The Giants are hoping to soon finish a rebuild that has been going on for years. This draft is crucial to that process. With a few positions still left to be filled, here are some players the Giants can target in the 1st round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Probably the biggest hole the Giants currently have is in the offensive play-making department. Besides Saquon Barkley, the group they have is mid-tier at best.
While Darius Slayton had a promising rookie year, he fell off in his sophomore season, having only two games with 100+ yards. Sterling Shepard, when used correctly, is a nice weapon to have, especially in the slot, but after him, the WR group is extremely lackluster.
Then there’s Evan Engram. Engram’s drops were one of the most egregious problems for the Giants in 2020. Engram dropped 11 passes, and 5 balls that went off his hands turned into interceptions.
It is safe to say that the Giants need to give Daniel Jones some help. While guys like Shepard and Slayton can play good offensive roles, the Giants need another great playmaker to be a “number one guy.”
The draft this year is filled with some amazing offensive talent. The first names that come to mind are receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Devonta Smith, two electric players at their position. It would be absolutely amazing if the Giants were able to get one of these guys at #11, however neither will probably escape the top 10.
Another option is WR Jaylen Waddle, a teammate of Devonta Smith at Alabama. Waddle is just as talented as Devonta Smith, but an ankle injury that sidelined him for a majority of the 2020 season may turn teams away. Waddle’s speed and explosiveness has allowed him to be one of the best deep threats in the game, and would surely be a great weapon for Daniel Jones. However, it is not guaranteed that even he falls out of the top 10.
What other options do the Giants have if they are unable to get one of the top 3 WRs from this draft?
First, there’s Kyle Pitts, TE out of Florida. It can be argued that Kyle Pitts is just as good a weapon as the top WRs in this class—he’s just that good. While he wouldn’t fill a traditional TE role, the Giants could utilize him in multiple TE sets, something they did often this past season.
There’s also another option that seemingly nobody is talking about: Rashod Bateman, WR out of Minnesota. Bateman is easily one of the most underrated WR prospects in this draft, and when watching his film, it’s hard to find a blaring weakness in his game. The Giants could very easily take him at 11 or trade back in the draft, get some picks, and select him then.
Bottom line, there are SO MANY offensive options for the Giants in this draft. They honestly cannot go wrong with any of the aforementioned prospects.
The last big-time pass rusher the Giants had was Jason Pierre-Paul. While Leonard Williams had a career year and is looking to be back with the Giants, Dave Gettleman needs to be looking for another pass rushing talent.
Overall, the top edge rushers in this draft are not mind-blowing prospects, which is why the Giants should be cautious to jump the gun on one of them at #11.
Kwity Paye and Gregory Rousseau are the top graded pass rushers going into the draft. However, neither scream “big-time defensive game changer.” Both are raw prospects with much development needed.
Now, I don’t believe the Giants should take either of these players at #11, however if they get the opportunity to trade back and select one of these players, it’s worth looking into.
As previously mentioned, both are in need of development, and who better than Patrick Graham to help with that. I believe Patrick Graham could translate their raw talent to NFL level play.
Again though, both would be risky to bet on at pick 11. In my opinion, the Giants should wait until later in the draft to draft an edge rusher.
The Giants are still in need of a CB2 to line up alongside James Bradberry. While there are good 1st round options, it should be noted that selecting a corner in the 1st round should not be at the top of our list, and should only be a choice in certain circumstances.
If somehow Ja’Marr Chase, Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, and Kyle Pitts are all taken in the top 10, only then should the Giants contemplate the selection of a cornerback.
Patrick Surtain II is the top corner in this draft and could possibly fall to the Giants at 11. Surtain’s ability to keep up with the best in man coverage without taking penalties is what makes him so good at the position. Adding him to the Giants defense could put their secondary in the conversation for best in the league.
There’s also Caleb Farley, who is more likely than Surtain to be available at 11. Farley is a very different corner from Surtain, relying more on his speed rather than technique. His size and ball skills are also a huge part of his game.
Besides the players previously mentioned, there’s not many others to really look at for the Giants in the 1st round.
The only other player I can really think of is Micah Parsons, LB out of Penn State. He undeniably has talent and would be a key addition to the defense, however some serious character issues may steer a lot of teams away.
Some fans may also say that the Giants select a QB—possibly Trey Lance—if Daniel Jones doesn’t pan out, but that’s just blasphemous. It’ll obviously NEVER happen, as the Giants are completely committed to Daniel Jones as the future QB.
It is apparent that the Giants have a ton of options. The front office has some serious thinking to do, and the moves the Giants make in free agency will help to paint a clearer picture of the Giants draft plans.