Giants' Top 2021 NFL Draft Targets

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 28, 2021

Giants' Top 2021 NFL Draft Targets

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    The New York Giants are one of the teams picking outside the top 10 of the 2021 NFL draft that could go in a few different directions.

    The current mold of the roster allows them to have some flexibility when using the No. 11 pick on Thursday.

    New York's brass could opt to add another wide receiver for Daniel Jones to work with after it landed Kenny Golladay in free agency.

    The Giants may also try to reinforce the protection around their young quarterback by targeting one of the top offensive tackles.

    If the Giants land an offensive player, they would extend their run to five years of selecting someone on that side of the ball first.

    Evan Engram, Saquon Barkley, Jones and Andrew Thomas were chosen in the last four first rounds.

Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    It would not come as a surprise to see the Giants attack the offensive line in the first round for the second straight draft.

    The Giants landed Andrew Thomas with the No. 4 selection in 2020, but Daniel Jones' sack total actually increased by seven.

    To keep Jones upright, the Giants may have to dip into the offensive tackle talent pool again in the form of Northwestern's Rashawn Slater.

    Slater will be targeted by a handful of other teams in the top 11, but he may fall to the Giants if a run on quarterbacks occurs in the top 10.

    If Slater is gone by No. 11, the Giants could still attend to their offensive line need through USC's Alijah Vera-Tucker, who can also play guard, or Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw.

    If the Giants believe the gap between Slater, Darrisaw and the rest of the offensive tackle prospects is too steep, they could be aggressive at other positions in the latter rounds.

Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

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    Matt Gentry/Associated Press

    Darrisaw is the next-best option behind Penei Sewell and Slater at offensive tackle.

    There is a scenario in which the Giants are left with the Virginia Tech product if other teams look to reinforce their respective offensive lines.

    The Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins could add more protection for their young quarterbacks, while the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers could do the same for Jared Goff and Sam Darnold, respectively.

    If the Denver Broncos don't draft a Drew Lock replacement, they could be in the market for a pass protector as well.

    Pro Football Focus' latest mock draft has Darrisaw landing at No. 13 with the Los Angeles Chargers, so it isn't a far-fetched possibility for the Giants to take him if Slater is off the board.

    PFF's Steve Palazzolo called Darrisaw "a people-mover in the run game in addition to being a solid pass protector."

    The Giants need to solve their protection problems, and if Slater is not there, Darrisaw could end up as the right complement to Thomas.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Wide receiver is not the most pressing need for the Giants after the Golladay acquisition.

    With a No. 1 wideout in place, the Giants can fill in the depth behind him with Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard.

    However, there could be intrigue of landing another weapon in a similar vein to what the Dallas Cowboys did with CeeDee Lamb in 2020.

    Smith is coming off one of the best individual seasons in college football history with 1,856 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns.

    While some teams may turn away from Smith due to his skinny physical profile, the Giants could actually benefit from someone his size.

    Golladay will be the enforcing physical presence on the outside, and the Giants could use Smith as the deep threat, or a slot receiver to provide extra support for Golladay and Slayton.


    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference and