Jason Pierre-Paul is a free agent, and while the New York Giants obviously want him back there are no guarantees that will happen. Mathias Kiwanuka has been ineffective the past two seasons, had knee surgery at the end of the 2014 season, and his career may be over. Robert Ayers is still not lifting weights after suffering a torn pectoral muscle. Other than Johnathan Hankins, the Giants rotation at defensive tackle is full of question marks.
The Giants have a new/old defensive coordinator in Steve Spagnuolo, who made his reputation with the Giants in 2007 and 2008 as an aggressive coordinator who found creative ways to employ a multitude of pass rushers.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said Thursday that more pass rushers would be a "great addition" to the team's defense.
So yes, the Giants will certainly be paying attention Sunday when defensive linemen go through on-field workouts during the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Let's look at some of the defensive linemen to watch on Sunday. Coverage begins on NFL Network and a variety of online and mobile platforms at 9 a.m. ET.
Danny Shelton, Washington -- A 6-foot-2, 340-pound player considered a top 10 pick and often mocked to the Giants. "I don't know that he's going to be there at nine, but If he is I think he'd be in the conversation," said Scott Wright of Draft Countdown.
Arik Armstead, Oregon -- A freakish 6-foot-7, 296-pound player somewhat surprisingly mocked to the Giants at No. 9 this week by Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com. SB Nation draft analyst Dan Kadar doesn't believe Armstead makes sense for the Giants, but freakish athletes always get the attention of GM Jerry Reese.
Eddie Goldman, Florida State -- Like Davis, gets a late-first to early-second round grade from CBS Sports. Our own 'Invictus' does not see Goldman as a great fit for the Giants.
Malcom Brown, Texas -- The ninth pick seems too early, the 40th pick seems too late.
Mike Mayock's Top Five
1. Leonard Williams, USC
2. Danny Shelton, Washington
3. Malcom Brown, Texas
4. Arik Armstead, Oregon
5t. Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma
5t. Eddie Goldman, Florida State
This is where it gets interesting for the Giants. As Wright told me, "That's definitely an area they like to prioritize with their premium resources."
Dante Fowler, Florida -- Asked who the toughest collegiate player they have ever had to block, offensive lineman after offensive lineman at the Combine have named Fowler. At 6-foot-3, 260 pounds he has the size to be a traditional 4-3 defensive end. Might be gone before the Giants pick at No. 9.
Randy Gregory, Nebraska -- Considered the premier defensive end in the class. The problem for the Giants is that Gregory is 240 pounds. Damontre Moore struggles to play the run at about 255. Can Gregory be hand-in-the-dirt defensive end while weighing below 250?
Shane Ray, Missouri -- Often mocked to the Giants and considered to be a "dominant pass rusher." Again, the problem for the Giants is whether or not he is big enough to be a 4-3 defensive end.
Alvin 'Bud' Dupree, Kentucky -- 'Invictus' has a man-crush on Dupree [prospect profile | film study]. He is often mocked to the Giants at No. 9, is without doubt a dynamic pass rusher and has the size at 6-4, 267 to play 4-3 defensive end. The problem is Kentucky used him as a standup 3-4 outside linebacker far more than as a 4-3 defensive end. The Giants have to project him with his hand in the ground, which is risky.
Lynden Trail, Norfolk State -- A potential mid-round pick the Giants reportedly became enamored with during the Senior Bowl. Trail is 6-6, 262 and Wright says he "absolutely looks the part. A really good athlete. Could project to be a defensive end or outside linebacker." Diamond Talbot of NFL Draft Diamonds said Trail is "a freak athlete who can play both sides of the ball. He is a very athletic kid who drops in coverage well."
Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA -- Considered a probably second-round pick. The Giants met with him during the Senior Bowl.
Mayock's Top Five
There are others, of course. This is just a handful of the guys the Giants might end up considering.