Giants 2021 NFL Draft: 10 players Big Blue will consider on Day 2

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Ralph Vacchiano
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Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

When the Giants traded down in the first round on Thursday night, it didn’t seem like they were targeting a receiver at first. They have other big needs, like edge rusher and offensive line, and it figured they’d find more of those once they moved to No. 20.

Of course, they didn’t. They stuck with their original plan and took a receiver – Florida’s Kadarius Toney -- instead, adding to what is suddenly a deep receiving corps.

As for their other needs ... well, good thing for them they have two more picks coming on Day 2.

Here’s a look at who is still available and who could be in play for the Giants in the second round at No. 42 and the third round at No. 76:

Georgia LB Azeez Ojulari

At some point during their process, the Giants discussed taking this 6-2, 249-pound edge rusher at 11, though they always knew that was probably a bit too high. It would be a steal if he’s somehow still waiting for them 10 picks into the second round. He’s the best pass rusher left on the board and exactly the kind of outside linebacker the Giants want to add to their defense. There have been some concerns about his knee. But if the Giants are OK with that, it’s hard to see how they’d pass him up if he’s still there.

Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

It’s hard to find a fit in a defense for this 6-1, 221-pounder, but he is such a dangerous defensive weapon that he’s going to go fast in the second round. He’s got great speed and terrific coverage skills and could be a sneaky good blitzer. He’s basically a defensive weapon that could be used anywhere. Maybe he doesn’t fill a specific need, but defensive coordinator Patrick Graham should find plenty of creative ways to use him.

Alabama DT Christian Barmore

Three things make this a really good bet: The Giants didn’t really fill the hole left by Dalvin Tomlinson, coach Joe Judge loves Alabama players, and GM Dave Gettleman loves to draft defensive tackles. In a bad draft for that position, this 6-4, 310-pounder might be the best of the bunch. He’s a good interior pass rusher who would make quite a team up front with Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams.

Penn State TE Pat Freiermuth

The Giants have spent the offseason looking for an upgrade at tight end. They made initial inquiries into free agents Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. They at least gauged the price of what it would take to trade up in the draft for Kyle Pitts. It makes sense, with newly signed Kyle Rudolph dealing with a foot injury and the undependable Evan Engram heading into the last year of his contract. This 6-5, 251-pounder is the second-best tight end in the draft with the potential to be a dangerous weapon. The Giants could add him, and then dangle Engram in a trade.

Texas LB Joseph Ossai

He only had 10 ½ sacks the last two years, but he began his collegiate career on the inside and has gotten consistently better since moving to the edge. At 6-4, 256 he’s got terrific size and good-enough speed. He should get better with experience and might not be a Day 1 starter, but Graham showed last year he can get a lot of his linebackers when they’re put in favorable situations.

Oklahoma LB Ronnie Perkins

He’s probably more of a project than some of the other edge rushers expected to go on Day 2, and he was also suspended from the 2019 college football playoff and the first five games of 2020, reportedly for failing a drug test. The Giants have shown lately they’re not afraid of players with character red flags, though. He played a lot on the line in college, but his size (6-2, 253) makes him more suited to an edge linebacker. That’s where the Giants would play him, but there would be a learning curve.

Alabama C Landon Dickerson

With lots of uncertainty at guard for the Giants, they’ll have to grab an interior lineman at some point. The 6-6, 333-pound Dickerson is a first-round talent, but he’s coming off a torn ACL – and with no team medical evaluations this year, that’s scared some off. It’s worth the risk for the Giants, though, especially since they have a great relationship with Alabama and can trust the information they get. If healthy, Dickerson could provide immediate competition for Will Hernandez or Shane Lemieux at guard, and could eventually replace Nick Gates at center.

Alabama G Deonte Brown

If they want a healthier guard, though, the Giants can look no further than Dickerson’s teammate, the 6-3, 344-pound Brown. He’s obviously massive, but his weight has actually been an issue for some and he might have to slim down a little in the NFL. There’s a lot of power there, though. Saquon Barkley would love running through the holes Brown can create.

Tennessee G Trey Smith

Based on pure talent and measurables, this 6-5, 321-pounder might be the second-best guard in the draft behind new Jet Alijah Vera-Tucker. He’s got the strength, the movement, the technique, and he’s nasty on the field. He projects to possibly be an immediate NFL starter. So why might he be available in Round 3? He has a medical condition that can lead to blood clots, which it did in his lungs back in 2018. He’s being treated for it and takes medication and he still played 42 games in his career for the Vols and didn’t opt out during the pandemic. But any medical red flags cause extra concern this year.

Syracuse CB Ifeatu Melifonwu

The Giants may have signed Adoree’ Jackson one year after signing James Bradberry, but they were still looking at Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn as potential draft picks at 11, had they been there. So clearly they’re not done at this position. At 6-2, 205, he’s got terrific size, and teams do love “long” cornerbacks. His speed is good, but not great, and his technique needs some refinement. But he’d only have to be the Giants’ third corner for now.