Kuhn’s Goals: Get Healthy, Then Make an Impact

From Lou Musto of GiantsRush.com:

This piece marks the beginning of a series that will analyze the New York Giants’ 2012 draft picks and gauge what their outlook could be for the upcoming season. To begin this series, we’ll kick off with seventh-round pick Markus Kuhn.

Taken with the 239th overall selection out of North Carolina State, the German-born defensive tackle made quite the surprising impact during his rookie season with the Giants.

In 10 games, Kuhn recorded eight tackles and four pass deflections, while proving to be a fierce, physical presence in the middle. Unfortunately, a torn ACL in Week 10 against the Cincinnati Bengals cut his rookie campaign short. The impact it may have going forward is yet to be seen.

At 6-foot-4 and 299 pounds, Kuhn is a big, able-bodied athlete blessed with all the physical ability necessary to be successful. He will be a long-term development for the Giants, but the potential he showed in 2012 was a pleasant sight.

2013 Projection: Kuhn is still recovering from his torn ACL injury. Getting healthy will obviously be key, but he is expected to have a greater presence in the defensive line rotation this season.

He will need to show improvement against the running game if he’s going to be a long-term stay with the Giants—Pro Football Focus graded him out at a -5.4 against the run in 2012. With newcomers Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson and rookie Johnathan Hankins, Kuhn is faced with some stiff competition for playing time. Not to mention incumbent starter Linval Joseph, who is assumed to hold down one of the starting spots for at least the time being.

The Giants do a ton of rotating along their defensive front, so Kuhn will get his chances. In the meantime, the former Wolfpack standout will benefit from learning from tenured veterans like Jenkins, Patterson and defensive captain Justin Tuck.

Louis Musto is a featured columnist for The Giants Rush. You can follow him on Twitter @LouisMusto.