By Paul Dottino
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A second straight 9-7 record was not good enough for the Giants to make it to the playoffs in 2012. And they likely will need a contribution from this year’s NFL Draft class to qualify in 2013.
Although general manager Jerry Reese has plugged numerous holes through the first round of free agency, he’s got more to do, beginning with the 19th overall pick in Thursday’s first round. The Giants own one pick in each of the seven rounds, plus a compensatory pick near the bottom of the seventh.
Here’s a look at the Giants’ positional needs going into the NFL Draft:
QB: No consideration. The Giants are set this year, with veteran David Carr returning to back up two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning. Curtis Painter enters camp as the No. 3, even though the Giants — as usual — are expected to keep only two quarterbacks on the regular-season roster.
RB: Some consideration. There are numbers — and potential — on the roster, but none of these running backs are proven. Speedy second-year pro David Wilson needs to mature quickly if he is going to carry the bulk of the burden. Andre Brown — the lone power back on the roster — and Ryan Torain are coming off of leg injuries, although they’ve shown some production in limited action at tailback. Scat back Da’Rel Scott remains an unknown commodity. FB Henry Hynoski is used as a blocker.
WR: Little consideration. Restricted free agent Victor Cruz likely will return and Hakeem Nicks is optimistic about being healthy. Veteran Louis Murphy adds speed and physical second-year pro Reuben Randle has many skills, making this a formidable top four. Unproven smurf Jerrel Jernigan enters camp as a “show-me” player.
TE: No consideration. Brandon Myers (Raiders) was signed to give Manning an additional passing option, but he’s not much of a blocker. Bear Pascoe can block, but he won’t scare many defenses downfield. Second-year pro Adrien Robinson, a terrific athlete, remains unproven.
OL: Heavy consideration. A starting right tackle is needed, even if James Brewer likely will be given a chance to compete. Veteran David Diehl has played both tackle and guard spots, so he should be a valuable backup, but they should draft somebody to compete for what amounts to one or two roster spots on the line.
DL: Some consideration. The Giants have numbers here, especially given that Mathias Kiwanuka is expected to play more as a lineman than at linebacker this year. But there also are questions at end, specifically about what it will take to get rebound seasons out of former Pro Bowl ends Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul. And how good is Adewale Ojomo, an intriguing but unproven second-year pro? Imported Eagles DTs Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson are being asked to solidify the interior.
LB: Heavy consideration. They’ve overhauled the starting three and expect Jacquian Williams and veteran Keith Rivers — both have fought injuries — to flank former Cowboys MLB Dan Connor. At the very least, the Giants should bring in competition to improve their depth.
DB: Some consideration. If veteran CB Terrell Thomas is able to make it back from three ACL surgeries, the Giants will open camp with at least eight “make-it” players in the secondary (plus former Steelers reserve S Ryan Mundy), with the thought that they’ll keep nine. Then again, the Giants have lost more manpower games in the secondary — specifically at corner — than at any other position over the past two seasons.
Some consideration. They Giants always seem to be in need of somebody who can provide kick coverage. CB Justin Tryon already is gone and backup LB Mark Herzlich — both among the top five on the roster in special-teams tackles last season — likely will be asked to compete for his job.
WHEN THE GIANTS PICKED 19th IN THE FIRST ROUND
2011: Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara
1999: Notre Dame OT Luke Petitgout
1986: Notre Dame DE Eric Dorsey
1985: Kentucky RB George Adams
Realistically, who would you like to see the Giants select in each of the first three rounds? Let us know in the comments section below…