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Giants' 2011 Draft Preview: Defensive Line

The New York Giants are famous for stockpiling pass-rushing defensive ends, even when it looks like they don’t have any place for them to play. The theory always is ‘you can never have too many pass-rushers.’

This is why the Giants drafted Justin Tuck (3rd round, 2005), Mathias Kiwanuka (1st round, 2006) and Jason Pierre-Paul (1st round, 2010) even when it seemed they had no place for them to play.

Scott Wright of Draft Countdown recently said the Giants hit a “home run” with Pierre-Paul.

"The early indications are that guy’s gonna be a stud. I think they probably hit a home run with that. If he fulfills his potential that’s a grand slam. He’s going to be one of the best players to come out of that draft if he fulfills his potential."

With JPP blossoming, Osi Umenyiora still playing at a high level. Tuck being in his prime and Kiwanuka likely returning from a neck injury it would be stunning to see the Giants do defensive end again in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. This, though, is the Giants and you never say never when it comes to General Manager Jerry Reese grabbing defensive ends who can rush the passer.

What would not be stunning at all is to see the Giants try to bolster their defensive tackle rotation. Barry Cofield can be a free agent and his return to the Giants is a major question. Rocky Bernard has never played up to the contract he signed a couple of seasons ago. Linval Joseph, a second-round pick in 2010, is untested. Thus, this position could well be in need of reinforcements.

Corey Luiget of Illinois [full profile] is a player the Giants could target. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell raved about him at the Illinois Pro Day. Another is Muhammad Wilkerson of Temple [full profile] who has the size, athleticism and versatility the Giants like in their defensive linemen, and has been rising up draft boards.

If the Giants pass on these players in the first round I think it is a pretty safe bet that they will look for value and try to find a player they can add to their tackle rotation at some point in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Analysis: Depth is needed, a draft pick seems likely.