Where did the Giants get better and where did they get worse this offseason?
The Giants got better with the safety position and defensive line. They obviously lost their third-round pick Chad Jones for a little while, he was in that accident. Picking up Deon Grant, good cover, smart safety. Antrel Rolle is really starting to come into his own at safety. You have to remember he only played two years of safety in Arizona. Before that he was a corner but [safety] is really his natural position. They definitely got better back in the deep middle.
The D-line has young potential. Jason Pierre-Paul was a bit of a reach. They took him on potential early, that’s a little scary to draft potential that early, but he does have potential as a pass rusher and those guys are hard to find. It took courage to take him that high, but he is a pass rusher and they’re at a premium. Linval Joseph, the kid they took in the second round. He’s a huge space eater inside, and he’s an athlete too, with a lot of potential. So again, they’ve gotten better in the defensive line, better in the secondary. They’re better at receiver too. Hakeem Nicks. Ramses Barden. Both good guys to watch.
Where did they get worse? Well I think they got worse in the backup quarterback situation. They had David Carr and I’m not a huge fan of his, but Jim Sorgi has never really done very much at Indianapolis. He’s a fringe backup. If the #1 guy goes down they could be in trouble.
They could still use a corner too. They gave up 26 points a game and scored 26 points a game, so if that’s not an 8-8 team, nothing is. It’s a tough division. They did get a little better, but it’s a tough division, I think the toughest division in football. They’re going to have their work cut out for them.
Jason Pierre-Paul, defensive end with a high ceiling. If he reaches that ceiling, what type of player is he?
Well he’s an impact pass rusher. He’s a long edge-rush athletic type. The problem is that he’s only done it one year. But if there’s enough tape — if you have 8 or 10 tapes, that’s plenty to go on. But when you take a guy that high after only one year, it’s a little risky, especially when you’ve got a lot of guys in college who have been doing it for a couple years. But pass rushing is pass rushing. You line up and get after the quarterback. It’s not a difficult position to master. He definitely has a high ceiling and with him it could be hit or miss, but if you hit on Jason Pierre-Paul you’re going to hit big.
If he reaches his potential Jason Pierre-Paul will be just like [insert player name].
Leonard Little in his prime.
If he misses will he be just as big of a flop as, say, Vernon Gholston?
Certainly. If he misses he’ll be a backup in a couple years and you won’t really hear much about him. That’s really the problem with these guys. If you hit, you hit big, and if you miss they disappear. Those first-round picks, that’s why it’s hard to take potential early, and that’s why I wouldn’t mess with it, but that’s just me. I’d have to see it in more than one year, but there are positions that are harder to find and I understand exactly what the Giants are thinking by taking Jason Pierre-Paul. It’s risk-reward.
A guy who had a big name for himself in New York and then he disappeared, Osi Umenyiora. What do you expect from Osi this season?
I think he’ll come back with a vengeance. He disappeared last year but prior to that he was a Pro Bowl talent getting after the QB. Maybe it was a change in coordinator, although I never really think that makes much of a difference because you have to play the game, you have to line up and play the game. Maybe he had a Super Bowl hangover, but it was a miss year and he did look dominant the year before. He never found his rhythm last year and Coughlin is a disciplinarian so maybe he got in the doghouse early. I expect him to come back this year and certainly play better than he did last year. He’ll be a player for them. We’ll see what happens. He’s a bit of a mystery but if he plays anywhere close to where he played two years ago he’ll be fine.