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The New York Giants are going to get a stud player in the first round of this month’s NFL draft. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind about that. The only question is which one will they choose, or even better, which ones will be available for them to choose from?
In his recent podcast, “Breaking Big Blue,” ESPN Giants beat reporter Jordan Raanan discussed New York’s options at No. 11 overall with veteran draft analyst Matt Miller.
With as many as five quarterbacks being taken ahead of them, causing the top non-quarterback impact players to tumble down the order, the Giants could be the recipient of a top offensive playmaker — such as LSU wideout Ja’Marr Chase or Florida tight end Kyle Pitts — falling into their lap at No. 11.
That seems unlikely, however, according to Raanan’s sources.
“There’s really no scenario in which those guys make it to 11,” Raanan said of Pitts and Chase after polling a group of NFL and draft insiders.
Raanan also dashed Giant fans’ hopes of landing Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, widely regarded as the top offensive lineman in this class.
“Not gonna happen,” said Raanan. “But the one who fell into the gray area was Rashawn Slater, offensive lineman, Northwestern. [A] couple of people had him not available but another two or three people said he’s a possibility.”
The Giants could certainly use a boost at guard after releasing Kevin Zeitler in a cost-cutting move. The current group of Will Hernandez, Shane Lemieux and free agent Zach Fulton isn’t quite where the Giants want to be at the moment although Raanan states that they like many of those players. Raanan also believes Slater could play right tackle as well.
Two players that Raanan’s sources believe will be available at No. 11 are the two Alabama wideouts, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle.
“They are not out of the question (for the Giants),” says Raanan, even though the Giants added Kenny Golladay on a monster free-agent deal last month. He points out that Smith in particular interests the Giants because he can play all three wide receiver roles.
If the Giants chose one of those players, Raanan said it would give the them “just a ton of playmakers” on offense.
“Just think about this a second. Last year, you had Evan Engram, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard. Now you’re adding back Saquon Barkley to the mix and Kenny Golladay to the mix. Now if you add a Smith or Waddle to that mix as well… That is some weaponry. There would be no excuse for this offense not being good.
“The Giants have looked into two positions really hard — wide receiver and edge rusher. And you can see why,” said Raanan.
He states the Giants are doing their due diligence at both positions, even setting up a meeting with Chase, who they know they likely won’t have a shot at.
But the Giants have been present to view all of the pro days of the top edge rushers such as Miami’s Gregory Rousseau and Jaelen Phillips, Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari and Penn State’s Jayson Oweh.
Raanan believes the Giants are high on Ojulari and Michigan’s Kwity Paye but are either worth the 11th pick in the draft? As I always say, you shouldn’t use such a high pick on a player who can’t play at least 80 percent of the snaps.
I agree with Raanan that if the Giants are going EDGE in the first round, they should consider trading back, grabbing more picks and taking the player they like at, let’s say, No. 20 or so. General manager Dave Gettleman has never done that, however, so it’s difficult to imagine.
Head coach Joe Judge was also front and center at the Penn State pro day in which Oweh and linebacker Micah Parsons logged in jaw-dropping workouts.
“There’s a lot of smoke around Micah Parsons. I’d be surprised if the Giants went in that direction right now,” said Raanan.
Parsons is a top-10 talent who many teams have backed off of after intel regarding some off-field issues.
The final player at No. 11 that could intrigue the Giants is Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II, who is considered the top corner in a very talented and deep class. The Giants just gave Adoree’ Jackson $39 million, so drafting Surtain would make that deal look like even more of an overpay than it already does.
That could all be moot if the Dallas Cowboys, who are in dire need of secondary help, take Surtain with the 10th overall pick.