Fresh off the heals of their 4th Super Bowl win in team history, the New York Giants will celebrate for a few more days. Then, just like the other 31 teams in the NFL, it's back to business as usual. Even though they got to, and won, the big game over the Patriots, there are still a few holes, tweaks and changes the Giants can and will make to get back to the big dance for the second-straight year. Below is my early mock draft on what the Giants will be looking for to better themselves in 2012:
1st Round (1.32): Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Aaron Ross is a free agent and Terrell Thomas is a free agent coming off an ACL injury. The team may decide to let one or both go, leaving some depth problems at corner back behind Corey Webster and Prince Amukamara. The secondary was a glaring hole at times this year.
Dennard is a well-rounded corner back who is athletic and aggressive, but he needs to improve on his tackling. He excels in man-to-man coverage and does a good job in moving receivers off the line. His reaction time while the ball is in the air needs to improve and he doesn’t have particularly good hands to secure the interception. He could fall all the way down to the Giants last pick in the first round because of concerns surrounding his speed.
2nd Round (2.32): Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi
The offensive line did what needed to be done in the Super Bowl, but this group still needs help at both left and right tackle. RT Kareem McKenzie is a free agent and I doubt he will be back. Massie is the biggest amongst the top 10 offensive tackles in the draft at 325 pounds and should be an immediate upgrade over McKenzie. Massie was voted 2011 SEC Pre-Season All-SEC Third Team in 2011.
3rd Round: (3.32): Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina
Mario Manningham is a free agent and could land a big deal after scoring in all 3 playoff games and making the play of the Super Bowl when he hauled in a pass near the sidelines and kept both feet in bounds. As the No. 3 receiver behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, the Giants aren't going to outbid a team who envisions Manningham as a starter.
Jones has nice size at 6'4/225lbs. He also has good change of direction and excels as a blocker during running plays. The Giants might miss out on Jones as his stock could go up if he can improve on his 4.5 40 time at the Combine. There is also a good possibility former Giant and Eagle Steve Smith could be brought back at a discount price.
4th Round: (4.32): Jeff Allen, OT, Illinois
It remains to be seen whether or not the Giants will look to plug up the left tackle spot earlier in the draft or go through free agency. Allen has some fundamental issues he will have to work on, but he has decent feet and is faster than his size would dictate (6'5/315). If drafted elsewhere, Allen could kick in to guard. But he has experience playing at both left and right tackle, so his versatility will help his draft stock.
5th Round: (5.32): Chris Galippo, LB, USC
Coming off ACL surgery, Jonathan Goff is a free agent this offseason which creates a big need at middle linebacker if he isn't brought back. Galippo should provide strong depth as a second stringer, but I see the team going the free-agency route for a starter if Goff isn't re-signed or if he isn't ready. Galippo had 20 career starts at USC, with 119 tackles (12 for losses) and 2.5 sacks.
6th Round: (6.32): Rhett Ellison, TE, USC
Jake Ballard should be fine once training camp begins after tearing his left meniscus in the Super Bowl, but Travis Beckum could miss most or all of the 2012 season after tearing his ACL in the first half. Ellison is a big body (6'5/250) and can be a strong red-zone option in the pros. Ballard has shown some knee problems aside from the Super Bowl injury after he also dealt with a right PCL injury late in the regular season. The Giants rarely use their tight ends in the passing game, but they could be intrigued by Ellison's blocking abilities.
7th Round (7.32): Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
David Carr is a free agent, but could be re-signed on the cheap. Eli Manning has yet to miss a game since his rookie year, but finding someone who could push Carr, or whomever is the 2012 backup, should be in the Giants' plans. Moore had a stellar college career, finishing 4th in the Heisman voting in 2010 and is a 2x Touchdown Club of Columbus Quarterback of the Year winner, now named the Kellen Moore Award. The biggest drawback for Moore is his size (6'/191). He has adequate arm strength, but is going to need to put in an impressive Combine if he wants to get drafted at all. He could sign on as an undrafted free agent. At the very least, he could push for No. 3 duties if he does go to New York.