After a bittersweet ending to the 2020 season, the New York Giants’ off-season plans will now center on the NFL Draft with names like Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith and Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye likely at the forefront of their minds.
DeVonta Smith and Kwity Paye highlight New York Giants NFL Draft targets
Now, a lot can happen now until draft day. Trades, players’ stock rising and dropping, and other outside influences can muck up the best-laid plans. Expect anything and everything to happen leading up to and during draft day.
That said, with speculation being very volatile at this time, it still can’t hurt the Giants to zero in on some draft prospects, and Smith and Paye represent the type of players New York should invest in. The Giants should try to land either a stud wide receiver or an athletic and menacing edge rusher.
They are not the only position and/or players the Giants should look at, but they offer the star potential and game-changing ability that can transform the Giants into a playoff contender.
If the Giants Want to Focus on Wide Receiver, DeVonta Smith Should Be the Priority
Along with Smith at wide receiver, the Giants should also target LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle, and Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman.
While the Giants could conceivably go the route of “best available” player available, New York could be that much more dynamic if they get an alpha wide receiver to give quarterback Daniel Jones a legitimate weapon to throw to.
Smith can be that player.
If the Giants Pursue a Pass Rusher
On a defensive unit that improved vastly last season, all they need now is another edge rusher to give an already stout secondary a break. While the interior linemen on the Giants did their part, the edge rushers outside of Leonard Williams left a lot to be desired. And remember, Williams is a free agent.
While the Giants should re-sign Williams, there is no guarantee he will be back. Whether Williams is back or not, the Giants should invest their 11th pick in Paye if they pass on taking a wide receiver.
Sure, the Giants could always use some help upfront on the offensive line, but that is another unit that overachieved last season. The prudent move is for the Giants to look for bargain picks in the later rounds to bolster the line.
As for other edge rushers besides Paye, the Giants should focus on the likes of Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari, Miami’s Gregory Rousseau and Jaelan Phillips, Oklahoma’s Ronnie Perkins, and Pittsburgh’s Patrick Jones II.
The Giants desperately need a playmaker on both sides of the ball and the likes of Smith and Paye could be the tonic the franchise needs in the quest for renewed postseason greatness.
DeVonta Smith or Kwity Paye May Be Too Hard to Pass Up
Now circling back to the key players mentioned in this story: Smith and Paye.
After the way Smith played in the College Football Playoff championship, his stock has likely risen after he recorded 12 receptions for a whopping 215 yards and three touchdowns.
While small in stature (6’1″, 175 pounds), Smith is one of those receivers who is electric with the ball in his hands. Smith is absolutely fearless and was made for prime time. His speed and route running are superb, and he has all the natural football instincts to excel in this league for a decade or more.
If Smith is not available, then Chase would be more than a satisfactory back-up plan.
As for Paye, and while he only played in four games this season for Michigan, he is a beast on the edge. Even in limited playing time with the Wolverines, Paye registered 22 pressures and an 87.1 pass-rush grade. His athleticism is simply off the charts and his ceiling has no limits.
The Giants can go in so many directions on draft day, but at the top of their wish list should be a play-making star who can make an immediate impact. Playmakers on either side of the ball like Smith and Paye are just the type of players that can inject life and enthusiasm into a team on the precipice of making noise league-wide.
Again, a lot can change between now and April, but at the moment Smith and Paye are the types of picks that can rev up the fanbase while bringing the dynamic change the Giants so desperately need.