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Analyzing the Giants draft needs

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Let's begin our draft two-a-days with an overview of the Giants needs.

Judging by the results of the draft poll on the right side of this site, most of you agree with me that defense needs to be rookie GM Jerry Reese's priority in the draft.

That's not to say that should the Giants feel the best player on the board is an offensive one that they should ignore him. I am a big believer in taking the best player available, regardless of what your needs are on paper.

With injuries so prevalent, you never know exactly what your needs will be in any season. Many scratched their heads last year when the Giants took DE Mathias Kiwanuka No. 1, figuring there was no place for him to play.

Kiwanuka, however, became a key player when Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck went down with injuries. So, take the best player.

That said, there are a few areas you have to hope the Giants are able to address with some of their selections. Let's look at them.

Cornerback -- In the BBV poll, this is tops on your list when it comes to how the Giants should use their No. 1 pick. A play-making corner is a definite need. Corey Webster may still develop, but he's been a disappointment in his first two years, and Sam Madison is still good but he's on the downside. R.W. McQuarters is a decent nickel back, no more.

Linebacker -- The Giants released the overpaid LaVar Arrington and the unproductive Carlos Emmons, and will probably let veteran Brandon Short go as well. They signed Kawika Mitchell from Kansas City to team with MLB Antonio Pierce, but have no other proven players here. Gerris Wilkinson, last year's No. 3 pick, might be ready to step in but this unit is another primary need.

Wide Receiver -- With Amani Toomer coming back from an injury, Tim Carter traded to Cleveland and Sinorice Moss still an unknown, the Giants could another playmaker to join Plaxico Burress and TE Jeremy Shockey as targets for Eli Manning.

Offensive Tackle -- The Giants released long-time left tackle Luke Petitgout and are likely to move David Diehl from left guard into that spot with Rich Seubert taking over at guard. If, however, a potential franchise type left tackle were to fall to the Giants in the first round that would be a logical selection. Failing that, selecting offensive line depth in a later round is always a good idea.

Other Needs -- In my mind, the four positions listed above are the primary needs. There are other positions that would be nice to address, however. Among them are:

-- A third-down type running back. Brandon Jacobs and Reuben Droughns are power guys. A pass-catching scatback in a middle round would be an excellent choice.

-- A safety. Gibril Wilson and Will Demps both underachieved last season, and the Giants have to hope both play better. Someone to push them for playing time would be nice.

-- A tight end. Visanthe Shiancoe is gone, and a blocking tight end to back up Jeremy Shockey would be a nice catch.

-- A defensive tackle. The more run-stopping DTs you can collect the better. William Joseph and Jonas Seawright are not the answers.

-- A kick returner. The Giants desperately need to improve both their coverage and return games. Finding someone who can occasionally break a return should be a priority.

Your thoughts?

I'll be back later with today's second installment. That will be a look at the intrigue surrounding Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. Who will select him and how good will he be?