The New York Giants are in a unique position where trading up in the NFL Draft could land them the impact starter they’ve been lacking.
It’s a simple concept for the New York Giants to grasp: the window to win is now. During three consecutive losing seasons from 2013-2015, the Giants never felt the need to rebuild.
Instead, they felt they need to reload and general manager Jerry Reese’s calculated risks in free agency have paid dividends in returning the franchise to prominence after an 11-win season. There are only a few pieces missing to complete the Big Blue puzzle and trading up in this year’s draft might just help complete it.
Reese’s aggressiveness has been far more noted in free agency than in the draft. Since he took the position in 2007, he’s never once traded up in the first round. His “best player available” mentality has produced several high caliber first round talents and a few disappointments. You win some and lose others in the draft, but could this be the year Reese and the Giant brass make a bold move in round one?
It’s clear the biggest and most obvious need is an upgrade on the offensive line. Ereck Flowers‘s future at left tackle is far from certain and someone like Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk or Utah’s Garrett Bolles could be the pick at 23.
Rookie left tackles often make veteran signal callers worry, but it’s not unprecedented to see them cement themselves early on in their careers. Last season, the Detroit Lions took Taylor Decker in the middle of round one and he won the left tackle job and looks to be Matt Stafford’s blindside protector of the future. So, it’s not crazy for a rookie to step in and play well from day one.
If the Giants can get what they believe is a rock to anchor the left side, moving up a few picks could be worth it. Given how vital it is to protect a star quarterback, tackle could be in high demand, even in a thinner draft class.
Completing the Big Blue puzzle also means finding a capable pass-catching tight end. Rhett Ellison was signed to block and if we’re being honest, Will Tye does not look like the tight end of the future. Jerell Adams showed flashes of ability as a rookie, but the Giants could prefer someone more polished to make their passing game more legitimate.
Alabama’s O.J. Howard is easily the best tight end in the draft and is highly likely to be off the board before the Giants pick. It would cost the G-men several premium picks to move up to a position to take him in all likelihood. However, could you imagine Howard lining up at tight end while defenses are forced to pay extra attention to Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall? The match-up nightmares for defenses are plentiful.
Howard’s 6-foot-6 and 250-pound frame coupled with his 4.5 speed in single coverage is sure to cause problems. The price would likely be steep but the reward could be well worth it for a team that struggled to score last season.
The New York Giants could also very well value depth over a few top commodities and utilize all their picks. However, given Eli Manning‘s age and the team’s window to win, trading up shouldn’t be ruled out.