The New York Giants, in their first season under Joe Judge, finished with their highest win total in their last four seasons with a record of 6-10. They finished second in the division as well and were a Washington Football Team Week 17 loss away from making the playoffs. Judge and the Giants showed promise in their first season together. With the 11th pick in the draft, the Giants will have the opportunity to continue to build upon their young and promising core.
Some quick history. The following are the Giants’ last five years’ worth of first-round draft picks:
- 2020: Andrew Thomas (OT)
- 2019: Daniel Jones (QB), Dexter Lawrence (DT), DeAndre Baker (CB)
- 2018: Saquon Barkley (RB)
- 2017: Evan Engram (TE)
- 2016: Eli Apple (CB)
Pick 11 is their lowest first-round draft pick since they had 23 overall in the 2017 draft.
The following players mentioned below are players who could possibly be on the move, either through trade or being cut, due to their 2021 cap hit. Their age is in parentheses. The players currently listed are all over the age of 30.
- Nate Solder (32)
- Golden Tate (32)
- Kevin Zeitler (30)
The Giants are only about $2 million over the projected cap without cutting any of the players listed above.
With the 11th pick, the Giants are in an interesting position. There is good draft depth at some of their positions of need, specifically at wide receiver, while some of their other positions of need are less deep, such as cornerback and EDGE. At pick 11, there should be options available for all their main positions of need.
Possibility #1: Michigan EDGE Kwity Paye
2020 stat line: 4 games, 16 tackles (12 solo), 4 TFL, 2 sacks
Why: The Giants are severely lacking a true No. 1 pass rusher. Leonard Williams emerged this season with a career-high 11.5 sacks, but his previous career high was just 7. This season, 5.5 of his 11.5 sacks came in two games. He’s also an impending free agent and will look for top tier money after a breakout season. Outside of Williams no one on the Giants line produced more than 4 sacks.
Paye missed a majority of the 2020 season due to injury; overall, he’s played in 34 games during his career at Michigan. He is an exceptional athlete and his pro day should turn heads. He has outstanding explosiveness, get off/initial burst, and flexibility/bend. Paye has the potential to be a plug-and-play edge player for the Giants.
Possibility #2: Alabama Wide Receiver Jaylen Waddle
2020 stat line: 6 games, 28 receptions, 591 yds, 21.1 ypc, 4 TDs
Why: Daniel Jones showed improvement for the Giants this season, especially during the second half of the season. He made significant strides in his turnovers, cutting down on them from Week 9 on. Their offense was not explosive, though. That was partly due to the loss of Saquon Barkley. Even with his return in 2021, adding another explosive piece to their offense would benefit Jones immensely.
Insert Jaylen Waddle. Waddle is one of the most explosive receivers we’ve seen in the draft in the last few years and his speed is on another level, that of Henry Ruggs. Waddle is more polished than Ruggs when it comes to playing the wide receiver position. He is a better route runner and contested ball catcher than Ruggs was last season when he was drafted. Waddle also offers special teams value as a punt and kick returner.
Possibility #3: Alabama Cornerback Patrick Surtain
2020 stat line: 13 games, 37 tackles (22 solo), 3.5 TFL, 1 INT, 9 PD)
Why: The Giants hit a home run last offseason with their signing of cornerback James Bradberry. Bradberry had a fantastic first season in New York, but the Giants truly lacked a second option at the position.
Surtain is a larger cornerback at 6-2 and 203 pounds. Surtain is physical and likes to play close to the line of scrimmage. He is technically sound and has an impressive resume (played significant snaps since his freshman year at Alabama). Surtain has the physical tools and intelligence to translate to a starting-caliber NFL cornerback with upside. Pairing him with Bradberry would give New York a cornerback duo they could rely on for years to come.
Possibility #4: Penn State Linebacker Micah Parsons
2019 stat line: 13 games, 109 tackles (59 solo), 14 TFLs, 5 sacks, 5 PDs, 4 FFs)
Why: Micah Parsons is the most talented linebacker in this draft. He may be the top defensive player in the draft as well. After he opted out of the 2020 season, Parsons’ draft stock could be one to monitor based on his pro day results and the rest of the draft process during the new combine prodecures. Parsons’ athletic ability allows him to be a true sideline to sideline player and gives him potential as a coverage player. He also offers intriguing pass rush potential because of his size and play speed. Parsons, if he falls, could be a talent the Giants can’t pass up.
Player to Watch: Florida tight end Kyle Pitts
2020 stat line: 8 games, 43 receptions, 770 yards, 12 TDs, 17.9 ypc
Why: Kyle Pitts was an exceptional playmaker while at Florida. Although Evan Engram had a Pro Bowl season, he will be entering the final season of his contract (unless his fifth-year option is picked up). Pitts can slide into Engram’s role and he’s arguably a better talent than Engram. They would get Pitts on a rookie deal and would allow Engram to walk. That would save them cap room in the near future if they plan on extending QB Daniel Jones. Pitts would add another playmaker to an already loaded offense.