Giants Players Who Will Be Most Impacted by 2021 NFL Draft Picks
When the 2021 NFL draft kicks off later this month, it should be an exciting time for New York Giants fans. While it's unclear exactly who the Giants will target, the roster will theoretically be stronger after the draft than it is before.
While the draft provides hope for fans, it can be a tense time for veteran players on New York's roster. Players could see aid coming their way through the annual selection process. They could also see their potential replacements drafted.
The good news for New York is that quarterback Daniel Jones should be safe for at least another offseason. With the Giants probably not in the quarterback market, an early run at the position should push elite talent down to the team's first pick at 11th overall.
That's great for Jones and the Giants, but it doesn't mean that he won't be impacted by this year's draft haul.
Here, we'll examine Jones' situation and other Giants players most likely to be impacted by the 2021 draft.
QB Daniel Jones
The Giants probably won't be replacing Jones in this draft, but they could land him some new toys. New York already helped upgrade Jones' receiving corps in free agency—adding tight end Kyle Rudolph and wideout Kenny Golladay—and more help could be on the way.
The early first round is poised to be full of offensive talent. Between linemen like Oregon's Penei Sewell and pass-catchers like LSU's Ja'Marr Chase, most of the top 10 or so picks will likely land on that side of the ball.
In a recent mock draft by Chris Burke of The Athletic, for example, only two defensive players are projected to go in the top 15. Burke mocks Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle to New York at No. 11.
Even if the Giants don't go with an offensive player in Round 1, a deep receiver class will provide the opportunity to land a playmaker on Day 2. Early offensive help should benefit Jones, and with standout running back Saquon Barkley set to return from injury this year, 2021 could be a breakout season for the former Duke signal-caller.
Year 3 could be a good one for Jones.
OT Nate Solder
Offensive tackle Nate Solder opted out of the 2020 season, but he'll be back to provide depth or to compete with Matt Peart for the right tackle job—2020 first-round pick Andrew Thomas is likely entrenched at left tackle.
However, Solder may not be in New York's long-term plans, especially if the team adds more line depth in the draft. He's due to carry a cap hit of $18 million in 2022 with only $4 million in dead money remaining next season.
Even if the Giants don't take a tackle in Round 1, they could find Solder's long-term replacement at some point in the draft.
"It will be a surprise if the Giants do not take an offensive lineman with one of their first three picks," Paul Schwartz of the New York Post wrote.
Solder is probably set to begin his final season as a Giant.
DL Leonard Williams
While the early first round may be dominated by offensive players, New York may look to go defense. According to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, the Giants are eyeing a pass-rusher.
"Nothing is set in stone with two weeks to go until the draft in Cleveland, but multiple NFL sources told SNY they sensed that the Giants were leaning towards taking a pass-rusher in the first round of the draft," Vacchiano wrote.
Presumably, the Giants would still target a pass-rusher early even if it isn't in the first round.
Adding an edge-defender could help defensive lineman Leonard Williams in a big way. The Giants don't have a second pass-rushing presence on the roster—no other player had more than four sacks last season. Adding one could help pull offensive attention away from Williams.
Williams signed a three-year, $63 million extension this offseason. He'll have a better chance of living up to that contract if New York gets him a pass-rushing running mate in the draft.