Injuries could heavily influence the Giants' draft direction.

Winning the Super Bowl came at a cost for the Giants, as it always does. And that price was paid during the game itself, as both of the tight ends atop their depth chart–Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum–tore ACLs and will now spend the offseason recovering.

Martellus Bennett was signed as a free agent, but despite his promising upside, he’s had very little experience as a top tight end while playing behind Jason Witten in Dallas for the past four years. That’s led to the widespread belief/assumption that the Giants will target a TE in the first round. Stanford’s Coby Fleener is quickly rising up draft boards after an impressive Pro Day, and the draft’s top-rated player at the position could be available when the Giants are on the clock at the tail end of the first round.

For our second draft preview we spoke to Eric Kennedy of Big Blue Interactive, and we asked him if a dip in the TE market is indeed the ideal direction for the Giants early in this year’s draft.

1. Bennett was just signed to address an area of need. But if the value is right, would Jerry Reese still look to draft a young tight end? Dual tight ends have worked pretty well for New England…

Sure, the Giants will keep an eye on tight ends, but I’m not sure the prognosticators are correct in predicting a tight end in the first round.  A lot of tight ends coming out of college now are really H-Backs and more position blockers at best (i.e., Travis Beckum).  Giants like their true tight ends to be around 6-5, 270 pounds.  So the Giants may look for a TE who they can mold later in the draft, similar to Jake Ballard (who actually wasn’t drafted).

2. While another tight end would be a luxury, a middle linebacker could be a higher priority. Who do you have your eye on?

I wouldn’t say another tight end is a luxury.  Giants use two tight ends all of the time and players get hurt.  The Giants will carry three tight ends.  At the same time, middle linebacker might not be as pressing as some think.  Jonathan Goff may be re-signed.  If he isn’t, Chase Blackburn might come back.  And the Giants have two young guys in Mark Herzlich and Greg Jones.  That said, if the value is there, they could take one.  While most don’t think he will be there, if Luke Kuechly slides, the Giants love Boston College players.

3. If Stephen Hill falls far enough, is there a chance the Giants grab him to replace Mario Manningham, and give Eli Manning yet another weapon?

Definitely.  In fact, my best guess is the Giants go DL, OL, WR, or CB in the first round (in no particular order).  WR makes a ton of sense for the Giants.  They will likely draft one high.  And Hill is someone they are surely considering.

4. How about a running back in the later rounds? Who’s the ideal fit to replace Brandon Jacobs?

Jacobs may be re-signed.  But even if he is, the Giants are going to add a running back or two.  It’s tough to predict who they may be looking at because they have gotten guys like Ahmad Bradshaw and Da’Rel Scott late.  I wouldn’t be shocked if they took a running back high either.  I think they will be looking for someone with make-you-miss ability.