But even that hefty load of draft capital can’t fix the roster general manager Joe Schoen inherited. The Giants can make big strides with the Nos. 5 and 7 selections, no doubt, but they can’t accomplish everything on their to-do list. Which means they have to prioritize.
Schoen has three pressing areas of need and four avenues to attack first. Here is a closer look at the four most-likely draft day scenarios for the Giants:
Offensive tackle. The Giants believe Andrew Thomas is their long-term left tackle after a strong second season. But right tackle remains a major issue. he other tackle spot carries plenty of question marks. They failed to sign a proven veteran in free agency and 2020 third-rounder Matthew Peart is a bust so far. So addressing this need first makes sense.
If the Giants want to properly evaluate Daniel Jones during his make-or-break season, they need to keep him upright. After all, his injury and turnover issues are attributable in part to the awful lines that have been in front of him.
This path would lead the Giants to grab the top available tackle at No. 5. Whether that is Alabama’s Evan Neal, N.C. State’s Ikem Ekwonu or Mississippi State’s Charles Cross — the current trendy name — remains to be seen.
Edge rusher. Pass rushers are likely starting pitchers. You can never have too many. And the Giants don’t have enough. They have defensive tackle Leonard Williams and linebacker Azeez Ojulari had eight sacks last season as a rookie, but history tells us the Giants win Super Bowls when they have an elite pass rush.
In a perfect world, the Giants would grab their right tackle at No. 5 and still have an elite pass rush prospect on the table at No. 7. But that may not be realistic.
Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson and Georgia’s Travon Walker could be the top-2 picks, and Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux seems unlikely to fall to No. 7. If the Giants aren’t enamored with Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson, they may need to think long and hard about grabbing a pass rusher at No. 5 and rolling the dice on a tackle falling to No. 7. And that would be quite risky given the Panthers could also be thinking offensive line at No. 6.
Cornerback. The Giants are trying desperately to trade James Bradberry. If Schoen can’t pull a deal off — and it certainly doesn’t look promising at the moment — they may have no choice but to cut him given their salary cap woes. Either way, it’s hard to imagine he will be on the roster this season.
That creates another big void. Adoree’ Jackson isn’t a No. 1 corner and it’s tough to imagine someone like 2021 third-rounder Aaron Robinson being ready for a full-time starting role. Cincinnati’s Sauce Gardner would fit in nicely. But will he fall to No. 7? And is the need (and player) critical enough to make the move at No. 5? This is a spot where patience could be the move assuming the Giants are OK taking LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr., who should be on the board at No. 7.
Trade back. This approach could work wonders for the Giants’ future. But if Schoen trades back, he has to get a 2023 first-round pick in the deal. That would set him up with more flexibility if the Giants move on from Jones after this season and look to draft a quarterback next spring.
Schoen will likely have options if he trades back. Any quarterback-seeking team needs to jump Carolina at No. 6, so the Giants are in a good spot.
The Seahawks have the No. 9 pick and are currently looking at a Drew Lock-Geno Smith competition. The Giants could move back from No. 5 and collect a 2023 first-round pick and also a 2022 third-rounder. The Falcons (No. 8 pick) may also look to trade up to draft a quarterback to commence the post-Matt Ryan era. The same goes for the Steelers (No. 20). But the Giants may balk at moving that far back.