The New York Giants have a few big decisions to make this off-season regarding cuts, free agent signings, and how they are going to allocate the 11th pack in the 2021 NFL draft. They can solve a few different positions in the draft, but it all depends on how things shake out and what players drop to them at 11.
After a 12 catch, 215 yards, and three-touchdown performance in the National Championship game, most would agree that star receiver for Alabama, DeVonta Smith, will likely be unavailable for the Giants. There are plenty of teams that need star wideouts that pick before them, but fellow receiver Jaylen Waddle could drop to them at 11.
Waddle is an explosive receiver with elite speed and the ability to play inside and out. The Giants lack a true high-end speed receiver, and Waddle could fit that bill easily, especially if they land a big body in free agency to pair with him.
Ultimately, if the speedster is available for the Giants, it will be extremely difficult for them to pass on him. His talents that receiver and ability as a return man or elite, and as we know, after the 2020 season, the Giants will take whatever they can get on offense.
This past year, the Giants average a measly 17.5 points per game, good for 31st in the NFL. Coordinator Jason Garrett underwhelmed with his route concepts and ability to push the ball downfield in man coverage. His playcalling was predictable and run heavy, which isn’t a negative thing — establishing the run is a fantastic way to open up the passing game. The issue, his route concepts were so predictable and lacked creativity, opposing defenses were simply running routes for the receivers. It took until week 17 for Garrett to figure out that Sterling Shepard was their primary red-zone threat, as he scored two touchdowns, doubling his total for the remainder of the year.
In my opinion, the Giants should be leaning toward an offensive weapon, but it is possible they could pick the top pass rusher available. Both Kwity Paye, a 6-foot-4, 272-pound defensive lineman from Michigan, or Gregory Rousseau from Florida, could be considerations.
Paye finished the 2020 season with 16 total tackles and 2.0 sacks over just four games. Most believe he is an incredibly talented pass rusher that could fit the Giants’ mold well. He has fantastic burst off the line of scrimmage and deceiving strength.
Paye is the type of player that could make the Giants’ defense a top-five unit, given his ability off the edge. However, he is traditionally a defensive end, and the Giants utilize outside linebackers in their primary 3-4 scheme. With that being said, if the Giants are forced to let Delvin Tomlinson or Leonard Williams walk this off-season, drafting Paye as their primary pass rusher would be a great supplement.
Then you have Rousseau, who didn’t participate in the 2020 season but was phenomenal in 2019, earning 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. At 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds, Rousseau has incredible tangibles and the potential to be an All-Pro pass rusher. The primary argument here is, if you have an elite pass rusher and a wide receiver on the board, it is incredibly difficult to pass on the defensive star. The Giants can always allocate free agency money toward acquiring a number one WR.
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