After an 0-6 start, most Giants fans knew that 2013 was a lost cause. We saw a team that was dysfunctional at best, an offensive line that looked like a game of red rover, wide receivers that were disengaged and ineffective, a TE that shouldn't be an NFL TE, and a slew of castoff running backs that kept falling one after another to injury, and that was the offense. On defense we couldn't get pressure on opposing QB's, our Linebacker play was abysmal until Beason's arrival, and our secondary was a patchwork unit of journeymen and former studs. We were solid against the run thanks to the big butts in the middle, and once Will Hill returned from his suspension, our safety play was fantastic.
We went into FA with around two dozen of our own players hitting free agency, and a laundry list of needs.
OG, C, OT, TE, WR, RB, DT, DE, LB, CB, PR/KR
With $25mil to spend and an inspired Jerry Reese, we went to work and absolutely dominated Free Agency.
OG- Geoff Schwartz (4 years $16.8m, $6.2mil guaranteed)
C- JD Walton (2 years $5mil, $3mil guaranteed)
OT- John Jerry (1 year $770,00)
WR- Mario Manningham (1 year $795,000)
RB- Rashad Jennings (4 years $10mil, $2.98mil guaranteed)
LB- Jameel McClain (2 years $4.5mil) Jon Beason (3 years $16.8mil, $6.03mil guaranteed)
CB- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (5 years $35mil, $13.98 guaranteed) Walter Thurmond (1 year $3.5mil)
Trumaine McBride (2 years $2.875mil)
S -Quentin Demps (1 year $1mil)
KR/PR- Trindon Holliday (1 year $700,000)
Now we still have needs at DE, DT, and TE, and we could use more depth at OT, WR, and LB. According to PFT, we have $3.69mil left in cap space as of now plus David Baas' post june 1 cut freeing up another $5mil or so on june 2. That isn't a lot of money, but it may be just enough for Jerry Reese to score another huge win in Free Agency.
In my opinion, our biggest priority at this point should be the pass rush. As of now, we have to rely on JPP to get healthy, Damontre Moore to heal from his offseason shoulder surgery and take a big step forward in his development, Kiwi to not suck again this year, and 33 year old Cullen Jenkins to provide pressure from the 3-technique. That's not very comforting to me. Now our revamped secondary is now full of quality press corners who excel in coverage, so the pass rush will have more time to get to the QB, but i would still feel better if we could get another veteran pass rusher.
Enter Robert Ayers, the 28 year old 6'3'' 275lb first round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2009. According to PFF, he graded out as the 14th best 43 DE in the NFL in 2013. He finished the season with 25 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 7 QB hits, and 40 hurries. He's not a sack machine, but he's a quality run defender and can consistently get pressure on QB's. For some reason, Ayers has lasted 3 weeks on the open market, which means he's not going to be getting a huge deal. With any luck, JR can work some salary cap magic (extend Rolle) and free up some more space, and sign Ayers to a say 2 year $8mil deal. A DE rotation of JPP, Ayers, Moore, Kiwi, and a rookie sounds much more encouraging than what we currently have and takes a big need and turns it into a mid-late round problem.
Now with this amazing Free Agency all but over, we can turn our attention to the draft. I hope my mock is acceptable to you fine people, but im sure you'll let me know.
12- Aaron Donald DT Pittsburgh
43- Morgan Moses OT Virginia
74- Kareem Martin DE North Carolina
113- Arthur Lynch TE Georgia
152- Brandon Coleman WR Rutgers
174- Bryan Stork C Florida State
187- Ronald Powell OLB Florida
So in conclusion, between JR's brilliant FA, the signing of Ayers, and the draft, every need has been addressed and the training camp depth chart (pre UDFA signings) should look like this
QB- Eli, Painter, Nassib
OT- Beatty, Pugh, Moses, Brewer, Reynolds
OG- Snee, Schwartz, Jerry, Mosley, Herman
C- Walton, Stork, Goodin
RB- Jennings, Wilson, Hillis, Cox
FB- Connor, Hynoski
WR- Randle, Cruz, Jernigan, Manningham, Coleman, Talley
TE- Lynch, Robinson, Donnell, Fells
DE-JPP, Moore, Ayers, Kiwi, Martin
DT- Donald, Hankins, Jenkins, Patterson, Kuhn
OLB- Williams, Paysinger, McClain, Powell
MLB- Beason, Herzlich, Bradford
CB- DRC, Amukumara, Thurmond, McBride, Hosley, James
S-Hill, Rolle, Brown, Demps, Taylor
I would say that this is a quality roster. Thoughts.