The New York Giants loaded up pretty good in free agency, their acquisitions touching virtually every position group on the roster. Regardless of the shift in strategy--with few exceptions, the Giants handed out more one-year deals than anything--the NFL draft remains the way to build up a franchise, and the Giants will be in search of their latest building blocks starting this Thursday night.
New York has only six draft picks, tied for second-least draft capital with a few other teams. But before anyone gets discouraged, it's not necessarily about quantity as it is about quality, and the Giants have been diligent in stacking their draft board with the top college prospects that match their remaining needs both short- and long-term.
As always, every draft has a bit of an underlying theme to it. One of last year's themes was to beef up the offensive line. What will this year's theme be? It all starts Thursday night.
2020 Giants record
6-10 (second place in NFC East)
- WR Kenny Golladay - The Giants finally got a legitimate (and big) X-receiver for their offense, a critical piece they really haven't had since the days of Hakeem Nicks and before that Plaxico Burress.
- CB Adoree' Jackson - New York is taking a flier on the Titans' former first-round draft pick, hoping that his skills finally put an end to the revolving door the team had at the No. 2 cornerback spot opposite of Pro Bowler James Bradberry.
- NT Danny Shelton - Shelton is the latest in a growing line of players with that Alabama or New England connection brought in by the Giants. He'll presumably step in at nose tackle to take on snaps that are now available following the departure of Dalvin Tomlinson, but can the well-traveled Shelton be as effective?.
- RB Devontae Booker - People groaned at the contract Booker received (2 years, $5.5 million), but the Giants brass recently clarified that it views Booker as an every-down back. And with starter Saquon Barkley likely to be eased back into a full workload after tearing his ACL last year, hopefully, Booker, who projects to be the team's third-down back at bare minimum, proves to yield a greater return on the investment.
- DT Dalvin Tomlinson. Tomlinson, who signed with the Vikings, is coming off a career season, and while his statistics aren't much to write home about as compared to some other defensive linemen in the league, Tomlinson's effect on the pass rush and run defense were vastly underrated and will be sorely missed.
- OLB Kyler Fackrell. Fackrell, who signed with the Giants one a one-year "prove it" deal similar to what Markus Golden signed the year prior, didn't quite achieve the numbers Golden put up before him. Still, Fackrell, who tied with Dexter Lawrence for second in sacks on the team (4.0) did have a positive effect on a Giants pass rush that finished tied 12th in the league in sacks despite not having a legitimate 1-2 pass-rush punch. Fackrell took his talents to the Los Angeles Chargers, and the Giants are still searching for the next Jason Pierre-Paul to give opposing offenses something to think about.
- RB Wayne Gallman. Wayne Gallman, one of the last remaining draft picks from the Jerry Reese era, never really got a fair shake during his four years here. Buried by every coaching staff over that time, it wasn't until the Giants were left with no choice but to turn to him that Gallman finally showed that it was a mistake not to give him more touches throughout the years.
Still, no one could blame him for moving on--he signed a one-year veteran salary benefit deal with the 49ers--as a fresh start was needed. With that said, the Giants' running back depth right now is paper-thin as far as experience goes, with the rehabbing Barkley and Booker the only two halfbacks with any kind of significant regular-season touches.
2021 draft picks
- Round 1 -- No. 11 overall
- Round 2 -- No. 42 overall
- Round 3 -- No. 76 overall
- Round 4 -- No. 116 overall
- Round 6 -- No. 196 overall
- Round 6 -- No. 201 overall (via Arizona)
The Giants traded their fifth-round pick to the Jets for defensive lineman Leonard Williams and their seventh-round pick to the Broncos for cornerback Isaac Yiadom.
Edge Rusher: Go back and look at the last four Giants teams to make the playoffs. What they all had in common was a legitimate group of edge rushers (emphasis on the plural). Currently, however, the Giants don't have that--they have seen glimpses from Lorenzo Carter, who is coming off an Achilles injury and who is in a contract year, and flashes from Oshane Ximines, who is also coming back from a season-ending injury, but that's about it.
Interior Offensive Line: Presumably, Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux will battle it out for left guard while Zach Fulton will be in the mix at right guard. But worth noting is that Hernandez and Fulton are only signed through this year, meaning at some point sooner than later, the Giants will need to have an interior offensive lineman ready to go.
Wide Receiver: Yes, the Giants signed Kenny Golladay and John Ross. But anyone even remotely curious as to why Golladay has a per-game roster bonus in the first year of his new contract rather than a flat roster bonus? The bottom line is if there is any kind of injury at this position--and need I remind anyone that Sterling Shepard has missed games in the last two seasons--the Giants are right back where they started from.
Cornerback: Oh sure, the Giants added Adoree' Jackson to the group, but is anyone really satisfied with the depth at this position? Another cornerback--and one that could contribute out of the chute--would be the cherry on the cake and give the Giants a virtual air-tight defensive secondary, which would go a long way in helping the front seven with getting to the quarterback.
Receivers Jaylen Waddle or Devonta Smith, Alabama: If you're looking for the safe bet at No. 11, look no further than whichever of these two 'Bama receivers are there when the Giants go on the clock. Either would give the Giants receiving corps an additional productive playmaker.
LB Micah Parsons, Penn State: He's drawn comparisons to Seattle's Bobby Wagner and is widely regarded as one of the top defenders at his position in this class. But there have been reported character issues with Parsons, issues that he chalked up to immaturity during an interview following his impressive pro day workout.
Would the Giants, who ignored reported work ethic concerns about cornerback DeAndre Baker, roll the dice on another highly talented player but one with some warts?
CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama: Surtain probably won't make it down to the Giants at No. 11, but if he does, he'd be tough to pass on. Widely regarded as the top cornerback in this class, his presence could potentially give defensive coordinator Patrick Graham a huge chess piece with which to work.
CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina: Horn figures to have a better chance of being there at No. 11, but does the value match the talent, or would the Giants at the point be better off going in a different direction?
How to watch the 2021 NFL Draft
- Thurs, April 29 (8-11:30 p.m. ET): Round 1 -- ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio
- Fri, April 30 (7-11:30 p.m.): Rounds 2 and 3 -- ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio
- Sat, May 1 (12-7 p.m.): Rounds 4–7 – ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio
- Online/Streaming: Watch ESPN, YouTube TV, NFL app, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV