Apr 302012
 

Giants Sign 10 or 11 Rookie Free Agents: According to Giants’ Director of College Scouting Marc Ross, the Giants signed 10 undrafted rookie free agents on Saturday night. Ross did not reveal any of the names except for FB Joe Martinek (Rutgers). According to various press and internet reports, the Giants have signed 11 players. Since the Giants only have room for 10 rookie free agents on their current roster, one of these players is likely only being invited to the upcoming rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis.

  • FB Joe Martinek, Rutgers
  • WR David Douglas, Arizona
  • WR Julian Talley, Massachusetts
  • WR Damian Davis, Mary Hardin-Baylor
  • OG Stephen Goodin, Nebraska-Kearney
  • OG D’Angelo McCray, Memphis
  • DE Adewale Ojomo, Miami
  • DE Matt Broha, Louisiana Tech
  • LB Jake Muasau, Georgia State
  • S/CB Janzen Jackson, McNeese State
  • S Jojo Nicolas, Miami

For analysis of these signings, see the Draft Review and Rookie Free Agent Signings section of the website.

Osi Umenyiora Upset With Reese Again: After the 2012 NFL Draft was completed on Saturday, General Manager Jerry Reese told the press that DE Osi Umenyiora was offered contract extensions two years in a row but turned down both offers. Yesterday, Umenyiora responded by e-mail to the press.

“Last year I was offered incentives,” wrote Umenyiora. “This year they offered me in guaranteed money, HALF of what they just gave Kiwi guaranteed. HALF. I’m not making that up. Then Jerry tells the world they offered me an extension and I turned it down. And I look like a greedy pig for turning it down. Hilarious…I will be going completely silent after I send you this because it’s obvious talking does nothing!”

Umenyiora is entering the last year of his current 7-year, $41.5 million contract that is scheduled to pay him almost $4 million in salary in 2012. Last week, DE/LB Mathias Kiwanuka was given a three-year contract extension worth a total of $21.75 million, including an $8.5 million signing bonus and $10.95 million in guaranteed money.

“I really haven’t made any definite plans yet,’’ Umenyiora wrote. “I’m quite sure things will only get more interesting.”

Article on HB David Wilson: Giants First Round Pick David Wilson Keeps Going and Going by Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger

Apr 282012
 

Giants Select Four More Players on Final Day of 2012 NFL Draft: The final four rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft were held on Saturday. The Giants selected the following four players:

  • 4th Round: TE Adrien Robinson, Cincinnati
  • 4th Round: OT Brandon Mosley, Auburn
  • 6th Round: OT Matt McCants, Alabama-Birmingham
  • 7th Round: DT Markus Kuhn, N.C. State

For analysis of the selections, as well as reaction from Giants’ officials, see the Draft Review section of the website.

Osi Umenyiora Still a Giant: There was some speculation before the draft that DE Osi Umenyiora might be traded. Umenyiora is entering the last year of his current contract and has made it known he would like a new, lucrative deal.

“All options are open with respect to that,” said General Manager Jerry Reese after the draft. “Our first choice with respect to Osi is that he will play for the Giants and retire as a Giant. That is what we would like to happen. Osi has been offered an extension two years in a row now. So we would still like to make it work. Hopefully it will work out. But all of our options are always open.”

Apr 282012
 

Giants Select WR Rueben Randle and CB Jayron Hosley in Rounds Two and Three: The Giants selected WR Rueben Randle (LSU) in the second round and CB Jayron Hosley (Virginia Tech) in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft on Friday night. For analysis of the selections, as well as reaction from Giants’ officials, see the Draft Review section of the website.

Giants Extend Mathias Kiwanuka’s Contract: The Giants have extended the contract for DE/LB Mathias Kiwanuka for another three seasons. Kiwanuka was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason. Kiwanuka is now signed through the 2015 season. According to The Star-Ledger, the new contract is a 4-year, $21.75 million deal that includes an $8.5 million signing bonus ($10.95 in guaranteed money).

WFAN Interview with HB David Wilson: The audio of yesterday’s WFAN interview with HB David Wilson is available at CBSNewYork.com.

Giants.com Q&A With FB Henry Hynoski: The video of a recent Giants.com Q&A with FB Henry Hynoski is available at Giants.com.

Article on HB David Wilson: David Wilson Sees Himself as Combo of Ray Rice and Arian Foster by Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger

Apr 272012
 

Giants Select HB David Wilson in the First Round: The Giants selected HB David Wilson (Virginia Tech) in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft on Thursday night. For analysis of the selection as well as reaction from Giants’ officials and the player, see the Draft Review section of the website.

Giants Sign DT Shaun Rogers: The Giants have officially signed unrestricted free agent DT Shaun Rogers (New Orleans Saints). The 33-year Rogers spent most of his career with the Lions and Browns and was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2004, 2005, and 2008.

“I’m kind of honored and I appreciated them holding me in a regard enough to put me in along (their defensive line),” Rogers said of joining the Giants. “Those guys are most definitely top-notch pass rushers, defensive linemen right now, especially in their prime. I’m just happy to be a part of that group, those guys are going to help me out and hopefully I can help them out. Hopefully, we can be another Super Bowl champion. You get an opportunity to join an organization of this caliber with lofty goals and a great track record, you go ahead and do that. Hopefully, I can bring some of my experience over the past few years and just fit in and play a part.”

“When you’re sitting out there (on the open free agent market) you always have (retirement) in the back of your head being an 11-year vet – maybe this is the time, is it not the time, how I am feeling, how am I transitioning this offseason?” said Rogers. “There are a lot of variables that play into that whole card. But there was still some interest, so I figured as long as they’re still interested I have something to offer. I still most definitely feel that I can bring something to the table. I might not be exactly like I was in ’06, but I still have some tricks and I still have some good push in me.”

Giants Interested in DT Albert Haynesworth?: According to The Star-Ledger, before the Giants signed DT Shaun Rogers, they were also interested in unrestricted free agent DT Albert Haynesworth, who was waived by the Patriots last season and waived by the Buccaneers in February.

Apr 262012
 

2012 NFL Draft Begins Tonight: The 3-day 2012 NFL Draft begins tonight and will continue through Saturday. For regular updates on who the Giants have selected, with analysis and quotes from Giants’ officials, please check our Draft Review section of the website throughout the evening.

The start times for each day are as follows:

  • Thursday: Round 1 starts at 8:00PM
  • Friday: Rounds 2-3 start at 7:00PM
  • Saturday: Rounds 4-7 start at noon.

Articles on the New York Giants and the 2012 NFL Draft:

Article on HB Da’Rel Scott: Da’Rel Scott Ready for Expanded Role by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on Giants’ Wide Receiving Corps: Hakeem Nicks Thinks Giants Can Find Mario Manningham’s Replacement In-House by Connor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on DE Osi Umenyiora: Osi Umenyiora Eyeing Trade by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on LB Mark Herzlich: Mark Herzlich Feels Giants’ Middle Linebacker Position is His to Win by Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger

Giants.com Q&A With S Tyler Sash: The video of a recent Giants.com Q&A with S Tyler Sash is available at Giants.com.

Apr 232012
 

Articles on the Giants and the 2012 NFL Draft:

FOX News Interview with Manning and Diehl: Video clips of FOX News’ recent interview with QB Eli Manning and OT David Diehl are available at FOXNews.com:

  • Eli Manning Honored at Ole Miss (Video)
  • Web Extra: Shep Sits Down with the New York Giants (Video)

Article on HB D.J. Ware: Ware to Giants: We Don’t Need a RB – I’m Ready by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on TE Martellus Bennett: Giants’ Martellus Bennett Looking to Seize the Moment by Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger

Article on DT Marvin Austin: Giants’ Marvin Austin is Healthy and Eager to Get on the Field After Two Years Off It by Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger

Apr 212012
 

New York Giants Extend Zak DeOssie’s Contract: According to the NFLPA website, the Giants have extended long snapper Zak DeOssie’s contract. DeOssie was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason. Now he is signed through the 2015 season. According to The Star-Ledger, the new deal is worth $3.45 million with $900,000 guaranteed.

Article on the Giants and the Draft: Polian: Giants Among Best Drafters by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on OG Kevin Boothe: Giants’ Kevin Boothe Recalls His Super Bowl XLVI Matchup with Patriots’ Vince Wilfork by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Apr 202012
 

General Manager Jerry Reese’s Pre-Draft Press Conference: The transcript and video of yesterday’s pre-draft press conference with General Manager Jerry Reese are available at Giants.com.

Reese Open to Contract Extension for Umenyiora: General Manager Jerry Reese said yesterday that he is open to a possible contract extension for DE Osi Umenyiora, who has one year remaining on his current contract.

“I’m still open to that,” said Reese. “There’s been a little bit of talk, but it’s a long way to go before we play and a lot of things still for us to do. That’s on our plate as well…Osi has a year left on his contract. He’s not a free agent. We’ll try to address as many of those situations – Osi’s situation and other situations that we have – moving forward.”

However, The Daily News is reporting there have been no negotiations between the Giants and Umenyiora’s camp.

April 19, 2012 New York Giants Injury Update: TE Jake Ballard, who tore an ACL and suffered cartilage damage in one of his knees during the Super Bowl, was asked when he might return to the playing field this year, “My best chance would be mid-season, if at all,” replied Ballard. “A lot of people have ACLs and miss a year. Why should I be lucky enough that I don’t miss the whole entire year? I can’t do anything (about it) now. I’m past that. I’m hurt. I’m trying to get better.”

TE Travis Beckum continues to say he might possibly be back by Week 1 despite tearing an ACL in his knee in the Super Bowl. Beckum says there has been minimum swelling in the knee. “You know what? You’ve got to try to think positive about the situation,” Beckum said. “Obviously I would love to be back by the first game. If I’m not (and am on the) PUP (Physically-Unable-to-Perform List), I don’t necessarily look at it as a bad thing. More time to make sure my knee is 100 percent and to get my body right.”

CB Terrell Thomas, who tore the ACL in one of his knees last preseason, said he won’t do much during the Organized Team Activity (OTA) on-field activities. “Right now I have no desire to participate,” said Thomas. “I’ll be very limited, if anything. I proved myself with this organization. I don’t feel I have anything to prove in OTAs. Training camp is where you make positions and where you take positions.”

DT Chris Canty said yesterday that he is progressing from offseason knee surgery, but he is not sure if he will be participating in on-field activities until training camp.

CB Prince Amukamara says he is still recovering from the stem cell injection procedure he had performed in March that is designed to promote healing in his fractured foot. The procedure is similar to the one that HB Ahmad Bradshaw also recently underwent. Amukamara says he will begin running next month. “I told them I felt 100 percent but they wanted me to not only feel 100 percent but also look it on the x-rays,” said Amukamara. “The x-ray didn’t show quite as much as healing as they wanted to do so…(they’re) just taking all precautions.”

DE Justin Tuck said he thinks the multiple injuries he suffered through last season originated from not working as hard and being too lax during the lockout. “I am just working harder,” Tuck said. “I think last year with all the uncertainty around football, I might’ve ‘laxed’ a little bit with my regimens and I guarantee you that won’t be the case this year…They say that fatigue can make a coward out of all of us. When you get fatigued you start ‘laxing’ on technique, things like that. I think part of the reason why I got hurt early in the year is because I let my guard down and I don’t see myself doing that this year.”

S Chad Jones, who had his leg mutilated in a car accident two years ago, is rehabbing with the team. “Personally, I think he has a long way to go,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “He’s rehabbing. If you see him on the field, you’ll see him rehabbing more than in drills with the players during OTAs and things like that. We wanted to get him here, have our doctors see him, have our trainers put their hands on him, evaluate him and see where he is. Just me personally, I think he still has a ways to go before he gets out there and plays in the National Football League.”

LB Michael Boley Not Sure Where He Will Play: There has been speculation this offseason that LB Michael Boley may move from outside to middle linebacker. General Manager Jerry Reese first mentioned that Boley could possibly play inside last month. The addition of Keith Rivers, who played outside for the Cincinnati Bengals, also suggests a possible move.

“We haven’t talked about it,’’ Boley said of a position change. “Obviously over the last couple of years we played a lot of three safety, two linebacker, the (middle) linebacker’s been kind of my role for the most part.’’

“It will be an adjustment (if I make the move),’’ Boley said. “Not too much so, most of the stuff we do it’s been the role I played the last couple of years anyway. If I had to I could do anything…if I want to keep my job. To me it’s only as hard as you make it.’’

Yesterday, Reese was asked about the middle linebacker spot again. “(Boley) plays middle linebacker in the nickel a lot for us anyway,” said Reese. “I think he can play any position. We like our linebackers to be versatile, to play different positions. I think he can play any of the linebacker spots. I think Rivers can play any of the linebacker spots. ”

Media Q&A With Various Players: Transcripts and video of yesterday’s  media Q&A with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on QB Eli Manning: Giants QB Manning ‘Enjoying Every Second’ of Big Year by Lenn Robbins of The New York Post

Article on HB Da’Rel Scott: Giants’ Da’Rel Scott Much More Confident, Thanks in Part Offseason Program by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Article on OT David Diehl: Diehl Still Unsure Where He’ll Line Up by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News

Article on the Giants and the 2012 NFL Draft: Giants Bring in Draft Candidates for Visits by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Notes and Quotes: DE/LB Mathias Kiwanuka on if he will play defensive end or linebacker in 2012: “We’ll see how the offseason goes. Probably a little bit of both.”

OT James Brewer on possibly starting: “I think them not bringing back Kareem was definitely an opportunity for me. (Right tackle) is definitely going to be a position to compete for and try to earn this year…This year with Kareem being gone I feel this is an important year for me in trying to solidify a spot or a more active role than I had last year.”

Apr 182012
 

New York Giants 2012 Schedule Released: The NFL announced the 2012 regular-season schedule yesterday. For details on the Giants’ schedule, see the 2012 Schedule section of the website. The Giants will play seven games against 2011 playoff teams: Green Bay, New Orleans, Atlanta, San Francisco, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati.

“As always, we face a very challenging schedule,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “To get where we want to go you have to play the best teams in football and we certainly are playing the best teams.”

“We will have a week-in and week-out challenge, not only in who we play, but with the different elements of our schedule,” Coughlin said. “We play on four different days and we have five night games. Our first three games are Wednesday-Sunday-Thursday. We play two road night games early, come home for a week and then go to San Francisco. Our people are going to have to be really good about it.”

“I like the bye where it is, because it’s closer to the middle of the season,” Coughlin said.

Article on DE Osi Umenyiora: The Giants Should Give Osi Umenyiora What He Wants, Before It’s Too Late by Greg Hanlon of CapitalNewYork.com

Article on LB Greg Jones: No Longer Rookies by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on S Chad Jones: Giants’ Chad Jones Participating in Offseason Workouts as Recovery from Leg Injury Continues by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Apr 172012
 
New York Giants 2012 NFL Draft Needs

There is no better pre-draft feeling than basking in the glow that the Giants are the NFL Champions. Every team has their holes – including the Giants – but let’s all fully appreciate the Giants are the envy of the football world at this moment. They have won two Championships in five seasons, and four in the last 26 seasons.

The Giants will be Super Bowl contenders as long as Eli Manning is their quarterback. He’s 31 years old and in the prime of his career. Hopefully, he continues to play at a high level for the Giants for the next 5-7 years. Can the Giants squeeze out another NFL Championship during that timeframe?

It is important to recognize why the Giants won the Championship in 2011. They did it because of their quarterback, trio of wide receivers, defensive line, and kicking game. There seem to be two successful models in the NFL right now: (1) the 5,000-yard passing club that can overcome inconsistent or shoddy defense, and (2) the defense-first club that lacks a dynamic passing attack but has a good ground game. Examples of the former include the Packers, Saints, and Patriots while examples of the latter include the 49ers and Ravens. Whether you like it or not, the Giants are more modeled on the first. And personally, I think that approach is the best given the state of play in today’s NFL and the Giants’ overall talent level. It would be a waste of talent to pull in the reins on Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks, and Victor Cruz. Plus, if recent playoff history proved anything again, it is that good teams can take away an opponent’s ground game. Big plays (and Championships) come out of the passing game.

Given the pass-happy nature of the NFL, on the defensive side of the ball, if you can’t rush the passer, you’re in trouble. Passing offenses are too sophisticated. There are too many really good quarterbacks. And the rules favor the passing game. You can have the best secondary in the world, but if you can’t get to the passer, you’re in trouble. What set the Giants apart from the Packers and Patriots in the 2011 playoffs is that the Giants could rush the passer. On the other hand, the team that gave the Giants the most trouble was a 49ers team that beat the hell out of Eli Manning.

So as you look at the Giants’ roster and look at this hole or that hole, ask yourself these questions: How many Super Bowl teams in recent years have had great running backs? Or great offensive lines? How many 4-3 teams had great linebackers? Or who had a great secondary? I’m not saying these positions are not important. They are. But are they difference makers in today’s game?

The Giants’ winning formula is ELITE QUARTERBACK + DANGEROUS RECEIVERS + PASS RUSHERS = CHAMPIONSHIP. Don’t forget that formula because there are some cracks appearing in a couple of those areas that must be addressed.

As I cover the team needs below, you may think I’m being overly pessimistic. Keep in mind that every team has a bunch of needs, including the Giants. I strive for roster perfection – which is impossible.  But also keep in mind that this team was 9-7 and a play here or there from missing the playoffs. The Giants can get better and they need to get better if it wants to repeat.

Lastly, don’t equate my needs with what positions I think the Giants will pick in a certain order. The Giants draft for value and need. If the value is not there, they usually don’t reach. At the same time, if there is super value at position that is not a big need, they will take that player.

Defensive End: The Giants have the best defensive end in football in Jason Pierre-Paul. When Justin Tuck is healthy, he is one of the best too. Despite missing half the season, Osi Umenyiora proved he’s a difference-maker in the pass rush department. Without Umenyiora, the Giants probably don’t win the Super Bowl. Mathias Kiwanuka is a more natural defensive end and can be moved back to that spot to replace Dave Tollefson’s snaps. So the Giants are in great shape, right? I would argue no. Both Umenyiora and Kiwanuka are in the final years of their current contracts and I think there is a good chance that neither will be back. Umenyiora not only wants more money, but he wants to start. He’s not going to do that with JPP on the roster. So he’s likely here one more season at best. Kiwanuka can start at defensive end for any other team in the NFL. And keep in mind that Tuck is an injury-prone player. He was limited most of last season. Until he came on a bit late, and until Umenyiora returned, the Giants’ defense was dreadful. The 2012 NFL Draft is not about the 2012 NFL season. It’s about the 2013 season and beyond. Now is the time to groom Umenyiora’s replacement, not next year.

The big question is will the value be there at defensive end for the Giants in the first or second rounds? There are a number of prospects who flash pass rushing talent, but each has his own warts. These include Andre Branch, Whitney Mercilus, Nick Perry, Vinny Curry, and Chandler Jones. Do the Giants like one better than other teams? One thing is clear – pass rushers go fast. You had better get one early.

Wide Receiver: If defensive end is 1a on the Giants’ draft priority list, then wide receiver is a very close 1b. Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are studs who hopefully will team with Eli Manning for the foreseeable future. But the 5,000-yard passing clubs depend on multiple receiving threats. Look at the Packers and Saints. Look at how many big plays Mario Manningham made for the Giants in the regular and post seasons. Remember Bill Belichick’s last final plea: “Cover Nicks and Cruz… Make Mario Manningham and Bear Pascoe beat us.” Well Manningham is gone. Is his replacement on the current roster? I don’t know. Jerrel Jernigan is small receiver with a lot of quickness. He has yet to catch his first NFL pass. Ramses Barden is a big, athletic talent who can’t seem to get on track in the NFL. Domenik Hixon is coming off of back-to-back ACL tears on the same knee. After that you have Dan DePalma and Isiah Stanback… who? Keep scenarios like this in mind… NFC Championship… 49ers double Nicks and Cruz… is Manning’s go-to third wide receiver on 3rd-and-15 on this roster? Unless the Giants replace Manningham’s productivity, Eli is going to have problems duplicating last season’s success. Keep an eye on potential prospects such as Stephen Hill, Alshon Jeffery, Rueben Randle, Kendall Wright, and Mohamed Sanu.

Tight End: Jake Ballard blew out his left knee in the Super Bowl. Not only was the ACL torn but he had to undergo microfracture surgery to repair damaged cartilage. I doubt he returns in 2012. It’s a huge loss for the Giants. Many fans forget how important and clutch Ballard was in the passing game especially during the 6-2 start and before he was limited with a right knee injury. He made game-saving, super-athletic and clutch catches against the Cardinals and Patriots. Eli not only has lost Manningham, but he has lost Jake Ballard.

Martellus Bennett is a very athletic tight end who was a very good blocker in Dallas, but a very disappointing receiver. And it wasn’t just because he was stuck behind Jason Witten or the Cowboys didn’t know how to use him. The Giants are counting on him to improve the running game as a blocker, but they can only hope he will finally turn his career around in the passing game.

The “wild card” in the “replace Manningham” debate is Coby Fleener. He’s one of the new-age tight ends who is more down-the-field threat than traditional two-way tight end. If the Giants drafted someone like Fleener, you would hope Tom Coughlin and Kevin Gilbride would adjust the offense to take into account his unique skills. The Giants never did really seem to find a way to get Travis Beckum (who also is coming off of a Super Bowl ACL tear) involved much in the passing game. Was that because Beckum wasn’t all that good? Or was it because Coughlin/Gilbride wouldn’t adjust?

Behind Bennett, you have Bear Pascoe (versatile but doesn’t stand out in any area), Christian Hopkins (ex-UFL player), Ryan Purvis (cut loose by Buccaneers), and Larry Donnell (undrafted and unsigned in 2011). Ughhh. Bottom line… Eli needs someone reliable to throw to.

Running Back: The position of fullback is being phased out by more and more college and pro teams. The Giants are probably set at fullback with Henry Hynoski.

At halfback, Brandon Jacobs is gone. The Giants will miss his fiery temperament, but to be honest, not his declining productivity (which wasn’t all on the blockers up front). He was the back-up running back on the 32nd rushing team in the NFL. Ahmad Bradshaw was injured and somewhat inconsistent in 2011 too. I look for him to rebound with a better season, but he has had multiple feet/ankle injuries over his career. The Giants can’t count on him for a full season. Behind Ahmad, there is the uninspiring D.J. Ware, the completely unproven Da’Rel Scott, and the much traveled Andre Brown. Since the Giants have added no veterans in free agency thus far, one gets the sense this may be the year when the team takes a running back relatively high, possibly as high as the first round (Doug Martin).

Offensive Line: As they do EVERY year, the Giants will address the offensive line. And if there is a really good prospect at #32 for the Giants, I can easily see them drafting a lineman first. But I don’t think this area is as pressing a need as many fans think. The offensive line is in transition. It began last year when the team cut loose Rich Seubert and Shaun O’Hara. Now Kareem McKenzie is gone. Will Beatty will likely start again at left tackle. David Baas will be the center and Chris Snee the right guard. David Diehl will likely compete with James Brewer at right tackle. Brewer is a huge, athletic lineman who the Giants have high hopes for, but don’t discount the veteran Diehl for one more year. Diehl should do better in pass protection on the right side. Left guard will likely come down to Kevin Boothe or Mitch Petrus. Boothe played well last season and Petrus is similar in style to Rich Seubert.

What the Giants need to do is add more competition and depth. They did add a veteran swing tackle in Sean Locklear, but look for at least one draft pick. Like I said, if a stud lineman falls to #32, he could be the pick. I’ve daydreamed about David DeCastro somehow slipping. Peter Konz, Cordy Glenn, Mike Adams, Jonathan Martin, and Bobbie Massie are others to watch.

Cornerback: If Terrell Thomas is really on the road to recovery, the Giants are in good shape here with him, Corey Webster, and Prince Amukamara. But Thomas is coming off of two ACL tears in the same knee and Webster is getting older. Like defensive ends, you can never have too many quality corners. The good news is there is already a lot of competition for the #4 and #5 cornerback spots in Justin Tryon, Antwaun Molden, Michael Coe, Bruce Johnson, Brian Witherspoon, and Brandon Bing.

Safety: Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips will return as starters. With Deon Grant unlikely to return, the question is a matter of depth. Is Tyler Sash athletic enough to play safety in the NFL? Newcomers Chris Horton and Stevie Brown are more safety/linebacker ‘tweener types who should excel on special teams. The “wild card” is Chad Jones. It would be a medical miracle if can play at a high level again. There is a need for another athlete in this group.

Defensive Tackle: Barring injury, the Giants top three defensive tackles will be Chris Canty, Linval Joseph, and Marvin Austin. But a fourth defensive tackle is needed. Will that be a cheap veteran, someone like Rocky Bernard? The Giants could also look to the draft, especially since this is a really good defensive tackle class. You can never go wrong strengthening your lines. What if the Giants have a chance to draft Kendall Reyes, Jerel Worthy, Devon Still, Jared Crick, or Brandon Thompson?

Linebacker: There are a lot of bodies here. It’s up to the coaching staff to determine who plays where. I suggest fans don’t get too concerned with starting position labels. The linebacker who plays on the weakside in one set may play the middle spot in another, or visa versa. And the third linebacker will often come off the field in today’s pass-happy league.

Michael Boley and Keith Rivers figure to be fixtures in base and sub packages. But youngsters Jacquian Williams, Mark Herzlich, Greg Jones, and Spencer Paysinger will push for playing time. Mathias Kiwanuka may still start at linebacker and Chase Blackburn returns. If the value is there, the Giants will look at athletic linebackers who can cover.

Quarterback: The Giants are in good shape with Eli Manning and David Carr. Ryan Perrilloux remains the developmental prospect.

Special Teams: The Giants are set with their kickers. Domenik Hixon could re-energize the disappointing return game if he makes the team. The Giants should keep an eye on other potential return candidates.

Summary: I think the Giants can go in a lot of directions. They need a quality running back. They could upgrade the offensive line. There doesn’t appear to be much talent at tight end. You can always add corners, safeties, defensive tackles, and linebackers. But when I look at this roster and think about what the Giants really need in order to remain one of the game’s best, to me, it always comes back to defensive ends and receivers. The Giants have some of the game’s best players already at these two positions, but keep your strength a real strength! It’s a winning formula.