By TPR Staff

As we continue the Team Needs series for the 2013 NFL Draft, we proceed to the team with the nineteenth overall pick; the New York Giants. It seems ever since Tom Coughlin has been the head coach of this team that their December is either red hot or arctic cold. For the defending champs, it was unfortunately the latter in 2012.

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Still, this is a team on the edge of going in a certain direction. There have been some surprise cuts and they have some free agent issues that will leave big needs to be filled in this April’s draft. Here are some of the positions they’ll look to upgrade or replenish.

Defensive End

It’s funny how every year the Giants seem to take a defensive end early, and every year they’re criticized for it. However, analysts then turn around and talk about what a fierce pass rush New York has built. Still above average, the Giants pass rush did fall off a little last season. Justin Tuck was a disappointment and Osi Umenyiora is a free agent. With no end playing consistently last year outside of Jason Pierre-Paul, don’t be surprised to see New York take yet another end early. I don’t see them going that way in the first unless Dion Jordan finds a way to slide to them at nineteen.

Draft Possibilities: Dion Jordan, Sam Montgomery

Offensive Tackle

For Eli Manning to do what he does best, he needs some pocket protection. In the first half of 2012, he got it. In the second half, right tackle David Diehl almost got him decapitated. The need for an upgrade there, combined with the looming free agency of William Beatty, who will get paid by someone, has to have the team considering a high pick on a tackle and maybe even two. Depending on the board, I could see New York going with Lane Johnson if he slides surprisingly.

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Draft Possibilities: Lane Johnson, Kyle Long

Cornerback

The Giants were killed through the air last season and the lackluster play of Corey Webster was a favorite target of opposing quarterbacks. The need for an upgrade over him as well as some depth at the position has to have corner pretty high on their draft board. In the early to middle rounds, I expect to see them taking two corners, starting with a cover guy like Terry Hawthorne.

Draft Possibilities: Terry Hawthorne, Blidi Wreh-Wilson

Defensive Tackle

The team decided to bring back Shaun Rogers but sent Chris Canty packing. Marvin Austin is looking more and more like a second round bust and Rocky Bernard will be hitting the market in free agency soon. Plenty of room for depth and possibly even a starter spot in this group headed forward. I really believe the Giants are open to best player available in the first round if it is a position of need. So if a stud prospect at tackle like Sheldon Richardson somehow falls to them at nineteen, I think they’d be all over that selection.

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Draft Possibilities: Sheldon Richardson, Kawann Short

Linebacker

Not only was the play at linebacker underwhelming last season, most of these guys are free agents to be.  Chase Blackburn and Keith Rivers will both try their luck on the market and Michael Boley was given his walking papers. So, in short, I expect a linebacker heavy draft for New York in the middle to late rounds. There is plenty of room for depth and this could start some interesting camp battles if a prospect like Arthur Brown is brought in.

Draft Possibilities: Arthur Brown, Sean Porter

Much like every season, no one is looking at the Giants as a Super Bowl contender today. But once the season starts, they’ll be constantly mentioned as a team that could put it all together and end up right back in the Super Bowl if things fall their way.

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Another stud draft in 2012 and Tom Coughlin could have this club doing what they do best; proving people wrong. They really weren’t that far off last season, they just were unable to turn it off and turn it on quite like they had in the years past. But don’t be surprised if they’re standing up by a podium smiling again in 2013 with a strong draft.

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