Written by: Barry Lewis on April 23, 2011
The New York Football Giants were one tiebreaker away from making the playoffs last season after it finished 10-6 behind a strong defensive front 7, a wonderful second half showing from RB Brandon Jacobs, and their triple threat wideouts in Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham along with QB Eli Manning.
Their problem was consistency and finishing games. After being revered as a early Super Bowl favorite when they started 6-2, the Giants crumbled. Following losses to the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants won three in a row and stood at 9-4. Then they blew a game against the Eagles at home and were destroyed by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers at Leaping Lambeau Field. That ended their playoff hopes.
If the Giants are looking to become a Super Bowl Champion again, they need to stay healthy (see Jacobs, Nick and Smith), and they need to finish off games like the one that they blew at home against the Eagles when Michael Vick led an effort that scored 28 unanswered points in the 4th quarter.
The Giants have needs on both sides of the ball. They could upgrade the left side of their offensive line as well as secure a future replacement for aging center Shaun O’Hara. They could also look for a long-term replacement at running back if Jacobs breaks down and RB Ahmad Bradshaw has future foot issues. While WR Steve Smith suffered a serious knee injury, they should be fine at wideout.
On defense, the Giants could look toward a replacement for OLB Keith Bullock who is turning 34 and possibly replace FS Antrele Rolle who is owed $5.25 million next year. Finally, the punter position was a disaster for the Giants last year and they desperately need a punter who will win the job and hold onto it.
Instead of addressing the offensive line at pick 19 with someone like OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College, they decided to select DT Corey Liuget who should compete for a starting role versus Barry Cofield and Chris Canty. In the 3rd and 5th rounds, the Giants addressed their outside linebacking positions by selecting Chris Carter, Fresno State, and Lawrence Wilson, UConn. Carter is a solid value in the 3rd round who should also compete for a starting role in year one and Wilson was solid value at pick 198 because his draft grade is in the late 4th/early 5th round and could be a fit at weakside linebacker.
The Giants addressed potential fits for the left side of their offensive line in the 2nd and 4th rounds by selecting OG Ben Ijalana, Villanova and OT Jason Pinkston, Pittsburgh. Ijalana should immediately compete for a starting role and Pinkston will likely be a starter by year two and were drafted in line with their draft grades (Ijalana, late 1st/early 2nd; Pinkston, late 3rd/early 4th).
Furthering the Giants draft efforts, they addressed their special teams issues by selecting Nebraska RB Roy Helu and top rated punter Chas Henry, Florida.
The Giants deserve a grade of A- because the Liuget pick was made and the Giants were still able to address the left side of their offensive line in Ijalana/Pinkston; by getting a punter in Henry; getting a good 3rd down back who can return kicks in Helu, and addressing a long term solution at linebacker in Carter.
The quality of Liuget, Ijalana, Carter, Pinkston as well as Helu and Henry shows that the Giants, if they decide to deploy this strategy as shown in the Twitter draft, would show a solid performance in getting four starters and two who would be critical to special teams.