2. Offensive line
3 Tight End
4. Running back
UltimateNYG has been concerned about the Giants linebacker position for many years. It is time for the Giants, if a player is available, to use their first round selection on a linebacker. Since 2000, the Giants have used free agency to upgrade the linebacker position. Although this stop gap approach has worked, (signings of Mike Barrow and Antonio Pierce) the Giants have not gotten enough mileage out of these guys. Why? When Barrow signed with the Giants, he had been with two previous teams. Drafted in 1993 in the second round by the Oilers, Barrow played four years in Houston. Subsequently, he played three years in Carolina. Before signing with the Giants in 2000, he had been in the league for seven years. And the Giants just had him for three fruitful seasons. As for Pierce, he was an undrafted player picked up by Washington in 2001. Before signing with the Giants in 2005, Pierce played for Washington for four years. Like Barrow, Pierce played very well for the Giants but was wearing blue for only five years. His last season in 2009 was cut short due to injury. As a result, Pierce was in action for nine games. Nonetheless, the Giants need to get more longevity out of their linebackers. In order for them to do this, they have to begin drafting linebackers in the first round.
Needless to say, the current linebacking corps is drek. Goff, Boley, and Sintim are not getting the job done. The reserves are not much to talk about either. Because of the dearth of talent at linebacker, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was creative in using a safety Deon Grant at linebacker. It worked at times but when teams like the Colts went into a two tight end formation, Grant was no match for the larger offensive linemen and tight ends. The mismatch was apparent as the Colts gained 160 yards rushing. More importantly, while being interviewed by Mike Francesa, Giants co-owner John Mara informed listeners linebacker is an area the Giants will upgrade.
Speaking of upgrades, the Giants offensive line needs retooling. Despite having a solid offensive line for the last four years, injuries, age, and the inability to salt games away is the reasons to acquire new players. Besides being long in the tooth, Giants center Shaun O'Hara and guard Rich Seubert had to have offseason surgery. Recently, after undergoing a successful surgery, Seubert plans to return in 2011. On the contrary, O'Hara's future with the Giants looks nebulous. New York Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano pointed out: O’Hara turns 34 in June and is under contract through next season. Given his age and health concerns, though, it’s not a lock he’ll be back next season. He’s due to make a salary of $3.45 million in 2011, so his future could be determined by the size of the salary cap and the details of the next collective bargaining agreement between the players’ union and the NFL. The other question mark along the offensive line is the tackle position. Is Shawn Andrews going to return? How much does Kareem McKenzie have left in the tank? Is William Beatty an answer at left tackle? Is David Diehl's time up playing left tackle? At this time, unfortunately, there is more questions than answers. As the offseason unfolds, it will be interesting to see what the Giants will do to revamp the offensive line.
The Giants have a dilemma at the tight end position. Starter and stalwart Kevin Boss required offseason hip surgery. Couple this with his multiple concussions, how many years left does he have in the NFL? Filling in for injured fullback Madison Hedgecock, reserve tight end Bear Pascoe flourished as a blocking back. Since he played admirably at fullback, it would behoove the Giants to let him have this role in 2011. And the Giants have a poor blocking Travis Beckum as the other tight end on their current roster. With the tight end evolving as a position in which offensive coordinators can create mismatches, it would be in the best interests of the Giants to scoop up two tight ends in the offseason. Case in point, back in 2006, Bill Parcells said the following about a two tight end formation:
"The nickel player nowadays is a 500- or 600-play player," says Parcells. "He's
playing about half the time, so he's considered a specialist. He's working on
being a nickelback. My contention is the matchup that you get with an additional
tight end against a normal safety or normal linebacker is really more
advantageous than what you get by deploying your third wide receiver in the game
and having defenses put their specialty player in."
Since Coughlin has been the head coach, the Giants have not valued the tight end position. Gone are Jeremy Shockey and Visanthe Shiancoe. And going into the 2010 season, Coughlin kept two tight ends on the active roster. ( Boss and Beckum)
Lastly, the Giants need to inject more speed at running back. Although Ahmad Bradshaw's contract expired, the Giants will resign him to a new deal. Behind Bradshaw, the Giants really do not have much depth. Former starter Brandon Jacobs is most likely done. After being a starter for three seasons, Jacobs was demoted to second string. In 2010, Jacobs carried the ball 147 times. This is the fewest amount of carries since 2006 when he played behind Tiki Barber. What is the problem with Jacobs? First, the wear and tear of being pounded has taken a toll on him. From 2007 through 2009, Jacobs carried the ball over 200 times. Former NFL running back Eddie George said, "I think the data shows when you start closing on 30, and you're talking about the end of the life span of a running back, you're not going to be the same player that you were when you were energetic, vibrant, fresh-legged rookie you were at 22, 23 years old." Brandon is knocking on the door of 30. He turns 29 in July. In addition to age, Jacobs is not a threat as a pass catcher. A few days ago, Andy talked about how some teams use screens and flares to a running back. These flat passes to running backs offsets the blitz. Teams are able to move the chains. Going forward, the Giants have to add a running back in 2011.