2013 NFL Draft: The New York Giants - A Different Slant
April talk of another Super Bowl for the upcoming 2013 season might be considered premature by some, especially with Victor Cruz still unsigned and the draft yet to be held, but Eli Manning has stated that it is the goal of the Giants every year to win the Super Bowl. Super Bowl XLVIII has even more significance to the team as it is being played on their home field at Giants Stadium and the Giants are not happy with the thought that another NFC team might be hosting the game on their turf.
And the Giants are in fact gearing up for another run at the Lombardi Trophy and will worry about their expiring contracts after the season. A Super Bowl win on their home field will most suredly guarantee a spot in the Hall of Fame for Eli Manning, Coach Tom Coughlin and perhaps GM Jerry Reese as it will be the third for all of them.
So, in taking a realistic approach as to how the Giants stack up we should start with how things appear in the NFC East, which last year had this finish: Washington 10 - 6; NY Giants 9 - 7; Dallas 8 - 8 and Philadelphia at 4 - 12.
Washington split with the Giants last year and is definitely an emerging team BUT, will RGIII be ready to go at the start of the season, and if not, when and will he be at the same level? If he can go at full speed the Redskins will be tough to beat. The Eagles, coming off that 4 and 12 season, have a new coach who is installing a new and innovative offense but is not sure which QB will run it, and may even draft a rookie QB to run it, so questions remain. And the Giants' old rival Dallas, still has Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and DeMarcus Ware but also has a lot of holes to fill. Four of their five offensive linemen are considered average or below average with the Right Tackle having been described as a sieve. Running Back depth, Defensive Line, Linebacker and Defensive Backs are all areas of concern for the Cowboys, as opposed to the Giants who are fairly strong at each position group with the notable exception of Linebacker and with the Defensive Backfield also needing some strengthening..
As for the schedule, Washington's may be a little tougher than the Giants, with the Giants first 8 games having only one of the top teams in Denver (Manning vs. Manning); and possibly Chicago; and the second half heating up with Green Bay, Seattle and two with Washington, which two games could determine the division champion.
Moving beyond the division and into the playoffs it gets tougher with teams like Atlanta, Green Bay, an improving Chicago and Tampa Bay, and the two elite teams Seattle and San Francisco all lurking; and from there to the AFC champ which should come from New England, Baltimore (which lost a ton of players), Cincinnati, Miami, Houston or Denver. This would be a daunting but not impossible task for the Giants.
The Giants overall are still a solid team but not an elite team as their roster is not star-studded. Most of their position groups are still good, or at least deep, and just as every other team in the league, are in need of an upgrade at certain positions. The only team close to being strong at every position group is the 49ers and with 13 picks in the upcoming draft should be able to complete that task and be the envy of every other team in the NFL.
For the past two years the Giants have had ONLY four Pro Bowl participants, either as starters, backups or replacements and they are Victor Cruz, Eli Manning, Chris Snee and Jason Pierre-Paul, while some other teams for the 2012 season such as the 49ers had 9, Minnesota 7, Seattle 6 and has been active in signing Free Agents and trading for Percy Harvin this off season. This further shows that the Giants are not a star-studded group but more of a solid group with some depth and good coaching.
Even Kansas City, with the worst record in the league, had six Pro Bowlers. Go figure that one out.
As for a position breakdown, we shall start with the most important position on the team, QB. The Giants are very strong here with Eli Manning, the starter, and good backups in David Carr, the former No. 1 overall selection in the draft, and Curtis Painter. I had always hoped that they would have kept Jared Lorenzen, a/k/a "The Hefty Lefty" and "The Pillsbury Throwboy" to see if he would have developed, but they let him go.
As for the Running Backs the Giants are hopefull that last year's No. 1 pick, David Wilson, will take over the position now that Ahmad Bradshaw has moved on, and Wilson was selected with the thought in mind to groom him for the starting spot And if Wilson does not step up, Andre Brown, who has looked good in the past, would be next up, followed by Ryan Torain and Da'Rel Scott who have shown some ability. In the meantime they are talking with Brandon Jacobs about bringing him back, and with Henry Hynoski, they have one of the top Fullbacks in the NFL. So there is promise with Wilson and experience with Brown and possibly Jacobs, not a bad combo.
Wide Receiver would be the strongest position on the team with Pro Bowler Victor Cruz, Hakeen Nicks, second year man Reuben Randle and newcomer Louis Murphy, a promising speedster but they could use some more depth here. The 2013 draft is loaded with WR's and they might even be able to obtain a good one in Undrafted Free Agency.
Tight End presents newcomer Brandon Myers, known as a receiver, and Bear Pacoe, known as a blocker, and Adrien Robinson, known as an athletic development type. Now when you have one guy as a receiver and another as a blocker, you don't have a TE, so that Tyler Eifert, the highest rated TE from Notre Dame becoming a real possibility with the Giants having the 19th pick in the first round. He is a receiver and blocker who with his 6'6" height, speed, and ability to make difficult catches would add a new dynamic to the Giants offense which would help the WR's and the RB's as there is another option for the defense to plan for.
The offensive Line has RG Chris Snee, the Pro Bowler, Center David Bass, LG Kevin Boothe and LT Will Beatty, a solid if not great group, and also has RT David Diehl, who has been solid in the past but is now considered the weak link. James Brewer, the backup RT was a fourth round draft choice in 2011 and was drafted to be developed and eventually take over the position, and this could be his opportunity, but he may not be ready, and thus this becomes a need position that if the Giants wanted to address in the 1st round and that would mean D.J. Fluker, the mammoth OT from Alabama would get consideration. There is concern about his pass blocking but none about his run blocking so he has a fall-back position in that he could always be moved to Guard. And since the OL is more known for pass blocking than run blocking this would make an even stronger case for Fluker. In addition, they could also use a backup C/OG type in case of injury to either OG or David Bass, the Center.