2012 NFL Draft: Could the New York Giants Draft a Pass Rusher Early?

By Jeff Shull

If you have paid any attention to my articles over the last couple months, you would notice I believe the New York Giants need to draft a tight end or offensive lineman in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Giants were pretty bad on the offensive line last year, and they lost two tight ends in the Super Bowl to torn ACLs.

One of those problems has been fixed with the signing of Dallas Cowboys TE Martellus Bennett, but the offensive line still needs to be addressed.

General manager Jerry Reese has only drafted defensive backs, wide receivers, and defensive ends in the first round of the NFL draft. He’s only had five goes at a first round pick, but even last year when many thought the Giants needed to upgrade the offensive line he could not resist taking Prince Amukamara, a projected top 15 pick.

You could argue that his last two picks, Amukamara and Jason Pierre-Paul, did not address immediate needs, but rather focused on future events.

Reese knew Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross were going to be free agents this year, so corner back depth was a top priority in his mind. Same with Jason Pierre-Paul, as Osi Umenyiora‘s contract is up at the end of this season.

Prior to the 2011 season, Mathias Kiwanuka signed a two-year “prove it” contract, during which time he would have to prove he has recovered from his neck problems that sidelined him for the 2010 season.

He did well in 2011, but still has this year left on that deal.

With Osi and Kiwanuka each being free agents, and Osi basically having a foot out the door, could Reese draft yet another pass rusher early in the draft? Even in the first round?

Nothing would surprise me at this point, especially given the high number of quality pass rushers slated to go in the first round and early second round.

Reese has trusted his ability to find offensive lineman in the later rounds, and he might try to do so again. Or, and not many have considered this, he could be fine with inserting Mitch Petrus/Kevin Boothe and James Brewer in to the starting lineup at the left guard and right tackle spots, respectively.

It all depends on the talent evaluations that go on after the Super Bowl.

Even if Reese does go outside the box and draft a defensive lineman in the first round, trust that he knows what he’s doing. The JPP pick got ridiculed and look how that turned out. He was a borderline defensive player of the year candidate in 2011.

In Reese we trust.


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