At the end of last year, here is what the Giants offensive depth chart looked like:
|QB||Eli Manning||Sage Rosenfels|
|WR 1||Hakeem Nicks||Michael Clayton||Devin Thomas||Darius Reynaud|
|WR 2||Mario Manningham||Derek Hagan||Duke Calhoun|
|RB||Brandon Jacobs||Ahmad Bradshaw||D.J. Ware|
|TE||Kevin Boss||Travis Beckum||Jake Ballard|
|LOT||David Diehl||Will Beatty||Shawn Andrews|
|LOG||Rich Seubert||Kevin Boothe|
|ROT||Kareem McKenzie||Jamon Meredith|
As we head into 2011 without free agency, after a new draft class has been inserted into the grid, with all returning players’ injuries healed — here is what the competition could look like once we head into training camp (assuming there is one):
Plaxico Burress? (I kid)
The list of probable free agents are as follows:
QB Jim Sorgi ($630,000)
RB Ahmad Bradshaw ($1,001,000)
WR Steve Smith ($555,000)
WR Derek Hagan ($630,000)
WR Darius Reynaud ($470,000)
WR Michael Clayton ($630,000)
TE Kevin Boss ($1,350,000)
FB Bear Pascoe ($395,000)
OL Kevin Boothe ($1,176,000)
OL Jamon Meredith ($395,000)
Obviously, the Giants are good with QB’s. They SHOULD have enough WR’s to go around even if a few don’t come back, but I’m assuming Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon will be back as well. I think the Giants should strongly consider Hagan as well, he showed he can own the slot after getting off the couch, and he’s a ST stud. Not so for Reynaud or even Clayton, but Clayton did just workout with Eli Manning in the rain so he’s committed to elevating his game.
And the Giants added another RB to the mix in the draft so there should be enough competition for the backfield even if Bradshaw (or Jacobs for that matter) goes elsewhere.
Which leaves Offensive Line, Fullback, and Tight End as the most pressing positions of need on offense to be filled by free agency this year.
OL – Where do you start? C Shaun O’Hara shouldn’t have played through injuries last year, and who knows if the 34 year old can get back to 2008 status three years later. If he can’t who snaps the ball? Double goes for LG Rich Seubert who just had his knee rebuilt after a stellar season as Guard and backup Center. If Seubert cant get back to form, without any free agency moves — ooff.
Hopefully O’Hara will be good to go by the time summer roles around. It’s too early to tell what will happen in free agency but conservatively if Diehl slides inside to Left Guard with a healthy Shawn Andrews playing Tackle and Will Beatty backing him up, I feel a hole lot better about things. But we don’t know what injury status or free agency rules we’ll be looking at when June hits… so there are still lots of unknowns here.
TE – Kevin Boss needs to be resigned, period. The man owns the red zone, is severely underutilized, takes hits like no one else, has great hands, and he’s a great guy all around. Assuming the versatile Bear Pascoe makes the switch over to fulltime FB, there’s really no one else here. Travis Beckum has been an afterthought in Kevin Gilbrides offense, he struggles with blocking, and hasn’t emerged as the H-Back type of player we all hoped he would. Bottom line, the Giants need another TE here in free agency to make a splash.
FB – Can the Giants manage with just one FB if Madison Hedgecock doesn’t work out? Bear Pascoe handled the role himself for the bulk of 2010, but don’t forget he started the year as a TE and transitioned quite well. If the Giants plan to continue their reliance on smashmouth football by utilizing their Fullbacks, another road paver that can also catch the ball would be great to have as backup to Pascoe… because Hedge may have dropped his last pass as a Giant.