The New York Giants could sign former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, but should they? It would make sense and addresses the Giants’ depth needs at the position. Going into the draft many people thought Big Blue might draft Manti Te’o. Instead GM Jerry Reese decided to fill out the line on both sides of the ball by drafting three linemen with organization’s first three picks.
Cooper Taylor, the Giants’ fifth round pick, seems like a development project that could wind up playing some hybrid safety/linebacker position covering the NFL’s new breed of play-making tight ends out of a three safety package. The Giants though still have needs at cornerback and linebacker.
At cornerback, the Giants look better as they have players who can step up and play. Corey Webster recently took a pay cut to stay with the G-men after a difficult season, and Prince Amukamara was frustratingly inconsistent only showing glimpses of being a very good corner for the team last year. Maybe Reese is hoping they will both have a better year this season.
The weakness at linebacker has to remain a concern for the team even though they put so little emphasis on it during the draft. The current crop of linebackers has yet to make their mark.
Dan Connor, a free agent signing from the Dallas Cowboys, may play a little better than former Giant Chase Blackburn, but he isn’t an upgrade at the middle linebacker position. Mark Herzlich, a feel good story, who came back to play football after battling a rare form of bone cancer in college could challenge Connor for the job but will probably play off the bench. Can Keith Rivers and Jacquian Williams play a full season and not get injured? Spencer Paysinger is a “star” special teams player, and Jake Muasau was cut last season but brought back to the team. Right now the Giants have a lot of questions and few dependable answers.
They could take a gamble on Urlacher who at 34 may have a few more seasons in the tank. With his best years behind him, the Giants would be signing a fearsome leader on the field. But with their drafting strategy putting little emphasis on adding a high profile player, they may have telegraphed their hand and hope to find a value addition with a recent undrafted free agent signing. If a suitable middle linebacker isn’t found by the end of camp look for the Giants to make a move, and Urlacher could be with the team in September if he remains available at that time.
“It might be the week before we line up to play Dallas (on opening day) before we have the roster ready because you’ll have some 53-man cuts,” said Reese speaking about the Giants’ roster recently in a Yahoo Sports news article,”Free agency is part of the puzzle and the draft is part of the puzzle…Obviously, we still have some work to do.”