The New York Giants accomplished something that I didn’t even know was really possible. With mostly the same roster and a really good 2012 NFL Draft class, the Giants regressed from their Super Bowl run in 2012, and it was long overdue for them to miss the playoffs.
In their previous two Super Bowl runs, the Giants have been one of the more inconsistent regular season teams, getting hot at the right time and winning the big one. They were given a huge dose of reality in 2012 when not only did they miss out on the playoffs, but actually Tony Romo’s Cowboys were in better position to do so, and a team with a rookie quarterback won their division. The Giants finished 2012 in third place in the NFC East, in probably the easiest year in a while to take that division in terms of overall record.
I cannot figure out what it is with this team. They aren’t poorly coached when it comes to playoff time, clearly. They are capable of being one of the most dominant teams in the league when they want to be. Their personnel is not lacking really in any major area. Whatever it was this past season, I feel like the Giants deserved it in a way. After backing into the playoffs in previous years, their inconsistencies finally caught up to them this year, and maybe that will cause them to re-focus.
Here are my top needs for the Giants, in no particular order.
1. Left Tackle
Will Beatty is a free agent in 2013, and this is honestly a position the Giants could look to in the first round if the right guy falls to them. If they are unable to sign Beatty, this could be a problem area. Former fourth round pick James Brewer is waiting in the wings, but this could be unsettling for the Giants going into the offseason.
2. Tight End
Martellus Bennett is a free agent, as is Travis Beckum. The Giants got a great year out of Bennett, but will he be seeking more money than they are willing to pay after a career year? If they can’t get him back, they have a real problem here at the position. Bennett was #2 on the team with 55 receptions in 2012, and he was an important piece of their offense.
Chase Blackburn and Keith Rivers are free agents. I think the Giants should be able to keep one but it seems like linebacker is a yearly need for this team. They released Michael Boley this offseason, so they will clearly be looking to upgrade this area of their team. There are some really good linebackers in this year’s draft, and that could be a first round option for this team.
4. Defensive End
Osi Umenyiora is as good as gone, and both Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul under-performed in 2012. No player on the Giants had double-digit sacks, despite all their talent. With Umenyiora on the way out, I think the Giants will be back to looking for defensive ends/pass rushers in the early parts of the draft.
5. Defensive Tackle Depth
Linval Joseph and Marvin Austin should be the starters next season, but outside of them, the Giants don’t have much. They need some depth at the DT position.
**Signed DT Cullen Jenkind**
6. Strong Safety
Stevie Brown had 8 interceptions last season, and is a restricted free agent. Kenny Phillips is an unrestricted free agent. This isn’t much of a concern since the Giants should be able to retain at least one of those guys.