To say it has been a rough few weeks for Giants fans would be an understatement. New York has rolled out three different quarterbacks due to injuries and none of them have looked great. Now, Daniel Jones is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL while backup Tyrod Taylor is on injured reserve with a rib injury, and coach Brian Daboll will not confirm if the journeyman quarterback will return this season. That leaves a quarterback room featuring Tommy Devito and newly-signed Matt Barkley and Jacob Eason.
Add in an offensive line that ranks 25th and 26th in ESPN’s Pass Block and Run Block win rate metrics and you can see a problem forming. Top that off with a receiving corps that has Darren Waller (who has missed a game this season) leading the way with a paltry 384 receiving yards and you have one of the worst offenses in the league. Oh, and Saquon Barkley is a free agent at the end of the season.
Thankfully, the Giants started to get ahead of these issues. They made a great move at the deadline to send Leonard Williams to Seattle, netting a 2024 2nd-round pick and a 2025 5th-round pick. That gives them five selections projected in the top 104 picks.
Talking to a coworker yesterday, he pointed out that it is tough to see a way out for the Giants because they could conceivably need help at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and offensive line. Don’t worry Giants fans, the path back to relevance is a bit clearer than you might imagine.
This is one of the deepest draft classes we have ever seen at three key positions: quarterback, wide receiver and offensive tackle. That is excellent news for New York. Finding a running back in the draft should also be manageable. Of the top five running backs this season in terms of rushing yards, only one was drafted in the first round (Christian McCaffrey). With all of that in mind, let’s run through some potential scenarios to rebuild the Giants.
No. 4 - Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State
No. 35 - Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
No. 58 - Johnny Wilson, WR, Florida State
No. 69 - Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin
Offense, offense and more offense. That’s been the Giants’ problem this year. Adding Fashanu would allow New York to move Evan Neal inside, which would hopefully revive his career. Grabbing Nix in the second round gives them another option to potentially start. Will Nix actually be there in the second round? Hard to say, some have him going in the top 10. Some have him outside the top 50. Wilson would provide some much-needed size to their receiver room. He has his limitations, but at 6’7”, he could be a matchup nightmare and help a group that ranks 30th in red zone touchdown percentage. Meanwhile, grabbing Allen in the third round helps soften the blow of likely losing Barkley this offseason. This running back class lacks elite prospects, but has a number of guys that could wind up being lead backs in a committee.
This will not instantly fix the Giants’ problems, but it will make them a much more capable group, significantly raising the floor for the unit as a whole. I think Daboll would be able to get a lot out of Nix. A starting offensive line of Andrew Thomas, Mark Glowinski, John Michael Smith, Evan Neal and Fashanu should be better in 2024. Wilson and Allen give them a few more playmakers to work with as well. With Jones’ contract able to come off the books following the 2024 season, this could be a plan that sets the Giants up to be competitive as soon as 2025. The defense will need some reinforcements at some point, particularly if Isaiah Simmons leaves in free agency this offseason. Still, this would be a positive step in the right direction.
No. 4 - J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan
No. 35 - Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
No. 58 - Cooper Beebe, G, Kansas State
No. 69 - Ruke Ohrohoro, DL, Clemson
If the Giants want to get aggressive in taking a quarterback, they will likely have their pick of whoever they feel is the No. 3 quarterback in this class come draft day. Caleb Williams and Drake Maye will almost definitely be off the board in the first three picks. McCarthy is a hot name who has taken a massive step in his development. You will see him as a top 25 prospect most places you look at this point. It is definitely a bit of a reach, but that’s often what you have to do to land a first-round quarterback.
In the second round, New York would add two instant impact players in Mitchell and Beebe. Mitchell is a touchdown-scoring machine. He has eight touchdowns in nine games this season with the Longhorns. At 6’4”, he once again brings some much-needed size to the Giants receiving room, but he is a bit more polished as a playmaker than Johnny Wilson. Beebe is one of the best linemen in college football. He is an All-American guard who has experience playing at left tackle as well. For a Giants team that has struggled with injuries all season long, that versatility would be huge. Ohrohoro helps fill the void left by the Leonard Williams trade. He will not be as productive out of the gate as Williams was, but has a similar body type and could excel in Wink Martindale’s system.
This scenario only happens if the Giants believe that McCarthy is their guy to build around in the future. I can’t say that I believe that strongly in the Michigan quarterback at this stage, but he will have a chance to prove himself against some quality defenses at Penn State and Ohio State over the next month. Those will be big hurdles for him to clear.
No. 1 - Caleb Williams, QB, USC
No. 58 - Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
No. 69 - Mar’Shon Lloyd, RB, USC
Let’s go all in. It’s not out of the question for the Cardinals to decide they want to keep Kyler Murray. It would cost a lot of draft capital to make the move for such a high-profile prospect, but New York has a lot of extra picks to send Arizona’s way. In this scenario, I have the Giants sending the No. 4 pick, the No. 35 pick, a 2025 1st and a 2025 3rd to the Cardinals for the No. 1 pick. Williams would immediately turn the trajectory of the franchise around quickly. He is a special playmaker with a ball in his hands. There are areas where he needs to improve, but his ceiling dwarfs Daniel Jones’ output.
Adding Brian Thomas Jr. and Mar’Shon Lloyd would give the Giants two additional players to boost their offense. Thomas has been on fire this season for the Tigers, with 768 yards and 11 touchdowns in nine games. He has a massive frame at 6’5”, which fills a major void in New York’s offense. Lloyd is in the midst of a breakout season and would give Williams some comfort as he acclimates to the NFL. The Jaguars did something similar when they drafted Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne in the same year.
This would be a gamble, but it would definitely buy Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll a few more years to make things work. New York would have to allocate some of the cap space they have heading into the offseason to bolster the offensive line. Andrus Peat, Trent Brown and Jonah Williams would all be targets to ensure that Caleb Williams is not running for his life.