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The defensive line question

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Fred Robbins

When the off-season began I started looking at a series of questions facing our New York Giants next season.

I want to look at one that might not be as obvious as the linebacker or wide receiver questions but is nonetheless an area that needs to be discussed.

The defensive line.

The first question, of course, is will Mathias Kiwanuka be a defensive end or a linebacker in 2009?

I think he should stay at defensive end, and if I had to guess right now I would say that is where he will be for the rest of his career.

When the Giants won the Super Bowl in the 2007 season they were able to rotate Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck at defensive end, and occasionally line up Kiwanuka at tackle as a pass rusher. The Giants led the league with 53 quarterback sacks.

This season the Giants did not have that kind of depth with Strahan retired and Umenyiora hurt, and they eventually paid for it. Thirty of the teams 42 sacks came in its first eight games. The second half of the season the line wore down and opposing quarterbacks were rarely pressured unless the Giants sold out and blitzed a corner or safety.

Leaving Kiwanuka at defensive end solves that problem, giving the Giants a solid three-defensive end rotation. Moving him to linebacker might or might not help the linebacking corps, but definitely still leaves the Giants thin on the line.

We still have not discussed defensive tackle, where I also think the Giants could use an upgrade. At the least, they need more depth at the position.

The Giants went through most of the season with only three defensive tackles on the roster, and that isn't enough. You simply can't have an undersized guy like Dave Tollefson or Renaldo Wynn lining up at tackle, which the Giants were occasionally forced to do.

Fred Robbins is coming off another very good season, and I think both Barry Cofield and Jay Alford are decent members of a tackle rotation. But, I think the position could use some help.

I wouldn't mind seeing the Giants use a first-day draft choice to try and find another run-stuffing defensive tackle, or try and find a veteran free agent to add to the mix at tackle.

Your thoughts?