Giants final draft: How I would lead the New York Giants draft committee if I were general manager

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I’ve spent the past four months trying to figure out what new Giants general manager Joe Schoen will do in his first draft. It was a lot of work.

So I thought it was time to have fun. Here’s how I’d lead the Giants draft if I called the shots:

New York Giants draft pick

Round To take Globally Remarks

1

5

5

1

7

7

Bears

2

4

36

3

3

67

3

17

81

Dolphins

4

7

112

Bears

5

4

147

5

30

173

From chiefs to crows

6

3

182

Round 1

The Giants have the fifth and seventh picks in the first round. There’s more uncertainty than usual over the top picks this year, so it’s hard to predict who will be available when the Giants do. Michigan point rusher Aidan Hutchinson is the only prospect who appears to be a lock to be gone before No. 5.

The Giants don’t lack options because they don’t lack needs. All signs point to a tackle with the fifth choice and that’s understandable. It’s almost certain that at least one of the top tackles — Alabama’s Evan Neal, NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu or Mississippi State’s Charles Cross — will be available at No. 5.

My preference is Neal, although I wouldn’t hesitate if he left and Ekwonu was available. I’m more wary of Cross, who is seen as a better fit at left tackle where the Giants already have 2020 first-round pick Andrew Thomas. The worst case scenario for me would be Neal and Ekwonu being among the top four picks. I think the Giants would take Cross in this scenario, but I would pass and take the best available cornerback or edge rusher at No. 5. That would get me in a bit of a mess at tackle, but it’s worse to hit in the Top 10 .

In my ideal world, I would land Neal at No. 5 with Ekwonu as my plan B depending on how the top four picks play out.

In #7, I would seriously explore back trading to acquire more project capital. However, I think it will be difficult to find a business partner, because there is not a strong demand for the teams to progress. So if I have to make that choice, I’m targeting the best defensive player on my roster.

Once again, the Giants will be at the mercy of who gets picked ahead of them. But in the best-case scenario, Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner would be a perfect fit. Cornerback is a vital position in the defense of coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale and the Giants have a major need there with James Bradberry’s days with the franchise numbered.

If Gardner is gone, I’d pivot to LSU cornerback Derek Stingley or the best point rusher available.

2nd round

The Giants have the fourth pick of the second round (No. 36 overall).

The Giants should count on the arrival of another high-impact player at this location. Recent picks No. 36 include Giants safety Xavier McKinney, 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel, Colts linebacker Darius Leonard and Cardinals safety Budda Baker.

There should be plenty of intriguing options for the Giants this year. And again, they can target just about any position based on their roster status. I would be more interested in adding an edge rusher if I could land Neal and Gardner in the first round.

Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie, Houston’s Logan Hall, and Minnesota’s Boye Mafe Project are the best spike options in this lineup. I’d also entertain Michigan’s David Ojabo if his ripped Achilles made him slip that far.

If the value doesn’t fit an edge rusher, I’d also consider an inside offensive lineman (Tyler Linderbaum from Iowa, Kenyon Green from Texas A&M), wide receiver (Johan Dotson from Penn State, Skyy Moore from West of Michigan), linebacker (Georgia Nakobe Dean or Quay Walker, Christian Harris of Alabama) or safety (Lewis Cine of Georgia, Jalen Pitre of Baylor). It could also be a place for a trade like the Giants did last year when they dealt the 42nd pick to the Dolphins for the 50th pick and a third round in 2022.

There are tempting options at other positions, but the Giants desperately need to improve their passing rush. So I’m hoping to land Ebiketie to line up against 2021 second-round pick Azeez Ojulari.

Round 3

The Giants have two third-round picks, Nos. 67 and 81.

The third round has been a wasteland for the Giants since the snap of wide receiver Mario Manningham in 2008. That has to change. It’s a place where the Giants should be able to add two quality players to improve the roster.

After hitting three prime positions in the first two rounds, I think this is where the Giants can focus on other holes. I expect the Giants to target a running back in the third round, but that’s sooner than I’d prefer. The 67th pick could be the sweet spot to land the difference-making linebacker this roster needs. Wisconsin’s Leo Chenal, Montana State’s Troy Anderson, Georgia’s Channing Tindall and Oklahoma’s Brian Asamoah could all be third-round targets. Chenal would be the best option in this group if available at No. 67.

No. 81 seems like a great place for a tight end. The Giants have a few veteran draft tight ends who are below average blockers, so adding a traditional two-way tight end should be the goal. Jeremy Ruckert of Ohio State, Cade Otton of Washington and Jelani Woods of Virginia are all said to be fit. Woods has the most upside of this group. It’s also a place I would consider an inside offensive lineman because the Giants need depth and long-term development there.

Landing Chenal and Woods in the third round would give the Giants starters two of the weakest positions on the roster.

Round 4

The Giants have the seventh pick of the fourth round (No. 112 overall).

This is another place the Giants could target a running back, but I would keep waiting. The fourth round is a good place to add an inside offensive lineman with an advantage. Simply taking a first-round tackle won’t solve the Giants’ O line, as the inside spots are mostly filled with veteran stopgap and unproven young players. If still available, Kentucky’s Luke Fortner would be ideal as a player who could compete for a starting guard spot this season and develop into a long-term answer at center.

If Fortner is gone, the focus could shift to someone like Georgia, running back James Cook, who could have an immediate role as a play receiver out of the backfield.

Round 5

The Giants have two fifth-round picks, Nos. 147 and 173.

If I couldn’t land Fortner in the fourth round, now would be the time to add an interior offensive lineman. Zach Tom of Wake Forest has the versatility to serve as a substitute down the line with the potential to become a starting center.

If I had an offensive lineman earlier, I would focus on running back, wide receiver, defensive line, or safety at this point. Value would line up to take a running back like North Dakota State’s Pierre Strong or Alabama’s Brian Robinson in the fifth round. At receiver, Bo Melton of Rutgers and Tyquan Thornton of Baylor could be options. Louisiana safety Percy Butler would fit a position in desperate need of reinforcements.

Strong and Butler would be a strong group of players who can contribute as rookies and move into bigger roles as they progress.

Round 6

The Giants have the third pick of the sixth round (#182).

At this point in the draft, it’s more about trying to find a player who can make the roster than any positional need. I like the idea of ​​taking a flyer on a wide receiver like Nevada’s Romeo Doubs, who could replace Darius Slayton if the Giants drop the 2019 fifth-round pick for salary cap reasons.

Not landing defensive linemen isn’t ideal, but even with nine picks, it’s impossible to fill all the holes in this list. The Giants should have 10 spots open on the undrafted free agent roster, so they can use that avenue to add more reinforcements.

Round 7

The Giants don’t have a seventh-round pick, and if Schoen wants to befriend reporters, he won’t trade for more!

Final Draft Map

First round: Evan Neal, occupational therapist, Alabama; Ahmad Gardner, CB Cincinnati
Second turn: Arnold Ebiketie, Edge, Penn State
Third round: Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin; Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia
Fourth round: Luke Fortner, C/G, Kentucky
Fifth round: Pierre Strong, RB, State of South Dakota; Percy Butler, S, Louisiana
Sixth round: Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada

All Schoen has to do is follow this plan and he is guaranteed to have a successful draft. And if all those players crash and burn, luckily my job security isn’t tied to their fate.

(Evan Neal Photo: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via AP)

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