It is unnecessary to say that the New York Giants like to have high amounts of depth at the defensive line as a way to reduce the onset of fatigue. This is more applicable to the defensive tackle position, but it can also be seen to a lesser degree at the defensive end position.
With Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Damontre Moore currently on the Giants defensive end depth chart, it is likely that the Giants will be experiencing copious amounts of competition at the defensive end position during training camp.
Given Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s well-documented objection to playing rookies, the average football fan would assume that Tuck and Pierre-Paul would earn the starting nods.
To put this into perspective, here is a list of how many games were started by each of the Giants first round rookie of the past five years: Kenny Phillips started three games in 2008, Hakeem Nicks started six games in 2009, Jason Pierre-Paul started zero—but played in all 16—games in 2010, Prince Amukamara started zero—and played in seven—games in 2011, and David Wilson started two games in 2012.
But earlier this offseason, Giants GM Jerry Reese and Coughlin hinted to a changing of philosophy—one that favors the drafting of more NFL ready athletes.
Hence, it can be inferred from such talk that the Giants want to give their high-round drafted rookies, which include the defensive end Moore, more playing time than in the past.
What this means for Tuck is that while Moore currently sits behind Pierre-Paul as the second right defensive end, he could lose his job to the rookie that is reputed to have a massive upside.
If Tuck doesn’t lose his job, then Moore could easily take the role of the third defensive end—a role that Tuck held during the Giants’ 2007 Super Bowl season. And it was a needed role as Tuck tallied 10.0 sacks in 2007 even though he only started two games.
By comparison, Michael Strahan, who was New York’s starter opposite of Osi Umenyiora, had 9.0 sacks on the back of 15 starts.
With all of the previous information analyzed, it’s easy to see how Moore could outplay Tuck in the 2013 NFL season. If Moore’s youthful explosiveness outshines Tuck’s veteran savvy in training camp, then Coughlin might opt to start Moore at left defensive end over Tuck.
Moore is coming off of a senior season where he had 12.5 sacks and 21.0 tackles for loss. While this was at the collegiate level, he still played in the SEC—a conference where he went up against such current first round talent as D.J. Fluker.
For Moore, the biggest issue he has going into camp is to disprove all of his doubters who began to become more vocal after an underwhelming Combine performance. But if Moore can apply himself to his profession then he may become one of the first Giants rookies in a long span of time to significantly contribute during his rookie season.