The Giants went into last season thinking they had the biggest, baddest, deepest defensive line in the NFL. After a disappointing 2009 hampered by injury and perhaps a twist of complacency, they apparently were convinced otherwise.
The team's first two picks of the 2010 draft were defensive linemen. On Thursday, they took end Jason Pierre-Paul in the first round and Friday - with three strong linebackers still on the board as potential replacements for Antonio Pierce - they selected Linval Joseph, a tackle from East Carolina.
"We want to get better with our defense," general manager Jerry Reese said. "We had a lot of points scored on us last fall and we're trying to upgrade the defense. We're trying to upgrade the entire football team, but we feel good about our first- and second-round picks."
Asked what he thinks of his defensive line, Tom Coughlin nodded confidently.
"We're coming, we're coming," he said. "We'll get some of these guys who are here [on the roster] healthy and competitive again. That's a good thing."
The Giants went defense as well in the third round - but not with a linebacker - picking safety Chad Brown out of LSU. It's the third safety the Giants have added this offseason.
Joseph said he had a feeling he would wind up with the Giants and even chose them when he relaxed while playing Madden with his brother during the day.
"We were talking about the Giants yesterday, talking about them today, playing them on the video game," he said. "It's crazy."
Unlike the first round when the players the Giants coveted most disappeared, the second round seemed to open up in the Giants' favor. When they made the 14th pick, they had their choice of highly touted Sean Lee of Penn State, Darryl Washington of TCU and Brandon Spikes of Florida.
But the Giants are convinced that picking Joseph will help whoever plays linebacker. They expect him to gobble up blockers and keep the linebackers behind him clean. That was something Coughlin said Fred Robbins gave the team when he was healthy during the Super Bowl run. Coughlin said it was important to "re-establish" that kind of play.
"This guy is a big anchor now," Reese said of Joseph. "He's a load inside and it's hard to push a big man like him back. One of our guys described him as a human post. He'll give those linebackers a chance to run to the ball by eating up blocks inside."
"Right now I'm 315," Joseph said of his weight. "315 is where I'd like to be at. 315 is perfect. I'm strong at 315. When I get smaller than 315, I drop off a little bit strengthwise."
What weight would the Giants like to see Joseph playing at?
"As big, strong and powerful as he can be," Coughlin said. "Whatever the weight is where he runs the fastest and is the strongest."
Notes & quotes: Amid reports that the Raiders are looking to either trade or cut LB Kirk Morrison, who became expendable when the team selected Rolando McClain in the first round, a league source has told Newsday that the Giants are not expected to address the possibility of acquiring Morrison until after the draft, "if at all."