The tight ends on the board are not traditional hand-in-the-dirt players. But Manning will love any of them, especially a guy like Tyler Eifert who can line up anywhere on the field and has fly traps for hands. Zach Ertz is similar to Eifert, but he's not quite the all-around player. Vance McDonald put on a show at the combine, but had already opened eyes during the season when he ran jet sweeps as a 267 lb. H-back. Matt Furstenburg didn't have a quarterback that could take advantage of his speed and athleticism, but it's evident how good he is with the ball in his hands.
Offensive line The Draft Board
2nd round T Terron Armstead, Ark.-Pine Bluff (6-5, 306)
T Kyle Long, Oregon (6-6, 313) 3rd round T Menelik Watson, Florida St. (6-5, 310)
T Oday Aboushi, Virginia (6-5, 308) 4th round T/G David Quessenberry, SJSU (6-5, 302)
G/T Brian Winters, Kent St. (6-4, 310) 5th round G J.C Tretter, Cornell (6-4, 307)
Priority No. 1 is the offensive line, in particular bringing back left tackle Will Beatty and guard Kevin Boothe. The Giants signed Beatty to a five-year contract for nearly $39M. The next question is whether Boothe will be re-signed. David Diehl struggled last year, sharing time with unrestricted free agent Sean Locklear while second-year player James Brewer watched from the sidelines. If the Giants brass believes neither Diehl, Locklear nor Brewer is the answer, expect them to focus their draft efforts on offensive linemen that could compete early for that right tackle job or play both guard and tackle.
Terron Armstead has dominated the offseason and turned scouts' heads. His athleticism is off the charts for a man of his size and as he learns the NFL game, he'll improve immensely. When he arrived in Mobile, many thought he would struggle against better competition. Instead, he excelled. Menelik Watson is similar in that he was a basketball player at Marist before he went to junior college and then on to Florida State. His feet are tremendous and he moves like the power forward he used to be.
Defensive line The Draft Board
1st round DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M (6-5, 250) 2nd round DE Sam Montgomery, LSU (6-3, 262)
DE Cornelius Carradine, Fla. St. (6-4, 276) 3rd round DE John Simon, Ohio St. (6-1, 257) 4th round DE Lavar Edwards, LSU (6-4, 277)
Jason Pierre Paul and Justin Tuck have been mainstays in New York but neither had a great deal of success in 2012. The two combined for only 10.5 sacks as the team registered a pedestrian total of 33. Neither is going anywhere, but they could use some company. WIth Osi Umenyiora more than likely on his way out, the Giants have to find an impact player on passing downs. DT Linval Joseph returns to the middle, but the defense needs a boost from former second-rounder Marvin Austin to provide impact from the middle.
With the options on the board, Damontre Moore seems like an ideal pass-rush candidate. Sure, he had a horrid weekend at the combine, but the one thing he does as well or better than any other edge player in this class is rush the quarterback. If Sam Montgomery fell to the Giants in the second round, it'd be difficult to not snatch up the productive, all-around 4-3 DE. Cornelius Carradine has first round ability, but because he tore his ACL, teams may avoid taking him until late in the second round.
Linebackers The Draft Board
1st round ILB/OLB Alec Ogletree, Georgia (6-2, 246)
ILB Kevin Minter, LSU (6-0, 246) 2nd round ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame (6-1, 241)
ILB/OLB Arthur Brown, K-State (6-0, 238) 3rd round ILB Jon Bostic, Florida (6-1, 245)
ILB Kiko Alonso, Oregon (6-3, 238)
The Giants have major questions at linebacker. They began the offseason by cutting Michael Boley, opening one hole in the linebacking corps. Mathias Kiwanuka returns, but leading tackler Chase Blackburn and Keith Rivers are unrestricted free agents. As such, both MLB and WLB positions are wide open to competition. As great as the story would be, Mark Herzlich may not be the answer if Blackburn isn't brought back. Both he and Jacquian Williams are better off as versatile fourth linebacker options as opposed to starters.
Alec Ogletree's off-the-field issues have been well documented, but his speed, athleticism and versatility would fit extremely well in Perry Fewell's defense, either inside or outside. Kevin Minter has the potential to be the Giants middle linebacker for the next eight to ten years. He can thump, reads and deciphers plays well and is a leader in the middle. No. 19 is perhaps a bit too high for Minter, but there are a number of teams below the Giants that have the need as well. Arthur Brown didn't enamor himself to scouts and GMs at the combine by choosing not to compete/work out but he explodes to the football from sideline to sideline.
Secondary The Draft Board
3rd round S Phillip Thomas, Fresno St. (6-1, 208)
S D.J Swearinger, S. Carolina (5-11, 208) 4th round S T.J McDonald, USC (6-3, 219) 5th round S Zeke Motta, Notre Dame (6-2, 213) 7th round S Cody Davis, Texas Tech (6-2, 204)
The Giants have made a significant investment at the corner position throughout the Tom Coughlin reign. This could be a year in which the draft investment is made in the safety position, albeit with more of a long-term investment. Kenny Phillips is an unrestricted free agent and not expected back. Strong safety Stevie Brown is a restricted free agent and Antrel Rolle will be 31 before the end of the year. At corner, Terrell Thomas returns, but after missing two years with injuries, there's no telling what he has left in the tank. However, the team spent a first-round pick on Prince Amukamara and a third-round selection on Jayron Hosley over the past two years to hedge that particular risk.
Thomas is a rangy talent who can play near the line of scrimmage or deep in the middle of the field. D.J. Swearinger is a hammer that announces his presence with fearless striking and he'll make an immediate impact on special teams. T.J. McDonald was a bit of a disappointment last season and makes the majority of his plays closer to the line of scrimmage. Zeke Motta didn't test well at the combine but he's a good tackler with anticipation skills that make up for average speed.
John Harris hosts The John Harris Show for Yahoo! Sports Radio.
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