With Osi Umenyiora all but assured to land in Atlanta, and inexperienced depth behind starters Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN reports the New York Giants are "likely" to move Mathias Kiwanuka back to full-time defensive end.
The main concern with moving Kiwi back to full-time DE is the lack of playing time he'd receive if he's not also taking snaps at linebacker.
With the Giants also "likely" moving towards a less frequent rotation amongst defensive ends, moving a starting linebacker to reserve defensive end seems like a rather large gamble. But as Michael Eisen of Giants.com recently pointed out, it all depends on what Big Blue values most. Do they feel he's better suited as a starting linebacker or a part-time defensive end?
With Keith Rivers poised to take over at strongside linebacker and Dan Connor assuming the role in the middle, it would leave only Jacquian Williams to man the weakside position. And behind him? A blank slate. And therein lies the problem.
Although the Giants place tremendous value on their ability to rush the passer, and although Kiwi is a more natural DE than LB, weakening one position to strengthen the depth at another seems like a lateral move at best. And given their interest in players like Dwight Freeney and Dave Tollefson, as well as their belief that Adewale Ojomo is going to turn into a solid player, indications would be that Kiwi is staying right where he is (at linebacker).
Of course, that all could change. What the Giants do over the remaining weeks of free agency and then in the 2013 NFL Draft will dictate what happens with Kiwi. If they stock up on more defensive ends, he'll remain where he is. If they instead target linebackers, chances are he'll move back to defensive end. Fact is, right now, there's really no way of knowing.
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