Reading the draft grades from all of the different media outlets, the Giants have received generally favorable reviews. In fact, some loved the Giants draft while the main criticism revolved around Jerry Reese not addressing their primary needs early enough.
The positions of need listed by NFL.com were: OL LB DL RB S
With the obvious needs at OL and LB.
I would argue that the need at LB is not as great as everyone makes it out to be. What is not being taken into account is the youth the Giants have at linebacker. Just like everyone was screaming about our wide receiver need after we lost Plax, Jerry stuck with his wide receivers he had drafted, trusting that they would develop. In 2010 the Giants drafted Dillard in the 4th and Tracy in the 6th. In 2009 the Giants select Sintim in the 2nd round and 2008 brought Kehl and Goff. Obviously Kehl is gone.
Now in 2011 we’ve brought Greg Jones and Jacquain Williams. I see Williams as more of a developmental player that will mostly contribute to special teams. So looking at the Giants linebacking core, Boley is locked in at WILL. Now at MIKE we have a competition between Goff, Dillard, and Jones. Goff showed he can be adequate, showing up better as a run stuffer. All three of these guys are young and only going to get better, Goff having the most experience entering his 3rd year. If Dillard or Jones win the job this frees up Goff to compete with Sintim for the starting SAM job. Sintim is a 2nd round pick and needs show up, but if he doesn’t Goff could move over.
So in my opinion Reese has done a good job of getting young guys in here to compete for the LB positions who will just keep getting better every year. By drafting Jones he has basically created a competition for the SAM and MIKE between Goff, Dillard, Sintim, and Jones with the best combination winning. I think we will have a good group of young linebackers that will keep improving.
As opposed to the linebackers who are young and developing, the OL is aging and needs to start turning over in the next few years. I think by drafting Brewer instead of an interior lineman, it signals the scenario of Beatty taking over at left tackle to free up Diehl to move inside. This gives the Giants a slightly younger line of Beatty-Diehl-O’Hara-Snee-McKenzie with some solid backups: Seubert, Koets, Boothe, Petrus, and Brewer developing. In case of an injury, Diehl could always move back to tackle. I think if the Giants can grab one solid lineman in free agency, the Giants will have a solid OL for 2011 with adequate backups to cover their age. We do need to add more youth in the coming years either by free agency or the draft.
Remember that this was a 10-6 team last year. None of these positions performed so bad as to keep the Giants from being a very good team. I think Jerry Reese has the right idea by trying to put difference makers on the field instead of filling perceived needs that I don’t think are as urgent as everyone makes them out to be. These difference makers will be the ones that put us over the hump and back to the status of an elite team. I think everyone will see this when our developing linebackers start performing just like our receivers did when they emerged 2 years ago.