5 Biggest Offseason Additions For The Giants
When the New York Giants take the field for the first time in 2013 on August 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, there are going to be quite a few new faces to familiarize yourself with. Some of these new faces are draft picks, fresh out of college and ready to compete and make an NFL roster, and some of them are free agent acquisitions. However, one thing that all of these new additions will have in common is that they are all striving for one ultimate goal: to make a positive impact on the team and earn themselves a permanent spot in the lineup.
Of the Giants' 2013 offseason acquisitions, who will have the biggest impact on the team, not only this season but for the future as well? It starts with the new Giants TE Brandon Myers. It's no secret that Eli Manning loves getting his tight ends involved in the passing game, and the team has seen quite a few pass through in the years since Manning arrived in New York. From Jeremy Shockey and Kevin Boss to Jake Ballard and Martellus Bennett, the tight end position has played a major role in the Giants’ offense under Manning, and this year should be no different. With Ballard gone to New England — and likely starting at tight end there after the offseason the Patriots have had — and Bennett to Chicago, the tight end position now belongs to Myers, whom the Giants acquired from Oakland back in March. Myers is excited about the opportunity, and Giants fans are excited about the skills that Myers brings to the position.
Another offseason acquisition that should have a big impact on the Giants offense this season is WR Louis Murphy. Murphy, acquired as a free agent in March, was brought in as a possible option in the kick-return game and as a fifth wide receiver, but he has been impressive in early workouts and OTAs, and there is certainly potential for him to be a viable option for Manning in the passing game this season. While Murphy's career to this point hasn't been anything remarkable, he's spent most of his career in an offense in Oakland where he was one of the team's top targets. But playing alongside both Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz should allow him to slip under the radar of most defenses the Giants face this season.
On the other side of the ball, one of the Giants' first offseason acquisitions in 2013 was DT Cullen Jenkins, the former Philadelphia Eagle and Green Bay Packer. Jenkins is coming off of a relatively quiet two seasons in Philly where he averaged around five sacks a year, and he'll be placed in the middle of the defensive line in the Giants' base 4-3 defensive scheme primarily as a run-blocker, which is where the Giants' defense needs the most help. While Jenkins should be good for a few sacks and forced fumbles and will lend a hand in the pass rush, the Giants are already equipped with solid pass-rushers in Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul. Run defense is where Jenkins will have the biggest impact for the Giants this season, and they hope he can help resurrect the run defense from being one of the worst in the league, as it has been in the last few seasons.
Also on the defense, new free agent acquisition Dan Connor will likely be starting the preseason at the middle linebacker position where he'll being competing for the starting job with Mark Herzlich. Whether or not he wins the starting job, Connor should be a key addition to the Giants defense and brings some added muscle to the linebacker position — a position in dire need of some help. Connor is a six-year veteran who has had some mixed success in his time with Carolina and Dallas, and he should bring some veteran experience to the defense this season and help bolster a weak linebacker position.
Finally, the Giants chose to strengthen their offensive line with their first overall draft pick back in April, and that player, Justin Pugh, should have an immediate impact on the team this season. He's already shown flashes of potential in early preseason workouts, and the big question regarding his development will be how long it takes for him to gel with the rest of the offensive line personnel to create a cohesive unit that can protect Manning and block for David Wilson, Andre Brown or whoever else is carrying the ball for the Giants.