Giants draft preview: DL

This is the sixth installment in a nine-part series that will analyze the Giants' needs, position by position, in the upcoming draft.

Position: Defensive line.

Depth chart: Justin Tuck (DE), Osi Umenyiora (DE), Barry Cofield (DT), Chris Canty (DT), Mathias Kiwanuka (DE), Jason Pierre-Paul (DE), Rocky Bernard (DT), Dave Tollefson (DE), Linval Joseph (DT), Alex Hall (DE), Dwayne Hendricks (DT) and Ayanga Okpokowuruk (DE).

Not under contract: Cofield, Kiwanuka and Tollefson.

Scouting report: Defensive line is the strength of the team and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell surely would love to keep this group intact. Cofield, Kiwanuka and Tollefson are all up for new contracts. The Giants would like to bring all three back. Cofield wants a multi-year deal and has made it clear that he does not want to play under a restricted free agent tender if a new CBA deems him a RFA. Kiwanuka has been cleared to play again after a neck injury ended his season following just three games. The Giants could offer Kiwanuka a one-year deal to establish his worth again. Re-signing Kiwanuka would make Fewell very happy since he used the defensive end at linebacker as well. Tollefson is a solid role player. Tuck and Umenyiora both had 11.5 sacks each under Fewell and Umenyiora added 10 forced fumbles. Pierre-Paul, the team’s first-round pick, showed his immense potential toward the end of the season and will only get better. Cofield had his best season and Canty and Bernard were able to remain healthy last season to keep the promising rookie Joseph on the bench.

The Last Time: The Giants drafted a defensive lineman last in 2010 when they took Pierre-Paul out of South Florida in the first round and Joseph from East Carolina in the second round.

Potential targets: Cofield wants to come back and the Giants want him back but will the price be right? And with free agency likely coming after the draft and Cofield saying he could ask for a trade if he has to play for the restricted free agent tender, the Giants could invest in a defensive tackle in case Cofield does not return. ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both have the Giants drafting South Florida DT Terrell McClain in the third round of their current mock drafts. At 19th overall, the Giants likely will have defensive options as well. Even though many believe he will go offensive line first, GM Jerry Reese has shown in the past that he can go for a defensive lineman over need. Temple’s Muhammad Wilkerson and Illinois’ Corey Liuget are first-round talents that the Giants have taken a look at. Georgia defensive end/linebacker Justin Houston also could be an interesting prospect.

Need Rating (On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being of highest importance): 4.

Tomorrow: Linebackers.