How Free Agency Impacts The Giants' Draft Plans
In the month and a half of free agency leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft, you can often get a little peek into the crystal ball of most NFL teams by watching how they approach the free agent market. For the New York Giants, it's been clear from the start of free agency that the team is aggressively trying to strengthen their defense by adding depth and experience, and it seems as if they'll continue to do so in the draft by targeting young defensive talent. Many analysts and mock drafts project that the Giants will draft a defensive player — either a linebacker or a defensive end — with their first round pick, although there isn't one name that has been actively singled out.
The Giants have historically used the draft and free agency to complement one another, and this season will likely be no different. The team will likely continue to address the positions that were considered to be weak points last season, including the linebacker position and the secondary, and will also look to add some new talent and additional depth to the offensive and defensive lines.
Thus far during free agency, the Giants have added help to all different positions, picking up Ryan Mundy to shore up the safety position with Kenny Phillips gone, Brandon Myers to play tight end with Martellus Bennett having departed, Cullen Jenkins to provide some run-stopping support on the defensive line and Dan Connor to add some depth to the linebacker position. They've managed to sprinkle in a little help at all of the positions that needed it the most heading into the offseason, and all indications seem to point to the team doing the same next weekend during the draft.
What the Giants' free agent acquisitions this offseason have also allowed them to do is to be a little more aggressive with their draft picks. While the Giants have never really been a team that has played it conservatively with their draft picks in the past — this is a team that took a gamble on Hakeem Nicks in 2009 when Kenny Britt seemed like the "safe" pick at that spot, believe it or not, and also took Mario Manningham despite his off-the-field issues at Michigan — there is always the tendency to draft for positions of need, rather than taking the best talent available. But with free agency filling in a few of the holes that the Giants had on their roster heading into this offseason, it frees them up a little more for the draft, allowing them to consider drafting based purely on talent in the later rounds and less on positional need.