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New York Giants' Positional Reviews: Defensive end

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Reviewing the performance of the New York Giants' defensive ends in 2012 and looking toward possible changes at that position for 2013.

There were not enough plays like this from Jason Pierre-Paul in 2012
There were not enough plays like this from Jason Pierre-Paul in 2012

Let's continue our positional reviews for the New York Giants with a look at defensive end. This is, of course, the position the Giants' defense is built around and it is largely a group that let the Giants down in 2012. Let's look at the personnel.

Jason Pierre-Paul -- His sack numbers went down from 16.5 in 2011 to 6.5 in 2012, but Pierre-Paul was still a force. He had a team-leading 13 tackles for loss and a +23.7 rating from Pro Football Focus. Pierre-Paul also had four quarterback hits and 44 hurries. In addition, he is a premier run defender.

Osi Umenyiora -- Had a good year in 2012, which was almost certainly his final one in New York. Umenyiora had just six sacks, but did have seven quarterback hits and 32 hurries, second on the Giants to Pierre-Paul.

Justin Tuck -- The 2012 season was the second straight sub-par year for the Giants' defensive captain. He had 45 tackles (four for loss) and four sacks. What kind of player the eight-year veteran can be going forward is a good question.

Mathias Kiwanuka -- I am listing Kiwanuka with the defensive ends because he played on the line almost exclusively the second half of the 2012 season. Defensive end is a more natural position for him than linebacker, but regardless 2012 was a disturbingly quiet season for Kiwanuka. He made only 31 tackles (five for loss) and had three sacks in 539 snaps played.

Adrian Tracy -- Tracy filled the roster spot vacated when Dave Tollefson left for Oakland via free agency, but played mostly special teams. He was really only used heavily on defense in a couple of games, coming up with seven tackles (one for loss), one sack and a forced fumble. It's really tough to tell if the 25-year-old can be a productive NFL defensive end -- we just haven't seen enough.

Adewale Ojomo -- Ojomo, a rookie who made the 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent with an impressive preseason (10 tackles, four sacks) was pretty much a forgotten player during the regular season. Fans called for him to get an opportunity, but he was active for only one game.

2013 Outlook

The 2013 NFL Draft appears to be flush with top-notch defensive ends, and that could be a good thing for the Giants. Umenyiora is out the door and there are legitimate questions about exactly how much the Giants can expect to get from the remaining defensive ends not named Pierre-Paul. If the Giants chose to add a pass-rushing defensive end early in the draft no one would be surprised.

As for Pierre-Paul, the Giants need to figure out a way get him back to the pass-rushing form he showed in 2011.