Pigskin Paul Guillemette will he holding our annual pre-draft chat at Eric Kennedy’s Giants’ fan site the Big Blue Interactive, which we feel is THE best NFL fan site in the league, at 1:30 PM ET later today. So please join us and have your questions ready! To set the stage, though, we (or ta least I) have some general comments about the Giants draft options etc that may answer some questions but may lead to others. cl
Let me start by stating categorically that I have no idea what the Giants are going to end up doing on the 29th and beyond next weekend. There are just too many moving parts ahead of them at this point. However, what we do have at this time is the sense that the primary goal that the Giants themselves would like to achieve at the 2021 draft is to upgrade the pass rush. Those are the whispers that have leaked out – in one way or another – from Giants HQ and they are backed up by the fact that the Giants had senior personnel people at 5 pro days this year and at 4 of those the prime prospect was an edge rusher. In fact, they had at least one senior person at the pro days of each of the 5 DE/ER prospects considered to be first-round candidates.
However, there are also a couple of caveats her. First, while just about every signal from the Giants is that their primary goal is to upgrade the pass rush indications are that they would take TE Kyle Pitts or WR DeVonta Smith in a heartbeat if either were still on the board at #11. In fact, nobody is ruling out the possibility of trading up if either even came within range of #11, although that seems unlikely. The buzz also suggests that if the Giants were able to get either a Pitts or a Smith at #11 they would try and trade back into the latter part of the opening round to get one of the top edge rushers.
The stickier point for the Giants would be if they get on the clock at #11, but the top ER on their board isn’t rated as the other players likely available at #11 most likely from a group including WR Jaylen Waddle, CBs Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn, LB Micah Parsons and G/T Rashawn Slater, all of whom are excellent prospects in their own right who would each be good fits with the Giants. The one thing you can count on with the Giants is that they will stay true to their board which means you either take one of those guys or trade down.
Obviously if one of the top 5 QBs is still on the board at #11 – and that is possible if the 49ers don’t take Mac Jones with the third pick overall – then there will probably be several trade down options. However, even if the QBs are gone, the fact is that there are still going to be some very attractive prospects on the board at #11 (see above) and it is not hard to imagine that there will be teams out there interested in one or more of those players. The Giants won’t get the same haul that they might get if a QB was there, but they should get offers including at least one second day pick.
In fact, the most interesting guy could be Northwestern’s Slater. There are a number of teams picking 12-20 that are believed to be looking to upgrade their OLs including Minnesota at #14, Las Vegas at #17, Miami at #18, Washington at #19 and Chicago at #20 who one would think would be more than interested to get a potential top ten offensive lineman. What’s the old saying? ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade!’
Of course, there are likely going to be a bunch of Giants’ fans asking why they wouldn’t take Slater for themselves if he were on the board at #11. Isn’t the OL still our biggest need? It certainly the scariest, but all indications are that at least for now the Giants themselves are reasonably comfortable with what they have on the OL and what the upcoming year is about upfront is seeing in fact where they’re at.
What is more likely on the OL is that they use a middle round pick on an OG or sing G/T. Indeed, it was interesting that the one pro day OL coach Rob sale went to was at Notre Dame where they have 4 decent offensive line prospects. However, each of those guys is more a late second, early third day type prospect. And I believe that’s where you want to build your interior OL i.e. with solid middle round picks as your G/Cs don’t have to be elite, just competent.
In that context, just a couple of other general points. One is that I see this draft (and the upcoming season) as less about trying to win the NFC East and getting into the playoffs, although obviously they want to win as many games as possible in 2021) and more about building a team capable of getting back to the Super Bowl 2-3-4 years down the road. In that context, we keep encouraging people to maybe think less of is fixing positions per se and more of building units that can win games.
And in that context we make the argument that in our view the Giants problems in recent years have not so much been that they have had too many holes in their roster (although those certainly existed), but they just haven’t had enough impact players on either side of the ball. And in that context one of the things we think the Giants will be really focused on in this year’s draft is upside.
Whatever we’ll find out for sure in just over a week. Hang in there!