The 2021 NFL Draft begins on April 29, which means that The Game Haus will be writing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be evaluated heading into this year’s draft, as our staff recaps their last season, highlights their needs, and pinpoints their potential 2021 NFL Draft targets.
The New York Giants are the subject of today’s 2021 NFL Draft profile.
The Giants hired Joe Judge to change the culture of the team and lead the locker room. Even though many had not heard of Judge before he was hired he appears to be the right guy for the job. This season the Giants were gritty and won a lot of their games off in low-scoring battles led by their defense. Their highlight of the season was beating the Seattle Seahawks at home Week 13. Especially since backup Colt McCoy was the team’s starting quarterback.
The 6-10 Giants could have potentially won the division in Week 17 if Philadelphia beat Washington. But they appear to be closer than many realize to being a contender for this division. Five of their ten losses were by eight points or less. I’m Week 8 they almost beat the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers but lost by three. If one of those losses were flipped the Giants would have won the NFC East.
In year two Daniel Jones cut down on the turnovers going from 30 to 21. But his touchdown production regressed as well. He went from 24 passing touchdowns his rookie season to 11 in fourteen games last year. It also didn’t help Jones that the Giants offensive skill players like Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley missed time with injuries.
Barkley only played two games this year because of a torn ACL. This is concerning because for the second year in a row Barkley’s season ended due to a season-ending leg injury.
The Giants’ offensive line was average at best at times last season even after adding Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick.
The surprising play of the defense kept the Giants in the playoff picture until Week 17 last season. Newly signed cornerback James Bradberry established himself as one of the league’s lockdown corners. But the identity of the Giants’ defense was their defensive line. Upfront the trio of Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Dexter Lawerence was fantastic at stopping the run and kept quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket.
This offseason the Giants have been aggressive and signed a couple of major free agents to fill voids across their roster. On defense, they signed Danny Shelton to replace Dalvin Tomlinson and Adoree’ Jackson to complete their young talented secondary.
Their best offensive signing was former Pro Bowl receiver, Kenny Golladay. He was brought in to be their legitimate number one receiver. New York also signed Kyle Rudolph to be the blocker and red zone threat Evan Engram hasn’t been. Mike Glennon, Devontae Booker, and John Ross are other capable veterans that the Giants signed this offseason as well.
2021 NFL Picks
New York will have six picks to use in the 2021 NFL Draft
First Round (one pick): No. 11
Second Round (one pick): No. 42
Third Round (one pick): No. 76
Fourth Round (one pick): No. 117
Fifth Round (zero picks):
Sixth Round (two picks): No. 197, No. 202
Seventh Round (zero picks):
Edge Rusher- The only position group for the Giants that are lacking a true star player at is edge rusher. New York currently has Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, and recent signees Ifeadi Ogenigbo, and Ryan Anderson rotating off the edge. They should add try to add a player who has the potential to develop into a star and could consistently get the Giants 10+ sacks a season off the edge.
Interior Offensive line- For salary cap reason the Giants let go of Kevin Zeitler. They signed Zach Fulton and have second-year player Shane Lemieux who could be the Giants starter at right guard next year. But if the Giants get an opportunity to add a player with higher upside at the position during the draft they should go for it.
Inside Linebacker- Not only did the Giants sign Blake Martinez last offseason but they drafted four linebackers in the sixth and seventh round last season. The Giants still had a need for a second linebacker to play next to Martinez. Recently signed former second-round pick Reggie Ragland is now on his fourth team and could be better suited as a depth option for New York.
Nose Tackle- Danny Shelton is a fantastic veteran to replace Dalvin Tomlinson. But the Giants only signed Shelton for one year. Depending on what Shelton does this season the Giants could look for another player to fill the need next season. If New York sees a player in the middle to late rounds who they believe could develop into a starter at the position they should take him.
Wide Receiver- New York has two established receivers in Kenny Golladay and Sterling Shepard. But the Giants may want to bring in more competition for their deep threat on the outside Darius as Layton. They’ve already brought in former first-round pick John Ross who will compete with Slayton for reps. Due to the depth at receiver in this year’s draft, the Giants could look to take a player in the later rounds who could actually develop into a starting outside burner receiver.
Running Back- After the past two seasons running back depth has to be a priority for the Giants this offseason. Saquon Barkley will be coming off his second season-ending leg injury in a row and Wayne Gallman is no longer on the team. Devontae Booker is a solid veteran backup but likely won’t have the role long term. New York should take a running back in the later rounds with the potential to become a safe option at the position to backup Barkley and fill his role on offense if he is unable to play.
2021 Draft Targets
Pick No. 11: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
The draft board doesn’t favor the New York Giants at the eleventh pick. The positions that are valued around this pick the Giants have already addressed in the offseason. They could trade back and select an edge rusher, but if they don’t move their pick they may have to go with the best player available. Since there is speculation that five quarterbacks will be selected in the top eight picks Rashawn Slater could be one of the prospects that fall down the draft board despite being one of the highest-graded players in the class.
Slater’s versatility is perfect for the Giants because they currently need another starting lineman on the interior. Many believe Slater is the most Pro ready offensive lineman in the class and could have the best rookie season out of the lineman in this year’s class. New York could eventually move Slater to left tackle once Nate Solder is off the team and if Andrew Thomas needs to transition to the right side. It would also be interesting to see Slater join the NFC East and have to match up with former Big Ten rival Chase Young twice a year.
Taking offensive lineman in the first round in back-to-back years isn’t the most exciting, but it is a great way to build an elite offensive line. Just ask Giants’ offensive coordinator Jason Garrett how beneficial it was when his Cowboys drafted an offensive lineman in the first round in three out of four seasons from 2011-2014. All three became Pro Bowl and All-Pro caliber players giving Dallas one of the best offensive lines of the past decade.
Pick No. 42: Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
Ronnie Perkins is a part of a cluster of the late first-round to second-round graded edge rushers who are extremely talented and give this year’s class its depth. Perkins would immediately become the Giants’ best pass rusher off the edge if he landed here. The pressure generated in the interior would consistently give Perkins one-on-ones against tackles and tight ends. He could be a threat to be one of the team’s sack leaders his rookie year and could develop into a star on this very talented defense.
Pick No. 76: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Coming out of high school Dylan Moses was one of the elite prospects that were projected to eventually go in the first round of the NFL Draft. Injuries have been a slight issue for Moses. But he still has the potential to grow into a very good starting linebacker in the NFL. Moses would be a great compliment to Blake Martinez in the middle of the Giants defense because they both bring different skill sets to the table. Martinez is a tackle machine who is always around the football. While Moses is better in coverage and will cover tight ends and running backs for the team he plays for at the next level. If developed correctly the Giants could unleash the potential Moses had when many thought he was a first-round player.
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