Let's do a quick experiment: what was the Giants' record last season? I would have guessed around 5-11. That doesn't sound too outrageous, right? They had a really rough season.
Well, as it turns out, the Giants were 7-9 last season, which is much better than I would have thought. The two game swing doesn't seem huge, but being one game away from .500 is a bigger deal than I think most people assume. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention to an underachieving NFC East team last season, but I the more I look at the Giants' last season, the more I'm surprised. This doesn't mean I think they are going to be world-beaters (or NFC East-beaters for that matter) next season, but they have a solid group of talent.
The reason why I probably stopped paying sufficient attention to the Giants is due to their six game losing streak to start the season. The reason why I should have been paying more attention? They finished the season by winning 7 of their last 10 games. Obviously the Giants are hoping that this hot streak will continue into next season. In a division that saw the Philadelphia Eagles take a big step forward, the Giants are hoping to shore up a few key positions to be explosive on offense and strong on defense. That seems a bit obvious, of course, but the Giants are a few positions away from making the NFC East look like the worst division in the NFC.
Curtis Painter, QB; Andre Brown, RB; Peyton Hillis, RB; Louis Murphy, WR; Hakeem Nicks, WR; Brandon Myers, TE; Bear Pascoe, TE; Chad Jones, S; Kevin Boothe, OL; Justin Tuck, DE; Linval Joseph, DT; Mike Patterson, DT; Shaun Rogers, DT; Keith Rivers, LB; Jon Beason, LB; Trumaine McBride, CB; Aaron Ross, CB; Terrell Thomas, CB; Stevie Brown, S; Ryan Mundy, S; Josh Brown, K.
There are a few big names on this list, most obviously Hakeem Nicks. While I am sure the Giants would like to retain Nicks, it's probably not in the cards. There's some minor chatter that the Baltimore Ravens are interested, but I'm not sure how much stock to put into this. No, what's really problematic for a future Hicks-Giants union is the fact that they are already pretty set at WR and they don't have a ton of cap space. While the $19,288,183 seems like a decent enough amount (and it is) they probably won't spend it on a position of luxury.
The other big name on the list is DE Justin Tuck. Tuck started out the season pretty slow, not generating the sack totals the Giants would like, but he finished off pretty strong. Where he is strongest, though, is in the run game. Pro Football Focus graded him out to an 11.7 run defense grade on the season, which is an impressive grade. Tuck appears to be a higher priority for the Giants, though reports indicate that he will be testing the free agency waters.
First round - own: 12th
Second round - own: 11th (43rd overall)
Third round - own: 10th (74th overall)
Fourth round - own: 13th (109th overall)
Fifth round - own: 12th (140th overall)
Sixth round - own: 11th (171st overall)
Even though the Giants traded their seventh round pick to the Panthers, I expect that they will target some positions of need in the draft for depth. One area that could use some depth is at RB. The Giants may attempt to re-sign Andre Brown, but look for him to be challenged. The OLB position group is solid but could use more depth. As could the defensive line. Finally, look for the Giants to bring in competition at Center and Left Tackle.