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Mocking the NFC East: Recapping NY Giants free agents


A team with a recent history of impressive drafts decided to jump head first into the free agency pond. And when they emerged from the murky waters, they bagged some very impressive fish.

Under the direction of Jerry Reese, the NY Giants went from underachievers to demons of the NFC East. Unlike their Super Bowl year in 2007, last year the Giants were a dominant regular season team. They won the NFC East, and seemed poised to repeat as NFL Champions. But, like many teams trying to repeat, injuries and dumb off-the-field problems (Hi Plaxico! How's the thigh?) tripped up the G Men. They lost in the Divisional Round to the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that has had NY's number in the post-season of late.

Unlike many fans, I do not think Eli Manning is the reason NY lost to Philly in the playoffs. Did he play well? No. But much of the reason he did not play well was due to the fact that NY's WR and TE corps have little playmaking ability. In addition, without Osi Umenyiora and an injured Justin Tuck, the Giants defense wore out down the stretch. When the off-season officially began, Reese set about fixing the one thing that the Giants live and die by: Their defensive line.

Osi is expected back, and his addition will add even more pass rusher punch to a very strong and potent d-line. But now also added is Rocky Bernard, an impressive pass-rushing DT who thrived in Seattle's 4-3 Blitz scheme (which is a similar scheme to the Giants). Though Canty is listed as a DE, he is 6'7, 302 pounds. In NY's system, they will use him as a NT who can hold the point of attack, allowing Bernard, Osi, and Tuck flexibility to get pressure on the QB.

With these signings, it seems pretty clear that the Giants cannot afford to draft a DT or DE in the first or second round. Heck, with the depth (and cap investment) they have now, they may avoid the d-line in the draft entirely.

The more I look at the Giants, the more I think the WR and TE positions need the most work via the draft. An excellent round two prospect (or maybe even round one) is Missouri TE Chase Coffman. Not a sexy pick, but he is the kind of guy that can give Eli Manning that which he needs: A security receiver. If Brandon Pettigrew falls to NY in the first round, they would be wise to take him. As Mocking Dan decrees:

Pettigrew is an NFL-ready tight end with good athleticism and a frame well-suited for the pros. Good enough athleticism to be a serious threat in the passing game. Has solid hands but tends to catch with his body from time to time. Size causes mismatches for defenders. He’s too fast for most linebackers and too big for safeties.

This kind of player would help the Giants create mismatches when teams play zone, and if they drop a safety down on someone like Pettigrew, it will open up WR opportunities downfield. In general, rookie TEs will offer more of an immediate impact than a rookie WR, and since the Giants are built to win now, a TE is a better option.

Free Agents Signed (Previous Team) Remaining Free Agents Free Agents Lost (New Team)
DT, Rocky Bernard (SEA)
WR, Amani Toomer
S, James Butler (STL)
DT, Chris Canty (DAL)
K, John Carney
RB, Derrick Ward (TB)
S, C.C. Brown (HOU)
DE, Jerome McDougle

LB, Michael Boley (ATL)
DE, Renaldo Wynn

CB, R.W. McQuarters