New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen speaks during a...

New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Credit: AP/Michael Conroy

As they enter the 2024 NFL Draft, the Giants have the need for speed.

While there has not been a consensus on the player the Giants will select in the first round of the draft Thursday night, there has been a heavy lean toward one position: wide receiver. The Giants hold the sixth overall pick and a total of six picks through the seven rounds.

In the third year of the general manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll partnership with the Giants, there is also a need for progress, for creativity, for execution and for an infusion of talent. The Giants have to become more explosive on offense, no matter who is at quarterback.

About that: Yes, Schoen gave quarterback Daniel Jones an enormous contract last offseason, a four-year, $160 million deal. Since then, Jones has played in only six games due to a neck injury followed by a torn ACL that ended his 2023 season.

The opportunity to infuse talent into the Giants’ roster begins Thursday night.

As currently constituted, the Giants are nearly bereft of proven difference-makers on offense, especially after Saquon Barkley left in free agency and is now an Eagle.

The Giants haven’t had a game-changing No. 1 receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. in 2018. He is also their last 1,000-yard receiver.

That’s a long time in the NFL.

So, where do the Giants go from here?

Surely it mattered, within the organization, that John Mara voiced support for Jones at the owners’ meetings in March.

“I still have a lot of confidence in Daniel,” Mara said. “I think the Daniel that we saw in 2022 is the real deal. Last year he was hurt, a lot of his offensive linemen were hurt, and things just did not go our way. But I still have all the confidence in the world in him.

“Hopefully, he will be able to go by training camp, and yes, I think we all expect him to be the starter in 2024.”

When Mara talks, everyone listens at the Giants’ Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Mara also said he would support the Giants moving up in the draft if the front office felt particularly strongly about a marquee player.

Schoen’s first swing at signing a quarterback has not gone well.

The GM referenced Jones’ “high-level” play in 2022, which led to the quarterback getting his nine-figure contract. More recently, Schoen downplayed the quarterback’s 2023 struggles because “anything that could have [gone] wrong, it seems like it did.”

The Giants can get out of the Jones deal after this season.

In this draft, the Giants will run out of picks before they fill all of their needs. They have to find a starting cornerback opposite Deonte Banks and a safety, at least for depth, after the free-agency departure of Xavier McKinney.

“You let your board talk to you,” Schoen said. “I’m confident we’re going to get a good player Thursday, whatever position that is, and we’ll sleep good at night knowing we did all the preparation and we let the board talk to us.”

The Giants have to find more speed and more touchdowns, particularly at the receiver position.

Consider: Veteran Darius Slayton was the Giants’ top receiver last season. He ranked 46th among NFL receivers with 770 yards. He scored four touchdowns. Wan’Dale Robinson returned last season after tearing his ACL as a rookie. On his 60 receptions in 2023, he averaged a light 8.8 yards per catch. And Jalin Hyatt in his rookie season made 23 catches for 373 yards, a hefty average of 16.2 yards per catch. Why Hyatt did not get more opportunities remains a mystery.

The Giants have a lot of work to do, and they know it.

Perhaps the best news for the Giants — and this is significant — is that the offensive line appears to have been fortified in free agency with capable players who joined the Giants to make a difference.

If that’s the case, that represents true progress.

What the Giants do over the next three days will also shape the rest of 2024.

And they know they need to get it right.

Potential Giants draft picks at No. 6

Malik Nabers, WR, LSU, Jr.

He’s an explosive wide receiver who could open opportunities for teammates. Was first-team Associated Press All-American. Ranked second in FBS with 1,569 yards. Averaged 17.6 yards per catch. Led SEC with 89 receptions, had 14 receiving TDs.

Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama, Soph.

Has a natural bounce to his step, which likely stems from his basketball background. Plays with a low center of gravity. Elite when it comes to changing directions, owning one of the fastest shuttle times in his class.

Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington, Sr.

Transferred from Indiana to Washington. Finished as runner-up in Heisman balloting as a senior. Ran a 4.46 in the 40. Suffered four season-ending injuries in college, which could affect his draft stock.

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