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- Giants.com Free Agent Central
- JOHN SCHMEELK: Geoff Schwartz. It was one of the Giants first moves, and I think their best. If there was one weakness the Giants had last year that really short-circuited their season, it was offensive line. He was one of the best guards on the market, filled a major need and came at a good price. This was a move the Giants had to make and, therefore, the best free agent move.
- DAN SALOMONE: Geoff Schwartz. I was sold at 6-6, 340. The Giants needed talent on the line. They needed size. They needed a veteran with his best days still ahead of him. Finally, they needed someone they could plug in day one. That’s Geoff Schwartz.
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- MICHAEL EISEN: Trindon Holliday. For years, the Giants have had to chase outstanding return specialists without having one of their own. Now they have one. Let’s hope Holliday’s presence will force the other teams to feel the same discomfort the Giants have experienced.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: I just didn’t think the Giants could fit a top corner like this into their budget, but they were able to do just that. The Giants secondary might now be the strength of their roster and one of the best units in the NFL. It will free up Perry Fewell to be very creative with blitz packages next season.
- DAN SALOMONE: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Whether it was the cap space or the two other defensive backs they signed the day before (Walter Thurmond and Quintin Demps), the Giants made a statement with DRC. They will not be complacent after finishing as the No. 8 defense last season. Antrel Rolle lobbied for his former teammate from their days in Arizona, and it’s hard not to listen to him. The league took note of the Seattle Seahawks this past season. Rodgers-Cromartie gives the Giants an added confidence to the defense.
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- MICHAEL EISEN: J.D Walton. He didn’t play a down in 2013 because of a serious ankle injury. But he might become the Giants’ starting center.
- JOHN SCHMEELK: Walter Thurmond. Despite doing an hour talk show the morning after Thurmond’s signing, I didn’t receive ONE call asking about him as a player. I couldn’t believe it. Though Thurmond will likely be the third corner, he is a virtual starter in the slot with all the three wide receiver sets the Giants will see next season. According to Pro Football Focus, he was one of the top five cover guys in the slot last year, and he will be a huge plus in the Giants defensive backfield. I also don’t think enough people are excited about Rashad Jennings, who I think will be the Giants' best running back since Tiki Barber.
- DAN SALOMONE: Rashad Jennings. It seems like this signing was lost in the shuffle of all the defensive moves, especially when Rodgers-Cromartie was brought in. But let’s not forget where the Giants' problems were last season. They were on the offense. And it wasn’t all on the offensive line. The revolving door at running back needed to be addressed, which is only amplified by David Wilson’s uncertainty. The Giants saw how hard Jennings ran against them for the Raiders in Week 10 and took notice. He’s ascending at 28 years old with just 387 NFL carries on his odometer.
MICHAEL EISEN: The Giants are still thin at tight end. But it’s difficult to pick a specific player, because we haven’t seen the new offense in action. Do the Giants need a player who will line up next to the tackle and be counted on to block linebackers and defensive ends? Or someone who will constantly go in motion and be more of a receiver? How about an H-back type? Without knowing more about the offense, it’s hard to pick the player.
- JOHN SCHMEELK: The Giants still need to pick up a veteran presence at tight end, even if they intend on finding their eventual starter in the draft. Someone like Ed Dickson, Owen Daniels, or even someone like Ben Hartsock could all be options depending on their price. Don’t sleep on Larry Donnell, however, who played through a lot of pain last year and proved to be a reliable blocker.
- DAN SALOMONE: Offensive line. We’re squarely in the second wave of free agency. The teams that made their splashes have already done so. Now it’s about bringing in depth before the NFL Draft, which begins May 8. If Jerry Reese can somehow maneuver bringing in another interior lineman like a Brian De La Puente, they could really have some options in the draft.
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MICHAEL EISEN: Justin Tuck. The Giants have long believed you can’t have enough good pass-rushers and Tuck had 11 sacks last season. And he was a team captain and leader.
- JOHN SCHMEELK: I’m going to cheat and say Linval Joseph and Justin Tuck together. I worry about the impact their departure will have on the run defense, which was one of the best in the NFL last season. Both players quietly did their job extremely well and were rock solid in their assignments against opposing running backs. Johnathan Hankins and Mathias Kiwanuka will have big shoes to fill replacing them on the defensive line.
- DAN SALOMONE: Hakeem Nicks. Say what you will about Nicks last season, but the Giants are staring at a 56-catch, 896-yard void to fill without him. And that was on a very down year. We also know how close he was with Eli Manning, the franchise quarterback and two-time Super Bowl MVP. In addition to the offensive line, Nicks became another scapegoat for those who were looking for one in 2013, but the man could produce. The Giants wouldn’t have a fourth Lombardi Trophy without him. We’ll see if the 2014 corps is up for the challenge.
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