With the New York Giants making big moves in NFL Free Agency , they have completely opened up the draft for themselves. After signing both Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson, the Giants have filled needs at both the offense and defense. This now has given them options at No. 11 in the 2021 NFL Draft. They can pick for want instead of need.
Here are five Giants draft targets in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Giants First Round Draft Targets | 2021 NFL Draft
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Micah Parsons pure athleticism may be why he is the Giants pick. He has already received the co-sign from Saquon Barkley. The linebacker ran an unofficial 40 time of 4.39. With how fast the NFL is now, it is necessary to have a linebacker with speed, and that is exactly what Parsons would bring. While he chose to opt-out of the 2020 season, his numbers at his pro day shows exactly why he is ranked as high as he is. The Giants have already made improvements to the secondary, so it would make sense to now move to the linebackers. I would not be shocked if Parsons was able to play a role similar to Devin White in Tampa Bay — versatile and able to play all over the field.
Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
With the release of Kevin Zeitler, an already depleted offensive line has become even worse. Andrew Thomas showed promise last season, and pairing him with Rashawn Slater could be exactly what the line needs. Slater could be lined up at either tackle or guard, but would most likely be a guard in New York. He would fill right into the void left by Zeitler. His pass blocking ability is what makes him stand out. He is fast off the line and able to get to the second level quickly. At 6-3, 315 pounds, he is somewhat undersized. While this may be a problem, his speed off the snap may help compensate for this. While the Giants have surrounded Daniel Jones with weapons this offseason, it won’t mean much if he doesn’t have a line that allows him the time to grow. The selection of Slater could help change that.
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Arguably the best Alabama receiver in the last three years, Jaylen Waddle was able to stand out on a roster that had Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Devonta Smith. This past season, until breaking his ankle, Waddle was arguably better than Heisman winner Devonta Smith. Coming in at 5-10, Waddle would be the smallest receiver on the Giants, but the lack of size is made up by his ability to create separation and catch the ball. He does a majority of his damage after catching the ball, which would complement a Giants offense that will be full of quick passes. In a season that can prove whether Daniel Jones will be the guy or not, the Giants should give him as many weapons as they can. Waddle may be exactly what they need.
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Adding Patrick Surtain II to a secondary that already has James Bradberry and Adoree’ Jackson could make this a top-five group in the NFL. His ability to line up in man coverage and keep up with defenders are what makes this pick work. The Giants have played mostly zone defense these past few seasons, but as they create a defense that has more elite players, there may be more of an even split of man and zone. Surtain is not the most athletic corner in this class, but his instinct and ability to make plays are maybe the best of the group. He also has elite size, as he comes in at 6-2, 200 pounds. Pairing him along with fellow Bama teammate and current Giants safety Xavier McKinney, the Giants could have a blend of established veterans and raw young players to solidify this defense for years to come.
Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
Gregory Rousseau hasn’t been on a football field for over a year and played only three games in 2018, so much of his film is based on his 2019 season. The ability is there, even if it’s raw. In 2019, he had 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks. This is enough to have teams willing to take a high pick on him. His elite size helps as well. The combination of length and speed could make him a matchup nightmare for both tight ends and the o-line. At 6-7, 265 pounds, this would give the Giants a much-needed edge presence that would fit in across Leonard Williams.