For the second time in the last five years, the Giants used a furious run at the end of the season to win a Super Bowl title. With Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul, Victor Cruz and other stars etched into the lineup for years to come, there’s reason to believe that they can challenge for more rings. It’s important to remember, though, that the Giants were close to not even making the playoffs. That means there are still needs to fill for the Super Bowl champs.
Offensive Line: The Giants struggled to run the ball all season and the lack of pass blocking almost got Eli Manning killed in the NFC Championship Game so it’s not hard to pinpoint the biggest area of need on the team. Longtime right tackle Kareem McKenzie is gone, David Diehl didn’t play all that well at left guard or tackle and the team’s still not quite sure what they have with Will Beatty at left tackle after his first year as a starter ended early with an eye injury. The team can go for either a guard or a tackle and should probably grab at least one of each over the course of the draft. If they draft for need in the first round — not a hallmark of General Manager Jerry Reese’s — Ohio State’s Mike Adams or Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler could be possibilities.
Running Back: Brandon Jacobs took his “fast-ass car” to San Francisco, leaving the Giants with only Ahmad Bradshaw from last year’s tailback tandem. They have the underwhelming D.J. Ware, untested Da’Rel Scott and Andre Brown, who faces a four-game suspension if he makes the team, behind Bradshaw. They could use a back to add some competition and depth because Bradshaw has had injury issues with his feet. It’s not something they need to address early, but it is something they should address.
Tight End: Jake Ballard is a good bet to miss the entire season and Travis Beckum will be slowed early as he recovers from a torn ACL. They signed Martellus Bennett and still have Bear Pascoe, but they might find a good value in the middle rounds to round out the group. If such a player can also fill a receiver role, they might not miss Mario Manningham all that much.
Cornerback: Corey Webster is coming off an excellent season, but Terrell Thomas is making his way back from a torn ACL and Prince Amukamara’s rookie season was something of a wash because of a foot injury. If all three are healthy, the group should be very good behind the excellent Giants pass rush. A little insurance couldn’t hurt, though.
The Giants have picked Pierre-Paul and Amukamara in the last two first rounds, neither of whom filled what most people considered to be their biggest need heading into the draft. The Giants are more likely to go with the best player available than almost any other team and, given the results, it’s hard to argue with their strategy.