The Giants have 10 draft picks, thanks to the three compensatory picks they earned, but only three of those will come in the first two days of the 2020 NFL Draft. For a team with many needs still to fill, it puts a premium on those selections in the first three rounds.
With a month until the draft, it’s still hard to know exactly what the Giants will do and how the draft will shake out. But here’s an early projection, based on the team’s needs, what sources have said about players they might like, and what scouts have said about the value of certain players in the draft.
First round (4th overall) – Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs
There will be a lot of discussion about Clemson S/LB Isaiah Simmons here, if he’s still available. There will also be some discussion about trading down if some team wants to jump up to grab a quarterback. A trade down is possible, and something the Giants are open to doing. But it almost certainly isn’t going to become a real option until the Giants are on the clock.
So for now, assume they will stay at No. 4. As tempting as Simmons is, it’s hard to imagine the Giants passing on the best available tackle. They basically ignored the offensive line in their free-agent spending spree, except for signing veteran Cam Fleming to a one-year deal so he could be a stop-gap at right tackle. They have a huge shortage of tackle prospects on their roster, which is a big disappointment considering GM Dave Gettleman said from the moment he was hired that his priority was rebuilding the offensive line.
So he’ll start here, with the incredibly athletic Wirfs, who put on a dazzling show at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. He’s 6-foot-5, 320 pounds, ran a 4.85 in the 40-yard dash and set records in several other drills. The Giants loved him before the combine, a source said, and nothing changed while they were there.
They will consider Louisville’s massive Mekhi Becton too, because a 6-foot-7, 365-pounder with 5.1 speed is hard to ignore. But the early guess is Wirfs will be their guy. They can probably get him if they move down a few spots, too.
Second round (36th overall) – Michigan C Cesar Ruiz
There will be a lot of talk about an edge rusher here, since that remains a need for the Giants — although they think they found one in former Packers linebacker Kyler Fackrell. A big receiver wouldn’t be a bad idea, considering how deep in talent this receiver class is. They also could use a safety to push Julian Love for the spot next to Jabrill Peppers. Maybe another young corner, too.
But the offensive line still stands out as the Giants’ biggest area of need, and they’re not going to get the most out of Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones and all their offensive weapons until they fix it. Drafting a young tackle in Round 1 is a good start. Drafting a young center in Round 2 should be the next step.
Remember, their starting center right now is Spencer Pulley, though they are hoping Jon Halapio will recover from the torn Achilles he suffered late last season. Given that, a young center seems like a must.
Ruiz is a powerful, 6-foot-3, 307-pounder who some scouts thought might be able to sneak into the bottom of the first round. Early second seems more likely, and he’s good enough to step in and start on Day 1.
Third round (99th overall) – Georgia S J.R. Reed
Love took a long time to get on the field with the Giants’ defense last season when he was a rookie, and though he was generally OK, nothing he did made it seem like he was a lock to be the future starter alongside Peppers. The Giants also are a little thin on depth at safety, unless they decide to bring veteran Michael Thomas back.
So since the edge-rusher class will have thinned out by now, the 6-foot-1, 202-pound Reed, who is strong, tough and smart and is pretty good at covering tight ends — a trait the Giants desperately need. He wouldn’t be a lock to start opposite Peppers right away, but he could be some much-needed competition for love and could emerge as the third safety as a rookie.