The Giants have acquired star wideout Kenny Golladay. Now, there are more ways to utilize their first-round draft pick.
The Giants will employ a new No. 1 wide receiver in 2021.
On Saturday, the organization and Pro Bowler Kenny Golladay came to an agreement on a four-year deal worth $72 million ($40 million guaranteed). The now-former Detroit Lion should boost the talent level in and around this offensive unit while also greatly assisting in the development of young quarterback Daniel Jones.
But what this acquisition also does is provide the Giants with more options in the opening round of the upcoming NFL Draft. The main argument was that Big Blue should take a receiver with the No. 11 overall pick, but now that Golladay will be in East Rutherford, there are a number of alternative moves the Giants could consider.
So what can the organization do?
Florida’s Kyle Pitts would be the Giants’ No. 1 tight end given his talent, size, athleticism, and expected high production level. He would also be one of Jones’ top targets instantly and an upgrade from the struggling Evan Engram.
If Pitts is available at No. 11, he may indeed be who Dave Gettleman decides is the newest Giant.
The problem, however, is that when the late-April night arrives, he might not be available when the Giants are on the board. His stock is rising, and as of right now, it’s looking like he may be a top-10 pick.
Heck, if the Jets don’t choose BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, there’s a chance the Florida standout heads to Florham Park as the No. 2 overall selection.
For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Todd McShay has Pitts going No. 6 overall to the Philadelphia Eagles in his latest mock draft.
Taking the Golladay move into consideration, the Giants may decide to go defense in the first round instead of further adding talent to an offense that finished second-to-last in both total yards and points last season.
Acquiring a young and talented edge rusher to group with Leonard Williams would make for a dangerous pass rush in East Rutherford. This is crucial when you remember the lingering uncertainty surrounding the ability of Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines to portray on-field consistency from the outside linebacker position.
Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye, a two-time second-team All-Big Ten selection, is expected to be one of the top edge guys taken in this draft. Selecting him and lining him up on the opposite side of Williams would allow the Giants to properly place superb talent on either end of the defense.
The problem, however, is that defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s pass rush (and overall defensive schemes) is very situational. Thus, the Giants may not need to add a star edge rusher to the mix but rather someone who can fill a specific role and slot into a pass-rushing rotation.
The Giants’ top cornerback spot is set with Pro Bowler James Bradberry manning that role. Nonetheless, the corner position opposite of him is unclear at the moment. Isaac Yiadom (10 starts in 2020) was inconsistent last year and you don’t know what you’re going to get out of Julian Love or Darnay Holmes at that spot (the former was mainly a situational safety last year while the latter took on the slot corner role).
The top two corners in this draft — Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II and Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley — may be available at No. 11, but obviously that can’t be confirmed on this late-March day.
If the Giants were to draft either one of them, they probably would be best off signing a veteran to start and be a stopgap option while the rookie develops behind them. The difference in the speed of the game between college and the pros is significant; you could argue that concept is most realized at the cornerback position, so starting a rookie and providing him with that type of responsibility would be a notable request.
This is why it would benefit the Giants to still seek out a corner during this current free agency period.
An offensive tackle in the first round for the second consecutive year?
It may not be the organization’s first choice, but there are uncertainties at the right tackle position right now. Will Nate Solder be reliable in his age-33 season after not playing in 2020? Will Matthew Peart be ready to take on a starting role in his second year out of UConn?
The question marks at this position aren’t ideal, especially when the organization is banking on the offensive line developing and providing Jones with the time he needs to make plays. They also could lead to the Giants honing in on this position at No. 11 and putting together their bookend tackles (hopefully) for years to come.
Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater and Oregon’s Penei Sewell are the top two offensive tackles in this draft. The latter may be a top-10 pick, but the former might be available when the Giants select. Acquiring him could give the team flexibility at the tackle position — if left tackle and 2020 first-round pick Andrew Thomas struggles on Jones’ blindside, the Giants could flip-flop the pair of young linemen.
Taking this route may lead to Solder’s release prior to the 2021 season. Peart would then possibly be a reserve swing tackle.
Trade back and snag another wide receiver?
This may be the move to make if you’re the Giants right now.
After the Golladay signing, the team won’t need to draft a star wideout such as Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith and rely on them to be a No. 1 passing-game target.
What the Giants could do, instead, is trade back — don’t freak out, just listen.
There are still numerous teams with picks in the back half of the first round who need long-term answers at quarterback, such as the Bears (No. 20 overall). Chicago just signed Andy Dalton to a one-year deal, but the veteran isn’t the long-term answer in the Windy City.
If Chicago feels the need to trade up to draft someone like Alabama’s Mac Jones, the Giants could hold a noteworthy amount of leverage in a last-minute deal. The Bears would move up to No. 11, the Giants would move back to No. 20, and New York could gain an extra second-round pick (and maybe more) out of the deal (Chicago owns the No. 52 overall selection in the second round).
The Giants only own six picks as of right now so enhancing their pool of selections would greatly benefit them in more ways than one.
Then at No. 20, Gettleman could still acquire a receiver such as Florida’s Kadarius Toney, LSU’s Terrace Marshall Jr., or Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman to further build the slate of offensive weapons for Jones.
The Giants don’t need a Waddle or a Smith. Acquiring one of the three aforementioned receivers in the back half of the opening round while gaining another pick (or possibly even two) could work.