Thursday, February 23, 2012
Combine watch: Giants back in Indy
By Ohm Youngmisuk
The New York Giants are back in Indianapolis. Not long after winning the Super Bowl here, the Giants begin the process of defending their title in Indy where the NFL Scouting Combine is going on.
GM Jerry Reese and his staff will be looking at draft prospects for the upcoming draft. They will pick 32nd in the first round. While the Super Bowl champs could go the usual route of drafting best player available, there are some areas the Giants can address in the draft.
Also, the Giants have some issues in free agency. Tom Coughlin is scheduled to talk to the media on Friday and Reese will meet with reporters on Saturday. Here are some things they will be looking at this offseason.
DRAFT NEEDS: The Giants have some areas they can strengthen and upgrade. On the offensive line, RT Kareem McKenzie is a free agent so the Giants may have some shuffling to do on the O-line. LT Will Beatty has been cleared to return. Reese says the line could be different in 2011. The Giants could draft an offensive lineman to get younger and stronger. They took T James Brewer in the fourth round last year as a project to develop. Extra offensive linemen Tony Ugoh and Stacy Andrews are also free agents. The Giants struggled to establish the run last season.
Tight end is also an area of need with Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum recovering from knee surgeries and likely to start season on the PUP list. Bear Pascoe and Christian Hopkins are the only healthy tight ends on the roster right now.
The Giants also need a speedy kick returner/punt returner. They drafted Jerrel Jernigan in the third round last year so he is an option but the return game needs to be upgraded.
Cornerback is another area where the Giants have several free agents and had plenty of injuries at so they can use depth and talent there. Safety, defensive line, linebacker, running back and wide receiver are other areas where the Giants might add depth.
BRANDON AND OSI: The Giants, by most accounts, will not have much cap room. So they have some decisions to make and possible restructuring of contracts. RB Brandon Jacobs has a $500,000 roster bonus due next month and will make $4.4 million in addition to that this season. He says he expects to be back but at what price if so?
DE Osi Umenyiora is under contract for one more season at just under $4 million but wanted a raise or to be traded to someone who would give him a new deal last year. The Giants could potentially do something with Umenyiora closer to draft time or go the same route as they did last year and have the defensive end report under his contract.
Whatever happens with those two could also dictate what the Giants do in the draft as well.
COACHING MOVES: At some point, Coughlin will have to add a new quarterbacks coach to replace Mike Sullivan and a new offensive line assistant coach to replace Jack Bicknell Jr.
FREE AGENTS: The Giants have 21 unrestricted free agents, two restricted free agents and one exclusive rights free agent. The NFL has yet to post an official list of free agents but here is what is expected to be the Giants' list:
Exclusive rights free agent: TE Jake Ballard
Restricted free agents: CB Bruce Johnson
TE Bear Pascoe
Unrestricted free agents: CB Will Blackmon
CB Michael Coe
CB Aaron Ross
CB Terrell Thomas
CB Justin Tryon
DE Dave Tollefson
DT Rocky Bernard
DT Jimmy Kennedy
LB Chase Blackburn
LB Jonathan Goff
OT Stacy Andrews
OT Kareem McKenzie
OT Tony Ugoh
P Steve Weatherford
S Deon Grant
S Derrick Martin
QB David Carr
WR Michael Clayton
WR Domenik Hixon
WR Mario Manningham
WR Devin Thomas
Tell us what you think the Giants should do in the draft and free agency below in the comments list.