Nicholas Alfonse – 2/23/10
Heading into an important 2010 season, New York will need a quality and successful draft to replenish their team and get them back into fighting shape. Jerry Reese has had some great picks over the past few years, and fans are eagerly waiting to see what happens next. Some of the upgrades are quite obvious, but there are still a few other edges that could use some sharpening.
The first brick that needs to be laid for the new Giants foundation is in their surprisingly vulnerable defensive front. The Giants especially struggled up the middle, both on the ground and through the air. While they had injuries at the DT, ILB, and safety positions, their current roster lacks the depth to withstand the type of beating players like Kenny Phillips, Antonio Pierce, and Michael Boley took last year. New York will need to spend their 1st round pick on a stand-out linebacker or secondary player, as Pierce was recently released and Phillips is coming off surgery.
Currently, the Giants’ starting Linebacking core consists of Boley, Jonathan Goff, and Danny Clark, hardly a group that raises any eyebrows. With the loss of their defensive captain, they will need someone to step up as the new leader of the unit, as well as a strong young player capable of learning and adapting to their system quickly. Someone with the ability to cover running backs coming out on screen plays would be nice too, as we all watched the aging Pierce get burned a number of times last season.
The safeties are possibly the thinnest group on the defense, and New York was forced to move players around in the secondary last year, switching CBs for safeties, which created dangerous matchups and uncomfortable situations. Everyone’s hoping Kenny Phillips will return healthy and effective, but the success of the entire unit cannot hinge on his recovery from microfracture surgery. Michael Johnson is an adequate safety, but his shortcomings became far more apparent without Phillips backing him up. Their reserves are another weakness, and after watching C.C. Brown get burned off the field last season, I hope we don’t have to see too much of him again in 2010.
New York attempted to bolster their DTs last season with Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard, but neither player rose to the task and Canty might not be back in 2010 anyway. Free agent Fred Robbins had a disappointing end to his season, and appears to be on his way out of New York as well. That essentially leaves Barry Cofield and Jay Alford, who missed the entire season after tearing his MCL in the 2009 preseason. Without some major beef added to the line, the Giants are in danger of becoming a literal turnstile again next year, leaving a weak path through the middle of the field.
The Giants have a great opportunity with the 15th pick in this year’s draft to acquire some great, fresh talent at any number of positions that need help. Who knows, maybe Jerry Reese will make a bold move to trade up for an even better spot? The possibilities are endless for the 2010 New York Giants, and I can’t wait to see what April 22nd has in store for fans across the country.