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Cover 4: Ranking potential targets for Giants' 6 draft picks

COVER-4-JOE-SCHOEN

With April here, the Giants.com crew ranks which positions could be likely targets in the draft later this month:

John Schmeelk

I like this question! Here are my top six:

1. Wide Receiver. A game-changer would make Darius Slayton, Wan'Dale Robinson, and Jalin Hyatt even better. It would move safeties away from their side of the field, opening opportunities for those other receivers. Especially after losing Saquon Barkley, the Giants need a weapon on offense that teams have to plan against.

2. Cornerback. Who are the other two starters at cornerback with Deonte Banks? Cor'Dale Flott, Tre Hawkins, and Nick McCloud appear to be three with the best chance but finding another young player to develop into a long-term starter either inside or outside could be a priority in the draft. Shane Bowen's reliance on zone mitigates this need a little bit, but not completely. A Day 2 cornerback would not surprise me in the slightest.

3. Running Back. It is a young man's position, so even though the Giants have a relatively full room with Devin Singletary, Eric Gray, Gary Brightwell and Jashaun Corbin, adding another player they think can help carry part of the load and makes a ton of sense in either the third or fourth round. There should be a run on running backs starting at the end of the second round.

4. Defensive Tackle. The Giants have Dexter Lawrence as an All-Pro nose tackle and Rakeem Nuñez-Roches playing next to him as a veteran player known for stopping the run. Beyond that, there are some youngsters with talent. D.J. Davidson and Jordon Riley have both played only one season (Davidson missed his first with an injury) and have the potential to be good players, but they just haven't proven it yet. I think the Giants could use a three-technique defensive tackle that can get up the field and disrupt in the backfield.

5. Safety. Right now, some combination of Jalen Mills, Dane Belton, Nick McCloud and Gervarrius Owens could be the second and third safeties next to Jason Pinnock. But adding another player to a position group that just lost Xavier McKinney is important to protect the deep and middle parts of the field.

6. Offensive Line. It is always a good idea to add talented big bodies to the offensive line. Injuries happen and continuing to develop players at the position are essential to long-term success. An offensive tackle, guard or both would make sense.

Bonus: With Darren Waller's status still uncertain, adding a player than can help catch passes at tight would be advisable.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah released his updated ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Dan Salomone

I think now is a good time to drop in this recent quote from general manager Joe Schoen at the NFL Annual Meeting: "There are very few people that know what we're thinking or what direction we're going. Anything that is out there is likely not true." With that said, here are the top six potential targets to think about:

1. Cornerback. Adoree' Jackson, who started 36 games over three seasons for the Giants, remains a free agent. That opens an opportunity to play opposite Deonte Banks, the team's first-round pick from a year ago. Shane Bowen's defense relies on pass rushers. What better way to help out Kayvon Thibodeaux and Brian Burns than give them more time on the back end?

2. Receiver. The offensive woes were well documented last season, and not one player or position will fix them all. But this is NFL in 2024. The Giants need to get the ball in the end zone through the air.

3. O-Lineman

4. Another O-Lineman

5. A third lineman, perhaps this time on defense

Team president John Mara didn't mince words when he recently said the offensive line has been a "continuing source of frustration for me." While he believes they are on the right track with the new pieces and position coach, last year proved you can never have enough depth in the trenches.

"You can't win in this league unless you have a good productive, consistent offensive line," Mara said the NFL Annual Meeting. "It's what we had years ago when we were winning, and we have to get back to that. I think we have the right pieces in there now. We have a new offensive line coach. We'll see. Life in football starts on the offensive line. If you can't block them, you're not going to win."

The other side of that coin is adding another big body on the defensive front to build a wall with Dexter Lawrence.

6. Quarterback. Schoen has been candid about the position since he spoke at the bye week. They needed to address the quarterback room whether that's through the draft or free agency. He followed that up at the NFL Scouting Combine by saying the latter "doesn't preclude us from doing it in the draft as well."

The question remains just what they think about this class of quarterbacks.

View photos of every move made by the Giants during the 2024 cycle.

Lance Medow

With less than a month to go till the draft and the free agency process slowing down, here's how I would rank the top six needs for the Giants:

1. Offensive Game-Changer. New York averaged just under 16 points per game in 2023, third to last in the NFL. To put things in perspective, the Cowboys were first in the league and averaged nearly 30 points per contest. If you want to stay competitive, you need to score points. With Saquon Barkley and the team parting ways and Darren Waller's status a question mark, New York needs an offensive weapon, a player that will give the defense something to think about and force coordinators to lose a bit of sleep.

2. Pass Rusher. The Giants made a big splash this offseason in acquiring Brian Banks from the Panthers. They now have him, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari, but the latter has been limited by injuries over the last two seasons and is entering the fourth and final season of his rookie deal. When you take the contract into consideration, developing an additional pass rusher jumps to the forefront. The team also lost Jihad Ward in free agency after he recorded five sacks in 2023, so a complementary player who can also serve as insurance on the depth chart is a need.

3. Cornerback. This position overall is noticeably young, so another prospect will fit right in. Deonte Banks, Cor'Dale Flott, and Tre Hawkins were all drafted in the last two years. Nick McCloud and Aaron Robinson have been in the NFL for three seasons and Darnay Holmes four, making him the veteran of the group. Keep in mind, McCloud also has experience at safety and Robinson has only played in two games in the last two seasons combined. When you look past the names and add context, another corner can carve out a role.

4. Tight End. Darren Waller's status is what makes this position a wild card. If he retires, tight end becomes a bigger need, but even if he stays, adding a prospect is more than reasonable. Daniel Bellinger and Lawrence Cager have both been showcased in the current scheme, but they're not yet the same level of threat as Waller. Chris Manhertz and Jack Stoll both signed as free agents this offseason, but they're known more for their blocking prowess instead of stretching the field. Don't get me wrong, that facet is very much needed, but Waller's skillset is completely different.

5. Safety. They parted ways with Xavier McKinney in free agency, so his absence alone creates a void. While Jason Pinnock and Dane Belton are still in the mix, Belton has started only seven games in his first two seasons in the league and will now be learning a new scheme. Last year's seventh-round pick, Gervarrius Owens, appeared in three games in 2023 but only on special teams. Veteran Jalen Mills just joined the roster and has experience at both safety and corner. It's not a stretch to say they could use another player to, at least, provide depth at that position.

6. Offensive Lineman. They signed five offensive linemen in free agency, but they all have different contracts in length, and you can never have enough at any position in football because you have no idea how injuries are going to play out. Evan Neal, Joshua Ezeudu and Marcus McKethan have all been sidelined in recent history, so you must protect yourself on the depth chart. Additional competition also never hurts. There's room for another young player in the trenches.

View photos of the newest members of the Giants touring the Quest Diagnostics Training Center for the first time.

Matt Citak

We still have over three weeks to go before the start of the draft, which means some of these positions could still be addressed by signing a veteran in free agency. But barring any big moves on that front, here are the Giants' top six needs.

1. Wide Receiver. While the wide receiver corps has a solid foundation with the likes of Slayton, Robinson, Hyatt and Hodgins, the group could still use that big X receiver. The Giants are in a prime position to secure this type of player with the No. 6 pick between Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze.

2. Cornerback. I still expect a veteran CB to be added to the fold at some point before the season, but even if that happens, it will likely be on a short-term deal. The Giants could afford to invest a Day 2 pick on a cornerback that can possibly grow into the No. 2 corner spot on the outside opposite Deonte Banks, while still allowing the likes of Nick McCloud, Cor'Dale Flott, and Tre Hawkins to get playing time in 2024.

3. Interior Defensive Line. The Giants addressed this position last year with the additions of Rakeem Nuñez-Roches and A'Shawn Robinson. But Robinson, who was signed to a one-year deal, has left for the Panthers, while Leonard Williams was traded to the Seahawks. Dexter Lawrence and Nunez-Roches are the primary interior linemen remaining, with young guys Jordon Riley and D.J. Davidson rounding out the depth at the position. The team's run defense has struggled over the last few seasons, so adding another big bodied run-stuffer to play alongside Lawrence could go a long way in helping the defense.

4. Safety. With Xavier McKinney departing for Green Bay, the Giants have a hole at the safety position. I have to say I'm a big proponent of Jason Pinnock and Dane Belton getting more playing time. The Giants also added veteran Jalen Mills in free agency to join the likes of Gervarrius Owens and McCloud, but another body could certainly be added to the mix. This is a position that could be addressed in free agency, as there are numerous talented safeties still available. But if the Giants want to get younger at the position, there are some solid safety prospects projected to go between Rounds 2-4.

5. Interior Offensive Lineman. The Giants have made a lot of moves to improve the offensive line this offseason. Jon Runyan Jr. and Jermaine Eluemunor were both added as potential starters on the interior, with Eluemunor also providing insurance at tackle. The Giants also signed veterans Aaron Stinnie and Austin Schlottmann as depth pieces, both of whom have primarily spent their NFL careers on the interior, while Joshua Ezeudu and Marcus McKethan are returning. But as we saw last year, injuries happen, especially along the O-line. I would much rather have too much depth on the IOL than too little.

6. Running Back. Barring another signing, the Giants are likely going to be in the mix for a running back at some point during the draft. Following the addition of Devin Singletary, it seems more likely the Giants use a Day 3 pick on the running back position. While there might not be any taken in the first round, there are a good amount projected to go late Day 2/early Day 3. The team's RB room currently consists of Singletary, Eric Gray, Gary Brightwell, Jashaun Corbin and Deon Jackson, so adding another Day 3 pick and allowing them the opportunity to develop behind these veterans could go a long way.

Bonus: The Giants' quarterback room currently consists of Daniel Jones, Drew Lock, and Tommy DeVito. While the position may not be as big of an actual need as the other areas listed above, if Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll see an opportunity to add one of the top quarterbacks, I wouldn't be surprised if they take it. Allowing a young signal-caller a year to learn under the veterans in the room could help the Giants shore up the most important position on the field for the long-term.

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