The 2021 NFL Draft is now just days away and war rooms across America are raring to go. Free Agency provided teams the opportunity to address their needs prior to draft day but not every need was answered. In 2020 the winner of the NFC East, if you can really call them that, had just as many wins as losses. At 8-8, the Washington Football Team scraped into the playoffs. One team that challenged them all the way to Week 17 was the New York Giants.
The Giants came close to getting back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 but ultimately fell short after a bad start. An injury to Saquon Barkley in the early part of the season completely derailed their offense and put a lot of pressure on Daniel Jones. Pressure that he struggled with at times.
In fairness to Jones, it wasn’t all his fault. He had no true number one wide receiver, no running game, and an offensive line that allowed him to be sacked 45 times. I know it’s not all the offensive lines’ fault but they could have done better. Jones seems to be the guy that New York is happy to go with and if that is the case they need to get him weapons and protection as a priority.
Prior to the 2021 NFL Draft, the Giants acquired the services of Kenny Golladay on a four-year deal. Golladay is that true number one receiver that Jones so desperately needs. If Golladay can stay fit then Jones will have no excuse in 2021.
Away from the offense, the Giants need someone who can get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. In 2020 the Giants finished the season with 40 sacks. Not too bad a number but getting pressure to a QB can transform a defense from mediocrity to superstardom. New York has a more than adequate secondary that can take advantage of any mistakes made by opposing quarterbacks. How do they make mistakes? By getting pressured.
2021 NFL Draft: Top 3 Needs for The Giants
Wide Receiver/Tight End
As previously mentioned, in the 2021 NFL Draft the New York Giants need to get Daniel Jones another weapon. Holding the eleventh pick in the draft the New York Giants are going to get a shot at one of the best weapons in the 2021 NFL draft. Whether it Jamarr Chase, Devonta Smith, Jalen Waddle, or even Kyle Pitts one of them will be available and any one of them would be a great addition.
With Kenny Golladay drawing all the attention, Evan Engram playing as a big-bodied tight end, and John Ross as a speedy deep threat option any one of the options available in the draft could step into a huge role immediately. Kyle Pitts would be the ideal pick here as he has the qualities of both a tight end and a wide receiver but he is unlikely to drop to eleventh.
As long as the Giants select one of these players their offense will be in a better place by the start of the 2021 season.
Offensive Line Help
Next up for the Giants in the 2021 NFL draft is the need for some offensive line help. As previously mentioned Daniel Jones was sacked 45 times in 2020 and spent a lot of the time on his back. If that continues in 2021 then it doesn’t matter what weapons you have brought in for him to throw the ball to. Even Patrick Mahomes can’t make throws when lying on his back. As well as the 45 sacks, Jones had eighteen fumbles in 2020. Eleven of which ended up in the hands of the opposition.
With sacks and fumbles as often as that it’s no wonder the Giants finished at 6-10 in 2020. Negative statistics like that will hamper a team and if the Giants want to get back to the playoffs they have to find a way to stop that. Bolstering the offensive line will go a long way to make Jones feel better protected and allow him to go through his reads better.
Not only will a better offensive line help Jones and the passing game, but it will also benefit the return of Saquon Barkley. Barkley excelled in his rookie year and showed the world what he is capable of doing. With quads the size of tree trunks, Barkley is able to make people miss and power his way through tackles when he is hit, but even Barkley can’t do everything. He needs the big men upfront to create the holes for him to run through. In week one of the 2020 season, they were unable to do this and Ben Roethlisberger ended up with better rushing statistics than Barkley.
If New York wants to win the NFC East they can’t allow a 39-year-old quarterback to outrush their star running back. Use the 2021 NFL draft to bolster the line.
Finally, in the 2021 NFL draft, the New York Giants need to bring in a quality edge rusher. The success that teams have when they constantly harass the opposing quarterback can’t be overshadowed. Look at what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to do to one of the most talented quarterbacks to play the game. Patrick Mahomes spent the majority of Super Bowl LV running for his life. As a result, he wasn’t able to do the superhuman things (although he gave it a good shot) that we have been accustomed to.
With a secondary as strong as the Giants now have after the acquisition of Adoree’ Jackson, they need players who can force the quarterbacks into mistakes. Take the Pittsburgh Steelers for example. They have a strong secondary that have racked up interceptions over the last couple of years. How have they managed that? T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree. Watt and Dupree became the best tandem in the league at getting to the quarterback and the mere thought of them chasing after you is enough to make you consider how much you enjoy playing football.
If the Giants can find a quality edge rusher then their defense will get better as a unit. The secondary can feast on the mistakes forced and the defensive line can focus on stopping the run game. If the defense excels then the offense gets more time on the ball and more time to use the weapons to pile up the points. Win-win for everyone.
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