This is the eighth installment in a nine-part series that will analyze the Giants' needs, position by position, in the upcoming draft.
Position: Defensive backs.
Depth chart: Corey Webster (CB), Antrel Rolle (S), Terrell Thomas (CB), Kenny Phillips (S), Deon Grant (S), Aaron Ross (CB), Bruce Johnson (CB), Michael Johnson (S), Brian Jackson (CB), Michael Coe (CB), Brian Witherspoon (DB), Chad Jones (S), Joe Burnett (CB), Cary Harris (CB) and Woodny Turrene (CB).
Not under contract: Grant, Michael Johnson.
Scouting report: The Giants’ secondary is solid but there is room for improvement. GM Jerry Reese expressed disappointment at the amount of big plays surrendered last season on the back end of the defense. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell utilized three safeties for much of the season with success but the Giants can use another speedy athletic cornerback. They do not have much depth after Webster, Thomas and Ross at corner. Once Bruce Johnson went on IR with a knee injury last year, the Giants were thin at corner. Thomas emerged as the team’s No. 2 cornerback and was solid but has room for improvement. Rolle was given a lot to absorb in his first season as a Giant and he was used up front some to help stop the run. He did well late in the season when brought off blitzes but he had just one interception and sometimes tried to do too much. Phillips made it back from a serious knee injury and started every game but the team is hoping he will return to his old form this season. Grant provided veteran experience as the third safety and was useful. Grant is a free agent so perhaps the Giants could bring him back for another season. Jones is rehabbing from a devastating car accident last summer and it remains to be seen whether he will be able to play football again. Burnett, Harris and Turrene are on the reserve/future list.
The Last Time: The Giants last drafted a secondary player in 2010 when they took Jones out of LSU in the third round.
Potential targets: Even if the Giants re-sign Grant, they can use another safety for depth. And they can definitely use another cornerback, one preferably with speed and athleticism. It’s unlikely the Giants will use their first-round pick on a corner but they can find a DB in the second round and lower. Miami’s Brandon Harris is a corner that could go in the second round. Virginia’s Ras-I Dowling is a corner that might be an option in the third round. Temple safety Jaiquawn Jarrett could also go in the third round.
Need Rating (On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being of highest importance): 8.
Tomorrow: Special teams.