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Thursday, April 29, 2010
Giants need these five pieces to fit

By Ohm Youngmisuk
ESPNNewYork.com

The draft is over and now the New York Giants' 2010 season can officially begin.

The first step toward moving on and getting over last year's 8-8 debacle starts Friday, when the Giants open a two-day rookie minicamp.

While the camp will only be made up of rookies, journeymen players looking for a break and longshots, the Giants' staff will get its first look at the seven draft picks taken last weekend. Sending a clear message the Giants will not tolerate another lackluster defensive effort like last season's, general manager Jerry Reese went almost exclusively for defense in the draft, using five of his seven selections on defensive players.

Jerry Reese
Giants GM Jerry Reese went big on defense with this rookie class.

The jewel of Reese's draft is first-round pick Jason Pierre-Paul. The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder from South Florida gets his first chance to show he's worthy of being selected 15th overall. Reese invested in the athletic defensive end to improve the G-Men's pass rush.

Pierre-Paul is raw. He played just one full season of football on the major college level after two years of junior college ball. Kevin Patrick, Pierre-Paul's defensive line coach at South Florida, said the defensive end has yet to go through a full offseason training program and should really grow under the guidance of the Giants' coaches and trainers.

When all eyes aren't on Pierre-Paul, fourth-round pick Phillip Dillard will be under the microscope. The Nebraska fifth-year senior is the only middle linebacker the Giants drafted. After watching top middle linebacker target Rolando McClain go to the Raiders at the eighth pick, the Giants waited until the fourth round to take Dillard. They like him enough to feel he can compete for Antonio Pierce's old job. If the Giants are going to be successful this season, they must find someone to replace Pierce.

Five things to look for at the minicamp:

ARE YOU DOWN WITH JPP? The Giants hope Pierre-Paul is not only worth the 15th pick, but truly is the player with the most upside in the entire draft.

ROOKIE IN THE MIDDLE: Dillard gets the chance to put his name into the mix for Pierce's old spot this weekend.

THE ANCHOR: The Giants' second-round pick, East Carolina's 6-4, 319-pound defensive tackle Linval Joseph, could be in the mix more than Pierre-Paul. Perhaps it's no coincidence that according to one report, the Giants discussed trading Barry Cofield to the Saints for a second-day pick before a deal fell apart.

DODGE BALL: Let the competition begin to see who will replace punter Jeff Feagles. Seventh-round pick Matt Dodge, also from East Carolina, will begin to battle Australian Rules football player Jy Bond starting this weekend.

33 IS THE NEW 22: There will be a 33-year-old rookie among all theplayers at minicamp. Ball State defensive end Brandon Crawford didn't begin his college career until after he was honorably discharged from the Marines.

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.