The Super Bowl champion New York Giants will be on the clock in eight days come NFL Draft time.
Don't be surprised if the Giants select an offensive lineman to back up or possibly start alongside guard Chris Snee (76) and company. (Reuters/Jeff Haynes)
Winning the Super Bowl, one would figure that such a team wouldn't have many gaps, but that's not the case. The offensive line and defensive backfield were riddled with injuries and position switches. Defensive coverage was nonexistent a lot of the time. Key cogs have become free agents or signed elsewhere.
As a result, the Giants will be looking to shore up at such positions like offensive line, linebacker, cornerback and even wide receiver, the latter for depth's sake, albeit a formidable passing game.
Here are three players that may very well be on the Giants' radar.
Don't'a Hightower (ILB) - Alabama
According to most mock drafts, Hightower is a mid-to-late first round selection. However, if he isn't taken by the 32nd overall pick, the Giants, who already hosted a visit for him, could use his services, especially if they're looking to stop the run. They struggled with it in 2011, ranking 19th, allowing almost 122 rushing yards a game.
However, there are some concerns on Hightower. He had a knee injury that took a while to recover. He also isn't so great in coverage, a category in which the Giants were even more horrible. They ranked a lowly 29th, although that was in large part because of a depleted cornerback squad.
The Giants did trade for veteran linebacker Keith Rivers and re-signed linebacker Chase Blackburn, but that doesn't mean Hightower won't be highly considered. He may be better suited for a 3-4 defense rather than the Giants' 4-3, but the defense will still at least most likely improve in the run defense department.
Peter Konz (C) - Wisconsin
Like Hightower, durability would be the concern over picking Konz, if he is still on the board at 32 for the Giants. He suffered a blood clot in both lungs in 2009, a sprained ankle in 2010 and a dislocated ankle that forced him to miss the last few games of 2011.
Nevertheless, Konz is arguably the best center prospect in the draft and the Giants have had their share of offensive line problems, particularly with starting center David Bass, who suffered a neck injury last season. Kareem McKenzie will not return, David Diehl recently repaired a broken hand and Chris Snee had elbow surgery. With that said, Konz shouldn't be forced into a starting role if he is selected since the Giants also have capable linemen in James Brewer and Will Beatty.
Konz, a first-round talent, seems like an all-around good blocker, probably slightly better in pass than run. Still, that's music to Eli Manning's ears.
Devon Wylie (WR) - Fresno State
Wylie isn't a first-round guy, but could be a worthwhile pick in the later rounds for the Giants, who could use a speedster at wide receiver after the loss of Mario Manningham. Wylie ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, which not only means he has the ability to return punts in kicks, but also help Manning in the slot.
The Giants have also reportedly hosted a visit for Wylie, who, if selected, will join a young receiving corps that includes Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden. Then, it would look like the most likely scenario for Wylie is that he would be immediately thrust into returning kicks and/or punts.