Failing to make the playoffs last season was a disappointment for the New York Giants. So they went into this offseason aiming to address a few needs. They made a big splash during free agency by landing the top safety in Antrel Rolle. Then the NFL Draft came around and they spent their first two picks on defensive lineman. These selections came as a head scratcher to me.
First off I want to say that I do think the Giants needed to address their defensive line at some point during the draft, however, using their first 2 picks was excessive. They had other areas that could have used an infusion of talent, such as the offensive line and linebacking core. But the Giants did select these players so let’s take a look at where they fit.
The Giants utilized their first round pick on defensive end Jason Pierre- Paul out of South Florida. Pierre- Paul has massive amounts of physical ability and is expected to be a major pass rush threat. Conversely, I have concerns about Pierre- Paul’s technique and football IQ. I would anticipate Pierre- Paul needing some coaching and time to develop. The major concern comes on trying to figure out where Pierre- Paul gets snaps. When you look at the depth chart for the Giants they have 3 other defensive ends that are going to need playing time. At one end you have Justin Tuck who is arguably the best pass rusher on the team. It wouldn’t be in the best interest of the team to have Tuck on the sideline in passing situations. On the other side you have Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora who both will be tough to overtake for playing time. There are thoughts that Kiwanuka could move back to linebacker but it is obvious that he is best suited to play defensive end. Then you have the Umenyiora situation where he isn’t seeing eye to eye with the coaching staff. All problems aside, Umenyiora is a great pass rusher and needs to be on the field during passing situations.
I don’t see Pierre- Paul overtaking any of these players, so it will be difficult for him to get snaps. I know the Giants have rotated Tuck inside in some situations so maybe you could see a front four of Pierre-Paul, Tuck, Canty, and Umenyiora. Also defensive linemen are always rotated in and out to ensure the fresher player is on the field. So consequently Pierre- Paul could see some playing time during these substitutions. Also this maybe a blessing as I did mention Pierre-Paul is going to need time to develop and learn.
Eastern Carolina’s defensive tackle Linval Joseph was the Giants 2nd round pick. Joseph is a massive defensive tackle at 6-4 328lbs. Joseph has surprising speed and quickness, he utilizes these skills to create pressure on the quarterback. There are concerns that Joseph lacks the ideal conditioning and stamina to be a 3 down defensive tackle. Joseph is also not as strong against the run as his size would suggest. Joseph joins a defensive tackle rotation that includes Barry Cofield, Chris Canty, Rocky Benard, and Jay Alford. Joseph’s size and quickness will allow him to force his way into the rotation. I would predict that you will see a lot of Cofield and Canty on running downs and Joseph during passing situations. This may sound a little off but until Joseph can improve his strength he may be limited to passing downs.
So to me you look at what the Giants added in the first 2 rounds of the draft and you have to wonder if they were the best value. While both players have a lot of potential they may have limited roles this season. I feel that they could have addressed other more immediate needs in order to stock up for a Super Bowl run. However, if both of these players pan out the Giants could have two young major contributors for years to come.
Tags: Antrel Rolle Barry Cofield Chris Canty East Carolina's Giants Jason Pierre-Paul Jay Alford Justin Tuck Linval Joseph Log Mathias Kiwanuka New York Giants NFL Draft Osi Umenyiora Rocky Benard South Florida Super Bowl