Earlier this week we talked about the New York Giants possibly still targeting the safety position for potential upgrades via free agency. Another position I believe might be worthy of attention is defensive tackle, so let's take a look at who might still be available on the free-agent market.
Before we get into who is available, though, let's take a quick look at why the position might need attention.
The Giants return both starters from last season, Chris Canty and Linval Joseph. Both are quality players, but Canty is recuperating from offseason knee surgery, so insurance would be nice. Last season the Giants had veterans Rocky Bernard and Jimmy Kennedy, and even rotated Dave Tollefson in at tackle on some occasions. Tollefson is gone, and it seems unlikely Bernard or Kennedy will be brought back.
The Giants did sign Shaun Rogers, the 340-pound three-time Pro Bowler. Rogers, though, has not been more than a bit player for the past couple of seasons and his best football is well behind him. The also drafted Markus Kuhn from North Carolina State in the seventh round.
The only other recognizable defensive tackle on the Giants' roster is Marvin Austin, the 2011 second-round pick. The Giants have admitted concern about Austin, though, since he missed all of last season with a torn pectoral muscle and has not played football in two years. Remember, Austin did not play his final season at North Carolina after being dismissed from the team for receiving improper benefits.
So, are there any defensive tackles worth considering still available on the free-agent market?
The full list of available players can be found at Walter Football. There are only a couple of players I found on the list I thought were worth consideration. Here they are:
Marcus Thomas, Denver Broncos -- A 26-year-old four-year veteran. A 6-foot-3, 314-pound player who has only one sack in four seasons, but comes with a reputation as being a solid run defender. In 2011, Pro Football Focus graded Thomas +9.7 against the run, 10th-best in the NFL among defensive tackles.
Fred Robbins, St. Louis Rams -- The 35-year-old former Giant is still around, and still playing much better football than the Giants thought he could when they let him go before the 2010 season. He was +9.0 overall last season, according to PFF, including +11.1 against the run. He doesn't get to the quarterback like he once could, but is still a useful player.
Oh, and Albert Haynesworth is available, too. But, I think we know that isn't happening.
Thoughts? Am I right that the Giants could use more depth and competition at the tackle spot?