This is always one of the hardest times of the year to be an NFL fan. For the most part, the crazy transactions that happen at the beginning of the free agency cycle are past us, and we still have weeks of waiting before the draft. But as we inch closer and closer to draft day, it becomes a little bit easier to predict what teams may be looking to select. With that said, here are my 3 biggest needs for the Giants, along with a few guesses as to who they may take.
1) Wide Receiver
The Giants have been completely deprived of good receivers since Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Browns 4 years ago. I mean shit, Daniel Jones has had to deal with Darius Slayton as his number 1 receivers for... his entire career. I mean, I love Slayton, but he's a 3 at best on most teams. However, now that the Giants have shown that they are invested in Jones by giving him a 4 year deal, it's time to invest in the receiving room.
My dream option at 25 is Jaxon Smith-Njigba out of Ohio State. This guy is basically the dream prototype for Daboll and Kafka with his ability to line up outside and in the slot. When healthy, this guy looked like the consensus number 1 receiver in this class, and after his performance at the combine, its safe to say he's back in that position. This is a guy who is going to step in and day 1 be a WR1 caliber guy in the league. I mean, look at this:
Another guy I would be thrilled with the Giants landing is Josh Downs from North Carolina. A guy who may be available in the 2nd round, Downs is an elite route runner who can get incredible separation. Like Smith-Njigba, he can play both on the outside and in the slot, and could be an incredible piece to a budding Giants offense that is looking to take the next step.
Just look at the footwork and quickness on this route. Daboll and Kafka should be foaming at the most at the idea of getting this guy.
With the departure of Julian Love, the pressure is on the Giants to find someone capable to place next to Xavier Mckinney this offseason. While I do not think they need to invest a 1st or even 2nd rounder in to this position, they desperately need to replace the continuity at the position.
My absolute dream pick for the Giants in the 3rd or even 4th round would be Sydney Brown out of Illinois (ILL!). Yes, I may be a homer when it comes to this pick, but after Browns incredible showing at the Senior Bowl, his draft stock has skyrocketed.
I think Brown could be a really nice piece in the Giants secondary, even if it is just as a rotational piece in the beginning. Brown has show his incredible physical ability, but what intrigues me most is his ability to ballhawk in the secondary. Even with Love, it always felt like the Giants were struggling to create turnovers, specifically interceptions, and Brown would instantly come in and help that issue.
Some of the plays he made last year were truly amazing, and while he has his flaws, such as poor open field tackling, I think Brown could be a great investment in one of the middle rounds.
3) Interior Offensive Line
The Giants offensive line has been absolutely abysmal not only for Daniel Jones entire career, but even dating back to the years following their most recent Super Bowl. Growing up, the Giants were always known for having a mean, consistent, and durable offensive line, and if they truly want to compete they need to get back to these ways. With Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal hopefully controlling the edges for the foreseeable future, they need to go out and get a mean ass center who can help the interior offensive line.
One guy I would truly love for the Giants to take is John Michael Schmitz. Minnesota had a truly amazing run game this past season, and Schmitz has a lot to do with that. After an impressive combine that had him show off his athletic and physical strengths, Schmitz has become what will surely be a hot commodity this upcoming draft.
After losing both Nick Gates and Jon Feliciano to free agency, the Giants essentially have to focus on the center position in the draft, and I think Schmitz could be the franchise guy. While his draft projections are all over the place, I would feel very comfortable with this selection no matter where It may be.
This is the exact kind of physicality the Giants need in the trenches. Joe Schoen, please.
The final guy I would really like if the Giants were to select him is Joe Tippmann, center out of Wisconsin. The Badgers pretty much shit out good offensive lineman, and I think Tippman is next up on this list of pros.
Timpaan is freakishly fast for a center, and is another guy who was the centerpiece of an amazing running attack, as Badgers back Braelon Allen ran for over 1200 yards for the second straight year. The Giants already have 2 athletes on the outside, why not team them up with Tippmann and have a fantastic line for years to come?
I know I keep reiterating it, but look at these wheels????
There are a million different routes the Giants could take this draft, and to be honest whichever one they take I'll be happy with. These are just some guys I would really like to see them take in the early rounds at some positions of severe need. I'm probably wrong about all of them and they will all bust, but that's the fun of pre draft predictions!
image via Getty Images