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Giants' concerns run much deeper than the starting lineup

Memorial Day weekend mailbag rolls along, with all the appropriate offseason angst:

I understand the temptation to compartmentalize and check off by position. The pass rush looks good, there's depth at running back, they think they have their long-term answers at center, left guard, left tackle, etc. This is how much offseason analysis is done. For some teams, it works.

But I really think the biggest concern with the New York Giants entering training camp will continue to be roster depth. And no, that's not a cop-out answer.

As we have discussed here many, many, many, many times over the past three years, the Giants' problems are the residue of a too-lengthy run of unproductive drafts that left the roster hollowed out because not enough players developed to replace the ones that got old. They are still in the process of rebuilding that roster, and the idea that a team that went 19-29 the past three seasons could fix all of its problems with one big free-agent spending spree is naive. So if I'm the Giants, what I want to see in training camp is not just who my 22 starters are going to be, but how many of the younger players are developing to the point of being reliable backups.

The problem, for example, on the offensive line is not that John Jerry and Marshall Newhouse failed to exceed expectations last year. They didn't. They were signed as backups and forced to be starters because starters got injured and the Giants had to rely on free-agent backups to replace them. This is because the Giants haven't filled their offensive-line pipeline with homegrown replacements. The same can be said at many other positions on the roster, which is why your question could simply be answered by saying "linebacker" or "wide receiver" or "nickel cornerback" just as easily as the two examples you cited.

The Giants have four young candidates for the free safety spot, but none has proved anything. One was in college last year and the other three all missed the whole season (and a season's worth of development) to injury. Yes, 2015 seventh-rounder Bobby Hart could put himself in the mix for a starting spot, but that's a lot to ask of a seventh-rounder who barely played as a rookie. The fact that it's even possible speaks to the state of the Giants' roster. There should be 2012, 2013 and 2014 draft picks ahead of Hart for playing time. Other than the first-rounders and second-rounders on the left side of the line, there aren't.

So while I get where you're coming from, I think the Giants' biggest concerns lie beneath the starting lineup and in their foundation, which still isn't all the way back to where it needs to be. The problems here are long-term ones that are still being worked on.