Thursday, April 26, 2012

New York Giants Draft Preview: Defensive Line

This is the 7th installment in the series of posts breaking down the Giants position by position for the upcoming NFL Draft.  The next position up is the defensive line.

Currently on the depth chart for the Giants at defensive end are Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Trattou and Craig Marshall.  At defensive tackle the Giants have Linval Joseph, Marvin Austin, Chris Canty, Dwayne Hendricks and Martin Parker.  The Giants also have combo man Mathias Kiwanuka who switches between the d-line and linebacker positions.

Defensive line is the strength of the Giants, and again one of its top players has a lot of uncertainty around him.  Umenyiora is still looking for the same contract extension he wanted last season, and is entering the last year of his deal.  Another problem is that he wants to be a starter, but the defensive end spots are currently filled by Tuck and Pierre-Paul.  The Giants have to weigh all their options regarding Umenyiora, deciding either to make him play out his contract or if it is easier to trade him this time around. 

Tuck was a warrior last season, and is hoping to get through this season in much better health, as he was injured all the way from preseason through the Super Bowl.  Pierre-Paul will look to build on his break out campaign in which he registered a career high 16.5 sacks.  Joseph and Canty were very disruptive in the middle, combining for 96 tackles.  Joseph was seeing playing time for the first time in his career last year, meaning he should only get better this year with a full season under his belt and a full training camp to go through this season.  With the addition of linebacker Keith Rivers from the Cincinnati Bengals and Dave Tollefson leaving in free agency, look for Kiwanuka to potentially see more action on the defensive line this season. 

Austin is the wildcard of the group.  He missed all of his rookie season because of a torn pectoral muscle.  He has missed the last two seasons of football, after having to sit out his last year at the University of North Carolina after being ruled ineligible.  With Rocky Bernard currently remaining un-signed, there is a hole left in the rotation that Austin could easily fill backing up Canty and Joseph. 

The last time the Giants drafted a defensive lineman was last season with Marvin Austin.  It is normal for the Giants to draft defensive lineman early because they draft based on talent, not need.  The Giants have actually taken a defensive lineman in either round one or two in the last two drafts and it would surprise no one if they did it again this year.

If one of the top defensive ends such as Chandler Jones of Syracuse or Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus were to drop to the Giants at 32 it would be hard to pass them up.  Disruptive defensive tackle Jerel Worthy of Michigan State could also be available at 32.  Even though Worthy was inconsistent at times, there is no denying that he as ability.
It is not exactly a necessity for the Giants to add defensive lineman, but they do have to look at the future.  There is no knowing for sure what will happen with Umenyiora, and it will be extremely tough for the Giants to keep both Kiwanuka and Tuck when their respective contracts expire after this season and next season.  Having depth is never a bad thing, so I will give the necessity rating a 5 on a scale of 1-10.  

1 comment:

  1. The Giants signed defensive tackle Shaun Rogers hours before the draft is scheduled to start. Knock the necessity ranking down a little bit now that the Giants have added another d-lineman, but this does not change their approach of taking the best available