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New York Giants’ Mathias Kiwanuka Will Move Back to Defensive End

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Mathias Kiwanuka

Mark L Baer- USA TODAY Sports

Osi Umenyiora’s move to the Atlanta Falcons, along with a drawn out contract dispute with Victor Cruz, have been the New York Giants’ most publicized stories during the 2013 offseason.

Behind the Umenyiora story lies a move that could impact the Giants more than the defensive end’s Twitter rants.

Recently, according to various sources, GM Jerry Reese spoke on the idea of moving linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka back to his original spot on the defensive line — an attempt to put depth back into a once fierce rotation of defensive ends.

The least-known component of the former NASCAR formation, Kiwanuka was clearly more effective at his former defensive end position. In 2012, Kiwanuka strugged at linebacker with a total of 27 solo tackles over the course of 16 games.

Kiwanuka’s best season came in 2008, where he racked up eight sacks and 51 tackles from the defensive end position. While he hasn’t been a large factor in recent seasons, stuck behind Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora on the defensive end depth chart, Reese clearly hopes that Kiwanuka’s return to his positional niche will help revitalize a Giants pass rush that was anemic in 2012.

Moreover, Kiwanuka’s move back to defensive end is telling of one thing: the Giants will look to draft a linebacker in the horizon-looming NFL Draft. It would be a wise move, considering the massive weakness that the linebacker position has been for New York since 2009.

It seems as though Reese became fed up with fielding a defense that had a patchwork middle, something that will lead to many problems on Sunday.

Jeff Nelson  is a New York Giants writer for Follow him on Twitter @JNelson53_12, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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