The 2019 offseason will be an important year for the future of the Giants – and not just at the most important position on the field.
The Giants own the No. 6 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, and their most talked-about need continues to be quarterback as the team tries to find the heir to Eli Manning. But that doesn’t mean all of their problems would be solved. Offensive line, edge rusher and other defensive positions also will need to be addressed.
Here’s a look at the Giants’ biggest needs heading into the offseason, as well as a few potential fits on Days 1 and 2 of the draft.
This quarterback class isn’t as talented as those of the last few years, which saw several promising starters go in the first round. But there are still some who could merit early attention.
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State: Haskins isn’t cut from the recent mold of dual-threat Buckeyes passers. He’s great in the pocket and puts touch on his throws, yet he has enough mobility to extend a play if needed.
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma: At 5-10, 195 pounds, the Heisman winner and No. 9 overall pick in the MLB Draft isn’t your prototypical QB. But he’s an electric athlete with excellent speed and a great arm.
Will Grier, West Virginia (Day 2): Grier played in a wide-open spread offense at West Virginia, so there’s some debate as to how he’ll handle a traditional under-center role in the NFL, but he has a good arm with zip.
Nate Solder got better as the season went on, Will Hernandez showed some growth in his rookie season and Jon Halapio is set to return from an early season-ending broken ankle. Jamon Brown was a key midseason addition at right guard and could get re-signed, but even if he is back, look for the Giants to find a starting right tackle to round out GM Dave Gettleman’s set of “hog mollies.”
Jonah Williams, Alabama: Williams is balanced in both run-blocking and pass-protecting. He can play on either side of the line or slide inside to guard.
Dalton Risner, Kansas State: Risner, like Williams, can play tackle or guard in the NFL. He allowed just 27 quarterback pressures in four seasons as a starter at Kansas State, according to Pro Football Focus.
David Edwards, Wisconsin (Day 2): Edwards isn’t your typical offensive lineman – he played quarterback in an option offense in high school, then was recruited to Wisconsin as a tight end before moving to right tackle. He’s very athletic for a 6-7, 315-pounder and has great power as a run-blocker.
B.J. Hill had a promising rookie season, and Dalvin Tomlinson also continued to emerge as a tackling machine. But the Giants lost a key member of their front seven when they sent Damon Harrison to Detroit at the trade deadline. Some more talent – particularly someone who can provide an interior pass-rush– could be a big help.
Ed Oliver, Houston: Oliver has been on the draft radar since a standout freshman season in which he had five sacks and 22 tackles for loss. He’s a smallish, pass-rushing defensive tackle not unlike the Rams’ Aaron Donald or the Bengals’ Geno Atkins.
Rashan Gary, Michigan: Gary has the versatility to play pretty much any defensive line position. He dealt with injuries during his junior season but had 5 1/2 sacks and 11 1/2 tackles for loss in 2017.
Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame (Day 2): Tillery was the anchor of a defense that helped the Irish reach the College Football Playoff. He has experience at both nose tackle and three-technique and is a powerful bull-rusher (seven sacks in 2018, including four against Stanford).
Olivier Vernon has a $19.5 million cap hit for 2019, according to Spotrac.com, so he may not be back next season. Lorenzo Carter had four sacks as a rookie and should continue to develop, but the Giants need to improve a pass-rush that tied for the second-fewest sacks in the NFL (30).
Josh Allen, Kentucky: Allen would be a good fit for the 3-4 scheme that defensive coordinator James Bettcher runs. He’s taken big leaps in his development each season at Kentucky and still has room to grow, but he can bring excellent speed around the edge.
Clelin Ferrell, Clemson: Ferrell returned to school last season despite potentially being a first-rounder as a junior. He ended up recording career-highs in sacks (11 1/2) and tackles for loss (20) and was excellent against Alabama tackle Jonah Williams in the national championship game. Ferrell has great size, length and athleticism and could be an immediate contributor in any scheme.
Joe Jackson, Miami (Day 2): Jackson played defensive end for the Hurricanes, so he’s more of a fit in a 4-3 scheme, but he’s very explosive off the snap and has the size, length and speed to get after the quarterback.
The Giants face a decision on Janoris Jenkins, who has a $14.75 million cap hit for 2019. They took Sam Beal in the third round of the supplemental draft, which essentially makes him this year’s third-round pick with the added bonus of being in the building for a year. Either way, the Giants need to bolster a secondary that ranked 10th-worst in passing yards per game (252.8).
Greedy Williams, LSU: Williams fits both man and zone schemes thanks to his size and ball skills.
Byron Murphy, Washington: Murphy’s technique and instincts, especially when the ball is in the air, make up for his lack of size (5-11, 182 pounds).
Amani Oruwariye, Penn State (Day 2): Oruwariye has great size at 6-1, 204 pounds, and his long arms help him get leverage on receivers and break up passes.
Whether or not Landon Collins returns in free agency, the Giants need to find a centerfielder who can patrol the deep middle third of the field. If Collins doesn’t re-sign, this becomes an even bigger area of need.
Deionte Thompson, Alabama: Thompson’s stock fell after two subpar games in the College Football Playoff, but he has range, excellent ball skills and instincts.
Taylor Rapp, Washington (Day 2): Rapp would be more of a replacement if Collins left in free agency, since the 6-foot, 200-pounder is best when playing up in the box.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida (Day 2): Gardner-Johnson has the range and ball skills to make plays on the ball as a free safety or up on the line as a slot cornerback.