INDIANAPOLIS –- Tom Coughlin initially didn’t want to divulge much about what the Giants will be looking at in this year’s draft.
But then the head coach decided to pinpoint one area, and in particular, one position.
“I’ll just say one –- the center position is a concern, because we have injuries at that spot,” Coughlin said.
With Shaun O’Hara (foot and ankle), Adam Koets (ACL) and Rich Seubert (kneecap) all on the mend following surgeries, the Giants are not only in need of another body on the offensive line but they are decimated at center.
O’Hara is the starting center but he played in just six games last year due to injuries to his foot and ankle. O’Hara, who will turn 34 in June, recently underwent surgery on his foot last month.
Koets, the backup center, tore his ACL last year, forcing Seubert to move from guard to center with O’Hara out.
Seubert, who arguably was the team’s offensive most valuable player, was terrific at center until suffering a serious injury. He is currently rehabbing following surgery for a dislocated kneecap and ligament and tendon damage.
Backup Kevin Boothe can play some center but his contract will expire so the Giants will likely look at offensive linemen in the draft.
Their first pick is 19th overall and there are plenty of offensive linemen who should be available then but most of them are offensive tackles.
Florida’s Mike Pouncey is widely considered to be the best center in the draft and could be available at 19. Several other offensive tackles are predicted to be there as well.
Coughlin said his injured centers are “making progress.” Knowing how committed they are, O’Hara and Seubert will work their tails off to be ready for the season. But the Giants still have to prepare themselves for a worst-case scenario and with free agency threatened by a potential lockout, the draft may be the Giants’ way of adding another center.
Coughlin gave updates on a few key injured Giants. Besides saying that Mathias Kiwanuka is progressing well and heading in the right direction before facing a final hurdle, Coughlin said wide receiver Steve Smith is making progress as well.
“From what I understand from a medical standpoint, it would be late spring or whatever before we would have a chance to know where we stand,” Coughlin said.
Smith has been rehabbing in California after undergoing microfracture surgery on his knee last year.