John Fennelly, Lead WriterIn a continuation of yesterday’s article on the offense, we take a crack at the Giants’ defensive depth chart. Keep in mind, free agency is still ongoing and the draft will certainly add a few more names to the list.
Cullen Jenkins (starter), Markus Kuhn, Jonathan Hankins, Mike Patterson. Only four with the addition of Patterson this week. Jenkins is still a top tackle, Patterson was a space-eater last year and the Giants are expecting positive things from Hankins and Kuhn. They will not deter them from adding another player or two before camp. One could certainly be Pitt’s Aaron Donald, who the Giants would be fortunate to get their hands on in the draft.
Jason Pierre-Paul (starter), Damontre Moore, Mathias Kiwanuka, Robert Ayers. If everyone is healthy, this group has the potential to create havoc. JPP will be one starter (RDE) and depending on health, Damonster or Kiwi will get the nod at LDE. Ayers will be sprinkled into the rotation, perhaps more on rushing downs. Jenkins can also slide over over in a pinch. The club may seek another body here, where they’ll find him is anyone’s guess at this time. It took a long time to bring Ayers in, so they’re more likely to draft a DE than sign a free agent.
Jon Beason (MLB), Spencer Paysinger (WLB), Jameel McClain (SLB); Jacquian Williams, Mark Herzlich, Allen Bradford, Kendrick Adams, Spencer Adkins. More quantity than quality here. Beason and Paysinger carried the water for the unit last year as the Giants employed a nickel package over their base defense in most games. McClain should help by taking on some reps and the Giants are also hoping Williams finally stays healthy for a full season. He, Bradford and Herzlich are basically backups and special teamers. The Giants will look for more quality in the draft and scour the UDFA market afterward, but once again, it will be a draft that fails to produce a star LB.
Antrel Rolle, Will Hill (starters); Stevie Brown, Cooper Taylor, Quentin Demps, Chaz Powell. A solid group here that probably won’t be added to before the season unless something drastic happens. They might run into a prospect in the draft they can’t pass up, however. Keep in mind Rolle is a UFA after this season, Hill has a history of getting suspended and Brown is coming off a lost season (ACL). The club may feel they need to pre-empitvely insure themselves.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Prince Amukamara (starters); Walter Thurmond, Trumaine McBride, Jayron Hosley, Zack Bowman, Junior Mertile, Charles James, LaRon Scott, Travis Howard. There’s an old adage that you can’t have enough corners and the Giants have heeded that message. The addition of DRC, Thurmond and Bowman have really made this unit a strength. But don’t be shocked if the Giants look to pile on if a player to their liking comes along.
Synopsis: A defensive scheme that one relied heavily on it’s vaunted pass rush has evolved into a more balanced unit. The Giants have fortified their back seven and will continue to tweak it going forward. The defensive line has a full compliment of talented players but the consensus is that a pass rusher or difference maker will be brought aboard in the upcoming draft.