Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Continuing In the Middle...

Okay, I get it. Pick up a defensive tackle in free agency, draft for safety and middle linebacker.

I hear ya. And it's not that bad an idea. And it's a good bet that one of the three positions of the middle defense will be addressed by a veteran.

So who's available at defensive tackle? In our continuing shopping cart series, here's an idea of the selection Jerry Reese might be looking at once the free agent smorgasbord begins March 5. You needn't look further than the next few paragraphs.

You might also want to keep in mind that the Giants will probably tender defensive tackle starter Barry Cofield, who will be a restricted free agent unless a new CBA is reached. But there's a good chance unrestricted DT Fred Robbins will be let loose in free agency.

CASEY HAMPTON: This 32-year-old Steeler is one of the best defensive tackles in the league. He plays a true nose tackle in Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense, which would probably translate to the end of Barry Cofield as a starter in the Giants' 4-3. The Giants would have to go hard for him, since the Steelers have made him a re-signing priority. His 43 tackles helped the Steelers become one of the best run defenses in the league, and his 2 1/2 tackles shows he can pressure the passer. Might look nice next to Chris Canty.

RYAN PICKETT: The 30-year-old Packer helped transform Green Bay into a solid run-stopping defense. Almost all his snaps came at nose tackle on running downs and he proved a virtually impenetrable roadblock up the middle, where he made 47 tackles and batted one pass. At 340 pounds, he's strictly a first and second-down guy, though, as he barely pressures the passer.

AUBRAYO FRANKLIN: The 30-year-old 49er jumped into the elite class of nose tackles this year. The 49ers want him back badly enough that they plan to franchise him if they can't work out a long-term deal this week. He does almost nothing against the pass, but with Patrick Willis commanding the middle linebacking duties, he doesn't have to.

VINCE WOLFORK: The Patriots' defensive tackle is considered an elite product, and at 28 he should have plenty of gas left in the tank. He'd be a difficult get, however, since the Pats seem intent on keeping him around, whether it be through his preferred long-term extension or by franchise tag. We'll know by Feb. 25, the deadline for applying franchise and transition tags, whether anybody will have an outside shot at him. The Pats aren't beneath doing that, either. Since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000, they've whacked around five players with the franchise hammer, so don't count on getting him.

TONY BROWN: You can always use a pass rusher, and with Robbins possibly on the way out, this 29-year-old Titan would be a great choice. He'll be restricted, absent a CBA, but he might be the one DT worth giving up a draft picks in compensation. He's one of the best pass-rushing defensive tackles in the league with five sacks and a league-high total of hits on the quarterback. And his 38 tackles indicate he's good enough against the run. Gonna be hard to pry away from Tennessee, however.

KENDRICK CLANCY: He's 32. He's got a Super Bowl ring with New Orleans. Problem is, he was hurt for all but two games in the regular season before going on IR with a knee injury. And he had lost his starting job even before the injury to Remi Ayodele. Still, he might be worth a flyer as an inexpensive pickup for someone who is stout in the middle.

TRAVIS JOHNSON: At 28, the Charger is still developing. He'd be restricted, too, unless a CBA agreement is reached. He had 16 tackles this year.



  1. Unless they can get Wilfork, Brown or Johnson I would prefer the Giants stick with Robbins. I know he wasnt that much of a force this season and nor was Cofield but lets not forget they both had knee surgeries before last season started. I wasnt expecting them to be 100% going into the season that plus the fact that there near the 300lb mark if not more doesnt make it easier for the knees. The Giants should see how they do this season before making a decision on them. I'm not opposed of going after Dan Williams (DT) in the draft though. He totally made people forget about the DT Gerald McCoy during the Senior Bowl weekend. 1 thing is for sure, this defense needs some type of fire restored in it.

  2. Alford, Cofield, Canty and draft picks, draft picks and more draft picks. If the Giants were to sign a DT I would hope it would only be a plug in role player, not any of these guys who could end up like Bernard.

  3. Let's not forget, Jay Alford will be coming back next year as well. Heading into the season, the Giants were expecting a big year from Alford. And I don't know if DT is that high on my list to be honest with you.

    The Giants still have Cofield and Canty for next season. Then you add in Alford. I think the Giants just need a solid player at that position. I'm not opposed for the team drafting a DT like Dan Williams, if he's available at 15, but I think the DTs they have or will have next year are serviceable.

    And if the Giants do sign Robbins, it probably wouldn't be as a starter. So, if Cofield and Alford are your starters and Canty and Robbins are your backups, is that bad?

    How much would they have to give up to get one of those free agents? If Dan Williams is there and the safety from Texas or McClain aren't on the board, then draft Williams, but if not, the foursome they have is a pretty solid group.

  4. Please, no more free agency acquisitions for the defensive line. There's already 1 bust plus another potential to be.
    The Giants have enough picks to deal with the weaknesses on defense, but it's imperative that they don't just throw away draft picks like last year's 6th and 7th round selections. I mean, who didn't know that these guys weren't going to make the team. Reese couldn't even tell you anything about them on draft day.

  5. they need somebody to clog up the middle and let the lb's run free. i'm for wilfork, but realistically doutb that will happen. what are the ramifications of cutting bernard?

  6. The Giants don't need the LB's to run free as the LB's are not close to being a strength on this team. This is not the Giants of old. However, they do need a playmaker at the DT position. With Coefield coming off an injury, many expected a playmaker out of Alford and newcomer Canty. Both coming off an injury plagued season may very well prove to be playmakers, so the Giants must act judiciously when analyzing this position.

    But besides DT, the Giants must address all LB spots on the team as well as the S position. No more signing of veterans to man a position for a couple of years. The need of team speed has been evident for a couple of years now with little having been done to address it. Just watch any of the games against the Eagles in order to confirm this point. Brutal!

  7. Supposed to be a very deep draft at DT. I could see us grabbing a guy like Lamarr Houston or Cam Thomas in the 3rd-4th rounds.

  8. Ryan Picket woudl be a nice addition if hes cheap. doesn't matter if hes just a 1st/2nd down guy, as we tend to bring 3 DEs into the rotation anyway on 3rd. As before though, nopoint giving up too much money. as has been mentioned before (and, i;m sure, will be mentioned again)its a deep deep draft and we can pick up some promising young guys for not very much at all, so we - and most teams in fact - can afford not to panic too much and ruish into a bad, overexpensive signing.

  9. The problem with drafting DTs is that they have a high bust potential unlike mlb and safety. We need to hot a homerun on DT, MLB, and safety for us to be a playoff caliber team.

    Free agency is going to tell us the direction but I say draft a mlb and safety first. Pick up a good DT and draft a DT in the low rounds. I am not crazy about Cofield. He stunk last year.