When the NFL Draft begins selections in Arlington, Tex., April 26, the New York Giants have the No. 2 pick in the first round.
Here is an in-depth look at the team’s needs, offseason changes, potential best fit and the selections by NFLDraftScout.com’s experts.
Who would you pick and why?
TOP 5 NEEDS
- Guard: The Giants invested heavily in their offensive line when they added Nate Solder at tackle. They also added Patrick Omameh to play left guard, but as was the case last year, the right side of their offensive line is still in flux. Ereck Flowers will compete for right tackle, but after voiding out the final year of incumbent right guard John Jerry’s contract, it’s clear that they are looking to upgrade at that spot. The Giants have guys on the roster who can play right guard, but if they can get themselves a difference maker at the position who can become part of the team’s foundation, that would behoove them more.
- Quarterback: The current coaching staff wasn’t done any favors by the old regime that failed to give quarterback Davis Webb any significant snaps in regular-season games. While in some ways Webb is on par with the rest of the 2018 quarterback class members, the second-year man, who has been relentlessly training at the TEST Football Academy in Martinsville, N.J., does have the benefit of having one year of pro coaching experience under his belt. Webb will get his chance at the upcoming minicamp prior to the draft to make his case, but the fact remains the Giants still need to add at the position since they only have two quarterbacks on the roster, one of whom, Eli Manning, just turned 37-years-old in January.
- Tackle: The Giants might have plucked down $62 million over four years to secure Nate Solder as their left tackle, but they need to start thinking about their long-term future at right tackle. Flowers will compete for the job, but he’s not necessarily a lock. Further complicating matters for him is that the team is unlikely to exercise the option year on his contract by the May 2 deadline. Meanwhile, the only other tackles on the roster with experience include Chad Wheeler and Adam Bisnowaty, both rookies who were underwhelming last year. One or both might still blossom into a solid candidate, but as of right now, the Giants’ depth at tackle is paper thin.
- Cornerback: The Giants couldn’t agree on new payment terms with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, their slot corner last year who was sent packing. They also lost Ross Cockrell, who had the ability to play the slot or outside, to the Panthers in free agency. While the Giants did add a pair of corners in B.W. Webb and Teddy Williams, they will probably want to shore up the depth even further, especially as they wait to see if projected starters Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple bounce back from their respective struggles last year. Getting back to Rodgers-Cromartie, it also needs to be noted there were reports that the Giants envisioned a role for the veteran cornerback similar to what Tyrann Mathieu filled for the Cardinals when James Bettcher was his defensive coordinator. It’s probably safe to assume that the Giants are still on the lookout for a player who can step into that planned role, and it also probably is logical to assume that a cornerback might offer better overall v
- Linebacker: Even though the Giants added two players (Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin) at this position and will likely have Olivier Vernon as a part-time member of this group, the depth can still use an upgrade, especially on the inside if there are concerns about the durability of third-year man B.J. Goodson. The Giants’ current depth includes Calvin Munson, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Thurston Armbrister, Derrick Matthews and Mark Herzlich. There’s quantity there, but quality and scheme fit are different stories. The free agency activity might have lessened the priority at this spot, but after seeing how injuries wiped out the unit last year, hopefully the Giants’ brass understands how important it is to have quality depth on the roster.
–BEST FIT: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame. Running backs like Saquon Barkley are nice additions and yes, a team needs a quarterback to make it all happen. But unless there is solid protection up front and unless the offensive line is blowing open holes for the running game, it probably doesn’t matter as much who is playing in the backfield. Nelson, who has been compared favorably to former Giants guard Chris Snee, is clearly the cream of the crop among a deep interior offensive line class. Nelson is a guy whose college tape suggests he has the makings of becoming one of the best in his class if he stays healthy. He also fits the “hog molly” mold that general manager Dave Gettleman covets for the offensive line, and is a player who could make life a heck of a lot easier for years to come for whoever ends up the lead running back and the starting quarterback.
–Rob Rang: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. General manager Dave Gettlemen signaled the direction the Giants might be going with this pick back in March when he awarded former Patriots Pro Bowl left tackle Nate Solder with a four-year $62 million contract, including $35 million guaranteed, the biggest deal for an NFL offensive lineman. That’s why immediate impact prospects like Barkley (or North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb) ultimately make more sense than drafting a quarterback to groom behind Eli Manning. Adding Barkley to a unit that already features Odell Beckham Jr., Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard and the Giants suddenly have the playmakers to compete with any offense in the NFL.
–Dane Brugler: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. A quarterback is going No. 1, we just don’t know which one. At No. 2, it is tough to nail down the position, let alone the player. General manager Dave Gettleman is looking for “impact” with this pick and Barkley offers that.
FANS ON THE CLOCK, ON THE RECORD
OK, it’s your turn. Tell us in the comments section who you would pick and why. Check out top 1,000 players rated by NFLDraftScout.com, including combine and pro day workouts, biographies, scouting reports.