I recently wrote an analysis of the Offense, covering which offensive positions had the biggest holes, and projecting which position the Giants were most likely to draft with their 12th overall pick.
At first, I assumed that it was a foregone conclusion that the Giants were going to pick a offensive player in the first round, but after taking a step back and going through all the positions, I realized that It's just as likely a defensive player could be picked.So in this Fanpost, I'll be covering all the Defensive positions and predicting which position the Giants are most likely to draft in the First Round. It might be silly to do this before free agency, but It's still worth taking a look at it.
DE= This is a tantalizing position. JPP could be dominant, but he can't seem to shake the injury bug. And when he finally got over his knee injury and started to look like the JPP of old, he injured his shoulder against the Raiders, effectively ending his season. With a full offseason to recuperate and train, hopefully JPP will be 100% when next season starts. There's also Damontre Moore, a third-round pick from 2013. Moore is undoubtedly a talented player, but thanks to Coughlin's stubborn ideals, Moore got very little playing time. We have no idea if he can be a contributor in 2014. He'll likely get snaps in 2014, but we don't know if he'll excel or do poorly. He just can't be trusted as of now. And then there's Tuck.....a polarizing player. He played well overall last year, but he didn't really get his pass-rush going until later in the season, and even then, he got the majority of his sacks against sub-par offensive lines. But he can still play against the Run, and he's a natural leader on and off the field. At this point in his career, he should be nothing more than a rotational player. If he's resigned, he can offer valuable depth and leadership at the DE position, but I have a feeling another team will out bid the Giants for his services. Who am I forgetting? Oh yeah, that's right. Kiwanuka. One of the worst overall DE's in the league. He was horrible in every aspect of the game. He is NOT the solution, and he sure as hell shouldn't be on this team in 2014. Jerry Reese would be wise to cut him. And if he stays, like I said, he isn't the solution. He'll be nothing more than depth. DE will still be a need. But when it comes to picking a DE with the 12th overall pick, I don't see it happening. Clowney will be long gone. Kony Ealy is a good, athletic prospect, but he is a bit of a risky pick with his poor technique and questionable work ethnic. Picking a DE in the first round likely won't happen. The Giants can still nab quality DE's in the later rounds, like Jackson Jeffcoat or Scott Crichton.
Verdict= Won't Happen
DT= This position lives and dies on Joseph. If he stays, DT will be the strongest position the giants have. Joseph and Hankins would create one of the NFL's best DT duos. But if Joseph signs with another team, DT does become a slight need. Hankins is the obvious starter going foward, he did excellent in his limited playing time. Joseph isn't a stat monster, but he's a stud against the run and gets pressure up the gut when pass-rushing. Hankins and Jospeh both require double team-blocks, meaning that if the two of them were paired together, they would completely destroy the pocket and free up the DE's on the outside. It's a priority for Reese to resign Joseph. But he might be too expensive. So this position is a question mark for 2014. Cullen Jenkins did well last season, but he's getting up there in age and he's inconsistent against the run. Markus Kuhn is a 7th round pick who's never really gotten playing time. Mike Patterson is a free agent who played poorly down the stretch, but still preformed solidly overall. I think the Giants will pick a DT in the later rounds, hopefully Jay Bromley out of Syracuse, but it's unlikely they'll pick a DT in the first Round. There's multiple intriguing DT prospects that will be available at the 12th pick, but none of them are truly elite and there's more pressing needs to address. If Joseph is resigned, spending a first round pick on a DT would be downright stupid.
Verdict= Won't Happen
MLB= If Beason is resigned, this position will be a strength. Beason only played 11 games, but he led the Giants in tackles, and helped glue the defense together. He's also a leader on the field, and helped shut down many top-tier RB's. He may struggle against the Pass, but that's typical for NFL MLB's. Beason is a must-sign, since there's nobody on the roster who can replace him. Herzlich is a good story, but he got his chance and blew it. He's good enough to be a ST's player, and he offers good depth, but he just isn't good enough to be a starter. Allen Bradford is an unknown. If Beason is resigned, which seems very likely, then drafting a MLB in the first round would be out of the question. CJ Mosley is the only MLB worthy of being drafted that high. The Giants will likely look to add depth/prospects at MLB in the draft, just not in the First Round. CJ Mosley is a distinct possibility, but it just doesn't seem likely.
OLB= This is arguably the deepest position in this year's draft. Prospects like CJ Mosley, Anthony Barr, Khalil Mack, and Kyle Van Noy are all great players, and most of them will be available when the Giants pick. However, Perry Fewell doesn't really use his linebackers to the best of their abilities. My concern is if the Giants draft a Playmaking OLB like Mack or Barr, they'll just play a traditional role and won't be able to use their elite pass-rushing abilities. Fewell almost never blitzes linebackers. However, he has adapted his defense in the past to better fit his players, and the Giants haven't had a pass-rushing LB in decades; Fewell has never had a OLB who can blitz. Ihe could possibly change his schme to better fit that player. Currently, there really isn't anything special at OLB. Williams has potential, but he still hasen't developed against the run enough thanks to the Injury Bug. Paysinger played decently, but he isn't athletic enough to be relied on. Keith Rivers was nothing special. The defense lacked a playmaker in 2013, and adding an explosive player like Mack or Barr would instantly help the defense create turnovers. As of right now, I think Reese will draft a OLB with the 12th pick. Personally, I prefer Mack. Barr is too unpolished and Raw. Kyle Van Noy is better suited as a 3-4 ILB. CJ Mosley is a good player, but he has a concerning injury history, and he's a natural MLB, not a OLB. Mack is a three down player, he's a beast in Pass-Rushing, he has the instincts to make plays against the run, and he has the speed to drop back in coverage. If he falls to the 12th pick, I think Reese will pull the trigger on him.