The Giants have the fourth pick in the draft after finishing 4-12. They could choose Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons or they could also pick one of the top four offensive tackles. If they pick Simmons, many Giant fans will throw darts at GM Dave Gettleman because they didn’t pick a tackle or they’ll throw eggs at him if they pick a tackle because they passed on Simmons. He could cure cancer and they would complain he’s putting doctors and nurses out of work. No matter what, the Giants need help at more than one or two positions and they might as well go with the best player available.
The Giants have ten picks, with four in the seventh round. Their third round pick is a compensatory one, along with two in the seventh.
I list the needs below, including major, for depth, and areas they are unlikely to look at. I may add categories for a particular situation.
Major Needs (No Particular Order):
Wide Receiver: The trio of Sterling Sheppard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton is competent, but they are missing that one top guy. In addition, Shepard had two concussions last year and another could put his career in question. Shepard and Tate are similar receivers and Slayton had a big rookie year, supplying downfield speed. The G-Men took heat for trading Odell Beckham Jr., but he was too much of a distraction and the trade was addition by subtraction, even though he was one of the most talented receivers the Giants have ever had. Corey Coleman and Cody Core were re-signed, Core for his special teams play. Several others are on the roster, but a tall and talented receiver would help the Giants a great deal. While they are unlikely to pick one with their first pick, they could anywhere after that.
Offensive Line: This has been a sore spot for at least five years that has been addressed, but not always with the best results, especially with the last regime. Gettleman shelled out a lot of money for Nate Solder at left tackle to stop the bleeding from Ereck Flowers and while the results have not always been good, it is a step up, but more is needed. Right tackle had Mike Remmers leave in free agency and Cameron Fleming signed from Dallas. Fleming could be a good stop-gap and backup, but a long-term solution is needed. Center is another place the Giants need help. Jon Halapio was average at best and he tore his achilles tendon in the season finale, Spencer Pulley backs him up, and they will probably address this position after the first round. The Giants are better off at guard with Kevin Zeitler on the right side and Will Hernandez on the left. Zeitler has been one of the game’s best guards who just turned 30 and Hernandez has good potential, even though his sophomore year wasn’t as good as expected. The depth is shaky, but they have hopes for Nick Gates, who could be a good fill-in at guard or tackle. Other linemen include Chris Slade, Eric Smith, Nate Wozniak, and Tanner Volson. A tackle or center will be on the to-do list in this year’s draft.
Edge Rusher: The interior of the defensive line is solid, but a top pass rusher is needed. The Giants will be playing multiple fronts under new coach Joe Judge and that could come from an end in a 4-3 or their outside linebacker in a 3-4. Markus Golden led the team with 10 sacks, but he is a free agent who is currently unsigned. Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines, third-round picks in each of the last two years, had 4.5 each and one of them will need to increase that total. Ex-Packer Kyler Fackrell was signed in free agency: the question will be is he the player who had 10 sacks two years ago or only one a year ago? With a draft pick or from within, the Giants need a significant improvement in their pass rush.
Inside Linebacker: Linebacker has been another sore spot over the years. Alec Ogletree was released in the off-season and he was often seen trailing a receiver who just caught a pass for significant yardage. Big Blue signed Blake Martinez from the Packers to improve things. Returning is second-year man Ryan Connelly, who was having a good rookie season before tearing his ACL in the fourth game. David Mayo was re-signed and he is a good situational player against the run. A good year from Martinez and a strong recovery by Connelly would be a big help, but the Giants would be well-served to get more quality.
Safety: Even before they didn’t re-sign Antoine Bethea, the Giants needed a free safety. Former Paramus Catholic/Don Bosco star Jabrill Peppers started at strong safety and was ably replaced by rookie Julian Love when he was hurt. Nate Ebner was signed, but more for his special teams play. Camden alum Sean Chandler is back and Michael Thomas, another special teams star, is an unsigned free agent who may have been nudged out by Ebner. Mark McLaurin was an undrafted free agent who was out all year with an injury who can contribute.
Quarterback: The Eli Manning Era is over with his retirement and passing the torch to first-round pick Daniel Jones. Jones erased the doubts of those who hated the pick, but he had growing pains and will need to hold onto the ball in the future. Colt McCoy was signed in free agency to add depth, along with holdover Alex Tanney. If they make a pick here, it will be in the late rounds.
Running Back: Saquon Barkley has been as good as advertised, but he will need help around him. Dion Lewis was signed in free agency for depth and his receiving skills. Wayne Gallman gained 63 yards replacing Barkley when he was injured, but had a concussion and seemingly fell out of favor with the last coaching staff. With a new coach, the slate is clean for him. Ex-St. Peter’s Prep back Jonathan Hilliman is on the roster and Javorious Allen is not likely to be re-signed.
Tight End: Evan Engram is a good tight end who needs to stay healthy and a good weapon who can be split out wide. Kaden Smith was a nice rookie find after being released by the 49ers before the season. Riki Ellison retired and has been replaced by free agent Levine Toilolo, known for his blocking. Bergen Catholic alum Garrett Dickerson and second-year man CJ Conrad are on the roster and Eric Tomlinson was signed. I only see a tight end being selected if it’s a late one.
Interior Defensive Line: The Giants are building depth with good players and they’re still young. Dexter Lawrence enters his second year, Dalvin Tomlinson his fourth, Leonard Williams his sixth, and BJ Hill his third. They also signed St. Augustine alum Austin Johnson from the Titans for depth and he enters his fifth season. Also in the mix are RJ McIntosh entering his third year, Chris Slayton his second, and St. Joe’s (Montvale) alum Kevin Wilkins his second. If they address this area, it will be late.
Cornerback: There is a lot of youth here and the free agent signing of James Bradberry will add a veteran presence on one side. Deandre Baker struggled much of last year as a rookie first rounder and settled down late in the season. After missing the first year-and-a-half of his career with injuries, Sam Beal received some needed playing time. Corey Ballantine saw snaps at corner and in the slot and looked like a rookie, while Grant Haley manned the slot to mixed results. Rashaan Gaulden and Derrick Baity are on the roster, while Dravon Askew-Henry was signed from the XFL. Another area where they use a late pick, if any.
*Information from various sources, including Pro-Football Reference, Sportac, and ESPN.