By John Camera
The New York Giants returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2011 last season and enter this year with some needs but few glaring red flags. This is a team that could very well draft by best player available, which is difficult to project. Here is my take on what the Giants could do to improve their roster for 2017 and beyond.
1st Round: David Njoku, TE, Miami (Fl.)
Njoku is one of the most athletic Tight Ends in this year’s class and would give this Giants offense the extra dimension they were lacking this past season over the middle. Njoku would feast on single coverage from Linebackers and Safeties and give Eli Manning a dual threat up the seam and in the flat.
2nd Round: Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami (Fl.)
The Giants double up on Miami prospects and get their QB of the future in Kaaya. Eli Manning isn’t getting any younger and steps into a nearly perfect situation. He’ll have some dangerous weapons at receiver and an O-line that is getting better around him. He can sit for a year or two and be the Aaron Rodgers to Eli’s Brett Favre.
3rd Round: Antonio Garcia, OL, Troy
Garcia has showed a lot of promise playing tackle at Sun Belt standout Troy. He could stand to add more weight and strength but Garcia is a lot closer to being a polished, starting-caliber Tackle than most seem to think. He could compete right away for a starting tackle job.
4th Round: Duke Reily, LB, LSU
Reily is exactly what the Giants need at Linebacker; youth and speed. He brings both in spades and ought to be New York’s starting WILL for the long term. He’s an underrated player who was overshadowed by bigger names like Jamal Adams and Kendell Beckwith on his team. He was arguably the best linebacker on his team on the tape I’ve watched.
5th Round: Matthew Dayes, RB, North Carolina State
The Giants have one half of their backfield future filled out when Paul Perkins grabbed the starting job late in the year. Matt Dayes is the perfect change of pace, power back to complement Perkins. While Dayes isn’t the biggest RB in the world, he has good strength to push the pile and succeed as a short yardage and goal line runner.
6th Round: Carroll Phillips, EDGE, Illinois
Although teammate Dawuane Smoot may be getting more pub from the draft media, Phillips could turn out to be the better NFL player. He’s a lot more athletic than Smoot and while he is a project pass rusher, he is worth drafting and developing.
7th Round: Aarion Penton, CB, Missouri
New York has their CBs of the future in Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie likely lasting one more year. The Giants should keep DRC but drafting his replacement is a good idea. Penton is a good fit in Steve Spagnuolo’s aggressive defense and despite being just 5’9″, the feisty corner could develop into a productive third CB.