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Ranking the Giants biggest areas of needs to target in the NFL Draft

Heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, the New York Giants have many needs they need to address.

With the first wave of big-name free agents off the board since free agency opened nearly two weeks ago, teams have started shifting their focus and needs towards the draft that’s now less than a month away. Even though the Giants were one of the bigger spenders in free agency, the team still has plenty of needs to fill on both sides of the ball with limited cap space left. Here are the four biggest areas of weakness that need to be addressed on the Giants’ roster next month. 

Offensive tackle 

After the Giants missed out on marquee names at the offensive line position at the beginning of free agency, it was clear that Giants general manager Dave Gettleman shifted his focus to the defensive side of the ball. Big Blue added Cameron Fleming, the former Cowboy and Patriot, who has only 26 starts in 75 games while starting no more than seven games in a season during his six-year career.

With both Fleming and left tackle Nate Solder most likely not long term solutions at either tackle spot, the Giants desperately need to address the position with one of its ten picks in late April. Luckily for the G-Men, they’ll have the option of choosing one of the consensus top four tackles in this draft class with the fourth overall pick in Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, Louisville’s Mekhi Becton, or Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. If Gettleman plans to keep franchise quarterback Daniel Jones upright for his sophomore season and beyond, then there’s no question the team must get younger and better at the position. 

Edge rusher 

Just like the need at the tackle position, it’s clear the Giants have a glaring hole at the pass rusher spot. The Giants finished in the bottom half of the league with 36 sacks. Ten of those came from Markus Golden, who is still a free agent. It was noticeable there was no real pass-rushing threat on the defensive line the first year since the departure of Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul following the 2018 season. Even though the consensus top free-agent edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney is still on the market and Jaguars edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue has voiced his disdain of playing in Jacksonville on the franchise tag, it’s highly unlikely the Giants will land either one with Gettleman choosing to re-sign Leonard Williams and the limited cap space remaining after addressing other positions on defense. 

This means looking toward the draft for a potential answer at the EDGE position. They will unlikely be able to select Ohio State superstar defensive end Chase Young unless multiple teams trade up ahead of them to draft a quarterback. Look for the Giants to potentially address the position soon after if they pass on the spot with the fourth pick of the draft. Some potential prospects to keep an eye on with the team’s early pick in the second round would be Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos, Alabama’s Terrell Lewis, or Notre Dame’s Julian Okwara.

Center 

While the obvious flaw on the Giants offensive line is at tackle, don’t underestimate the need for an upgrade at the center position as well. Despite starting all but one game last season, the Giants decided not to tender restricted free agent Jon Halapio before the start of the season, leaving Spencer Pulley as the only center with experience on the roster. With most of the top free agents options already signed, look for the Giants to address the position in the draft. 

The consensus top option available would be Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz. A Camden, N.J. native, Ruiz would fit right in with guards Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler playing beside him. If the Giants want Ruiz to be snapping the ball to quarterback Daniel Jones for years to come, there’s the possibility the G-Men would need to trade up late into the first round with teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. That could potentially take Ruiz in the back of the first round.

Safety

When the Giants let safety Landon Collins walk in free agency and sign a mega-contract with division rival Washington last offseason, it was a sign that Gettleman may not value the position as much as he does other areas of the defense. Despite landing safety Jabrill Peppers as part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade slightly over a year ago, there’s still a big need opposite Peppers in the secondary. While rookie Julian Love filled in nicely at free safety despite being a true corner, the Giants should look to move Love back to his natural position of cornerback and draft his replacement.

With no true safety worth taking with the fourth overall pick, the answer could be Minnesota’s Antoine Winfield Jr. with the 36th overall pick if Ruiz has already been selected. Winfield, a first-team All-American and Big Ten Defensive Back Player of the Year in 2019, could create a dynamic duo if paired with Peppers. Even though he’s a bit undersized at 5’10”, Winfield’s been praised for continually being around the ball and isn’t afraid to sacrifice his body to make a play. He’s also got family history in the NFL as his dad Antoine Winfield played 14 seasons in the league at cornerback for both the Jets and Vikings.

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