At the end of last year, here is what the Giants Defensive depth chart looked like:
|Left Defensive End||Justin Tuck||Jason Pierre-Paul|
|Left Defensive Tackle||Barry Cofield||Rocky Bernard|
|Right Defensive Tackle||Chris Canty||Linval Joseph|
|Right Defensive End||Osi Umenyiora||Dave Tollefson||Alex Hall|
|Left Linebacker||Keith Bulluck|
|Middle Linebacker||Jonathan Goff||Chase Blackburn||Phillip Dillard|
|Right Linebacker||Michael Boley||Gerris Wilkinson|
|Left Cornerback||Corey Webster|
|Right Cornerback||Terrell Thomas||Aaron Ross||Michael Coe|
|Strong Safety||Kenny Phillips||Deon Grant|
|Free Safety||Antrel Rolle||Brian Jackson|
And here is the bolstered roster once we account for everyone to be considered as a possible Giant in 2011:
Here are the current Giants who will probably be free agents once the new CBA is worked out:
DT Barry Cofield ($1,759,000)
DE Dave Tollefson ($1,684,000)
LB Chase Blackburn ($650,000)
LB Keith Bulluck ($855,000)
LB Gerris Wilkinson ($1,176,000)
DB Courtney Brown ($470,000)
S Deon Grant ($855,000)
S Michael Johnson ($1,350,000)
Overall, I like what the Giants have here on defense. It is a solid, formidable group that I expect to finish the job they started in 2010. Perry Fewell will have another year under his belt with this group and by the looks of things, it’s going to start off well.
At the beginning of last year, defensive backs were a huge concern. No longer…. Antrel Roll and Deon Grant updraded the secondary considerably, and now that Prince Amukamara is ready to impress it really doesn’t bother me if we should lose somebody here.
Positions of slight concern are as follows: Defensive Line, and Linebacker
DL – Now, defensive line is only an issue if Cofield and Kiwanuka both leave. That said, Cofield is the most likely player to exit this year. Kiwi was cleared by doctors to play earlier this offseason. So with Tuck and Umenyiora holding down their roles, JPP coming into his own, hopefully Kiwanuka can receive a contract from the Giants and round out the DE’s next season. Both JPP and Kiwanuka got moved around last year from DE to DT to LB, it was extremely effective in creating confusion and generating a very versatile pass rush from every gap in the offense. I would hate to see either player go but if it’s one or the other, I think the Giants have drafted enough talent in Linval Joseph and now Marvin Austin to let Barry Cofield seek his huge pay day.
LB – Priorities first. Who’s the man in the middle? The Giants have good linebackers, but no one is truly great. Jon Goff did a decent job last year all things considered. His pass coverage improved and we know he can step up and stop the run on a dime. I’d like someone with a bit more captaining ability the way Antonio Pierce used to vocally run the show for this position, and terrific vision to make the stop after the play has evolved from the snap. Chase Blackburn was be mostly missed if he left Special Teams, not necessarily LB… but Coughlin really likes him and he’s a fan favorite. Greg Jones will certainly provide competition for this role, and I look forward to seeing what the two-time All-American brings to the table for the Giants.
On the outside, Keith Bullock may not be around, Michael Boley needs some help, and according to Jerry Reese Clint Sintim needs to finish maturing and step into a starting role this year. The Giants have got to find a way to stop getting gashed in the middle of the field if they want to make it back to the playoffs this year… perhaps a big free agency move to land a game changing LB will be next for the Giants.