Through 14 of 16 National Football League (NFL) regular season games, the New York Giants had a win-loss record of 3-11, which was the second-worst record in the league behind the Cincinnati Bengals. As a result, the team was projected to have the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Louisiana State University (LSU) quarterback and 2019 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow is expected to be selected first overall by the Bengals, but there are several intriguing options available for the Giants should they pick second overall. The team has several holes on defense and needs improvements on its offensive line to support young quarterback Daniel Jones. Below are five players the Giants could target with its first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft:
1. Chase Young (Ohio State)
WalterFootball.com (WF) and NJ.com, among other online media outlets, project the Giants drafting Chase Young if the team holds on to the second overall pick. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Ohio State defensive end enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2018, thanks in part to an injury to teammate Nick Bosa that opened up playing time, and has continued to show improvement in 2019. Young had 34 tackles and 10.5 sacks last season and 44 tackles and 16.5 sacks through 11 games in 2019. Through 33 career games at the collegiate level, he has 96 tackles, 30.5 sacks, and nine forced fumbles. On New York’s defensive line, he would be a great complement to linebacker Markus Golden.
In December, Young became the first defensive player at Ohio State to win the Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award as the top player in the Big Ten Conference. The conference’s 14 coaches determine the award’s recipient, and nine of them gave Young their first-place votes. WF analyst Charlie Campbell was particularly complimentary of Young’s pass-rushing ability, noting that he “shows nice vision to keep his eyes on the quarterback, and that, along with his athleticism, allows him to redirect for chasing down scrambling signal-callers.”
2. Grant Delpit (LSU)
The Giants’ defensive secondary constitutes another area ripe for improvement. The team lacks a versatile coverage defender with the capability of shifting to free safety, and someone like Grant Delpit could help significantly in that regard. Projected to be a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the LSU defensive back will likely be drafted outside of the top five, meaning that the Giants would need to acquire another first-round selection or make a trade to drop down in the draft. Regardless, his size – 6-foot-3 and 203 pounds – and athleticism would make him an ideal replacement for veteran Antoine Bethea. Through 38 games at LSU, Delpit has 190 tackles, 23 defended passes, eight interceptions, and six sacks.
3. Isaiah Simmons (Clemson)
If the Giants fail to improve their defensive line or secondary in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, they could at least make improvements at the linebacker position. One of the top-ranked linebackers in the draft is Isaiah Simmons. The Clemson University junior is having a breakout season with 93 tackles, 14.5 of which were for a loss, and seven sacks through 13 games. Last season, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound linebacker had 88 tackles, nine of which were for a loss, and two sacks through 15 games. Like Delpit, Simmons is a versatile defender who can also play safety.
4. Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)
New York traded wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., to the Cleveland Browns this past off-season in exchange for a pair of draft picks and safety Jabrill Peppers. The deal left the Giants without a true No. 1 wide receiver, but Jerry Jeudy could fill that role. Comparable to Atlanta Falcons’ receiver Julio Jones, Jeudy boasts incredible speed, which, in combination with his 6-foot-1, 192-pound frame, makes him an elite pass catcher. Through 37 games at the University of Alabama, he had 153 receptions for 2,538 yards and 25 touchdowns. The potential top-five pick in the 2020 NFL Draft is considered not only one of the most dynamic and speedy receivers in the NCAA, but also an exceptional route runner. He was a consensus All-American in 2018 and earned the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in college football.
5. Andrew Thomas (Georgia)
Daniel Jones, the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, had 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions through 11 games in his rookie season, but struggled to hold on to the football as he had a league-worst 15 fumbles. An improved offensive line would likely help with that, and one player the Giants could target is offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. He hasn’t allowed a sack or hit through 22 pass-blocking snaps this season and is the highest-ranked, draft-eligible Power 5 offensive lineman, according to Pro Football Focus.