Markus Kuhn is a player New York Giants fans love to hate. When it comes to the team's defensive tackle position, though, Kuhn's shortcomings aren't the only cause for concern. Let's look at how the players at that position performed in 2015, and what the Giants need to do to address the position going forward.
2015 season in review
When looking at the shortcomings of the Giants' defense in 2015, most of the attention goes to the defensive end, linebacker and safety spots. Defensive tackle, however, is another position where you can argue that the Giants simply weren't good enough.
The team's best defensive tackle, Johnathan Hankins, played in only nine games before suffering a season-ending pectoral injury. Aging veteran Cullen Jenkins and 2012 seventh-round pick Markus Kuhn were try-hard guys who really didn't have much to give. Jay Bromley, the 2014 second-round pick, didn't earn consistent playing time until Kuhn went down with a season-ending knee injury.
There wasn't enough ability from this group to collapse the pocket in passing situations or to hold the point of attack against the run. It's in vogue, and correct, to pick on Giants linebackers. When you don't have defensive tackles who can give them a clean path to the ballcarrier, though, it doesn't help.
Is this a position of need?
Yes. First and foremost, the Giants need a healthy season from Hankins. He is easily the best player they have at the position. Secondly, it would be nice to see Bromley get an extended opportunity. He did not play regularly until the final four weeks of the season, and that is unfortunate.
At this point, it is hard to believe that either Jenkins or Kuhn will be back next season. Montori Hughes and Barry Cofield might be able to provide depth, but it's doubtful either can be a difference-maker. Here is a list of the defensive tackles scheduled to become free agents. Whether it is via the draft or free agency the Giants can't overlook their need to improve the interior of their defensive line.