Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson examines the biggest weakness of each NFC East team and offers some potential solutions.
After a rich tradition at the position, the Giants have lacked star power at linebacker for some time now. If New York is to address its linebacking corps, I think they have to take the theory of going big -- with a real difference-maker -- or not bothering at all.
They could really use a game changer on the second level. Jonathan Goff was great versus the run, and Michael Boley played the pass quite well, but both players could potentially take their respective games up yet another level with a stud to round out the starting three. I had high hopes for Clint Sintim, but he hardly saw the field and then finished the season on injured reserve after a serious knee injury. Maybe there is still hope, though. Keith Bulluck is a free agent, and his time in the league is coming to an end. I consider Mathias Kiwanuka more defensive end than linebacker, but it seems unlikely that he will be re-signed. Goff is best in the middle and as a two-down player, but he could be effective outside as well if New York were to sign a free agent like Tennessee’s Stephen Tulloch or Buffalo’s Paul Posluszny. But adding an outside linebacker is the more logical move.
No one seems to be projecting it, but a sleeper first-round pick for the Giants could be Illinois’ Martez Wilson. Wilson could be exactly the type of versatile and dynamic guy New York needs. To me, Wilson best fits as a outside linebacker in the Giants’ scheme and could be moved all over the formation, including maybe putting his hand on the ground off the edge on throwing downs at times. His pass-rush ability is very intriguing. UCLA’s Akeem Ayers could be that type of player as well, but I wouldn’t take him unless the Giants were to trade down from their spot in Round 1. In the second round, North Carolina’s Bruce Carter could provide a major athletic upgrade on the outside.
The Giants could get by without a huge upgrade at linebacker, and it could be argued that the offensive line is the bigger weakness, but just imagine this defense if you added a real difference-maker to the second level.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.