- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Our NFL draft team's division-by-division look at draft needs stops today on the NFC East, and -- surprise! -- the top three needs Steve Muench lists for the New York Giants are all on offense. Steve lists offensive line, tight end and wide receiver as the top positions for the Giants to address in the draft, and lists some candidates at each of those spots. It's an Insider article, so I can't give it all away, but here's a piece, along with a list of players Steve suggests as possibilities at those three positions:
Improving the pass rush is important, but getting Manning back on track is imperative, so receiver gets the nod for the third need. Hakeem Nicks is expected to leave via free agency, and Louis Murphy isn't under contract for next year. While 2012 second-round pick Rueben Randle has flashed, he's inconsistent.
OL: Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio* (OT), Stanford's David Yankey* (G), Arkansas' Travis Swanson (C)
TEs: Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins*, Texas Tech's Jace Amaro*, Iowa's C.J. Fiedorowicz
WRs: Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews, Penn State's Allen Robinson*, Clemson's Martavis Bryant*
I can't argue with the idea that the Giants need to address offense in many ways this offseason. The extent to which it will turn out to be a draft priority in May will depend on how they spend their money in free agency. But addressing the offensive line in the draft makes sense, because their problems there stretch beyond the immediate. Their lack of quality replacements in the pipeline behind their injured starters on the line this season was a major issue, and they need to address the line as a long-range project, not as a collection of 2014 roster holes.
Similarly, tight end is worth addressing if there is a quality candidate there in the early rounds. The Giants have changed their No. 1 tight end each of the past four seasons, and sometimes it's been successful and other times it hasn't. Their thought process is that the tight end hasn't been a top target in their offense and that tight ends coach Mike Pope can get the best out of anyone they bring in. But Brandon Myers was a major disappointment this season and ended Pope's run of success with one-year stopgaps at the position. They need someone who can block in the run game, and who can be at least a safety valve for Eli Manning as a receiver. It's possible, too, that a new offensive coordinator would implement a system in which the tight end is more important as a receiver. Either way, drafting a high-end talent at the position would alleviate the problem of trying to replace someone each and every offseason.