The New York Giants are the defending Super Bowl champions but that doesn't mean they are void of needs regarding the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft.
In fact, they have many.
The good thing is that the team has seven picks at their disposal, the main concern being how to prioritize positions. For the Giants, there are more needs on the offensive side of the ball than the defensive side, particularly at offensive line and wide receiver.
Here is the draft order for Big Blue:
Round 1 - pick 32
Round 2 - pick 63
Round 3 - pick 94
Round 4 - pick 127, compensatory pick 131
Round 6 - pick 201
Round 7 - pick 239
This year's draft is considered one of the deepest in recent memory, so the Giants have the ability to take advantage and come away with a roster that can put them right in the thick of things again come the postseason.
You just wait and see if somebody is going to fall to you or if there is somebody you may be able to move up for, that you're in love with, said general manager Jerry Reese. It's always a good problem to have when you're picking 32.
Here are the positions of importance that the Giants need to fill, who can fill them and when:
What helped the Giants most in their two recent Super Bowl wins was a stable and skilled offensive line. Of course, they didn't have the same line in 2011 that they did in 2007 as only three starters from the Super Bowl XLII champion squad remained on the Super Bowl XLVI roster.
Now, longtime starter at right tackle Kareem McKenzie is a free agent and isn't expected to return. Left tackle Will Beatty is still unproven, having only started 10 games last season. And, he's returning from eye surgery. Plus, David Diehl isn't getting any younger.
With that said, the Giants' offensive line can get younger and more athletic, especially after a season where the Giants finished last in rushing. So, look for the Giants to select a tackle, with those of value a dime a dozen, such as Mike Adams out of Ohio State, Cordy Glenn out of Georgia or Jonathan Martin out of Stanford, if any of them are still left on the board, with their 32nd pick. Adams may be drafted a little earlier, so Glenn or Martin could be more likely choices.
Although Mario Manningham finished 2011 with 13 catches for 189 yards, he came through in Super Bowl XLVI with a clutch out-of-bounds catch that helped the Giants achieve victory. With his loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the team no longer has that definitive speed threat to take pressure off of the dynamic duo of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.
Reese has stated that Ramses Barden or Jerrel Jernigan can step up to be the number three guy, but, nevertheless, they too remain unproven. As a result, the Giants could use a true outside receiver, probably one with size and speed, who could immediately step in and make an impact.
With such a talented and wide pool of receivers, the Giants can afford to snag one past the first round and still get good value. The second round would be ideal with pick 63, selecting a player such as South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery, Rutgers's Mohamed Sanu or Appalachian State's Brian Quick, whom the Giants invited to workout.
As stated above, the Giants were last in the league in rushing, and yet, won the Super Bowl. But, one can't understate the loss of Brandon Jacobs, who provided the team with the power run game behind Ahmad Bradshaw for many years.
Bradshaw will carry the load this time around with Danny Ware likely to be the backup who can fill the power run game role. However, while Da'Rel Scott and Andre Brown are on the roster, a back from the draft could compete with them to be the third option.
A feature-style back that can both run and catch such as Utah State's Robert Turbin could land with the Giants. Either Temple's Bernard Pierce or Texas A&M's Cyrus Gray would also be worthy of consideration.
The Giants' linebacking corps is a paradox: deep but shallow. They traded their fifth-round pick for Keith Rivers and re-signed Chase Blackburn to a one-year deal. However, with Jon Goff gone, they may need to look for a long-term solution to middle linebacker.
Michael Boley will anchor the corps and could switch over from outside to middle linebacker, but he is already 29. Nevertheless, the Giants have always gotten good value in past drafts at linebacker regardless of round with players such as Mathias Kiwanuka, a first-round pick, and Jacquian Williams, a sixth-round pick.
So, plugging the linebacker hole shouldn't be a problem, particularly in the fourth round where there seems to be somewhat of a larger crowd of capable linebackers available. North Carolina State's Audie Cole, Nevada's James Michael-Johnson or Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict could all be worthy decisions.