The New York Giants currently hold six picks in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, including the 11th overall selection. Much of the recent buzz is centered around what New York will do in the first round, but listed below are five NFL Draft targets the Giants could go after in Round 2.
Five New York Giants NFL Draft Targets in Round 2
1. Dylan Moses | Linebacker | Alabama
Linebacker Dylan Moses was one of the more highly touted prospects in all of college football after his stellar season in 2018. The 6-foot-3-inch linebacker posted 86 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 10 tackles for loss in his sophomore campaign for the Crimson Tide.
However, an offseason injury derailed his junior season before it ever began. Moses tore his ACL during practice in August 2019.
In his return to the field this season, Moses has done well all things considered. In twelve games he registered 76 tackles, one sack, and six tackles for loss. The production took a slight dip in comparison to his sophomore numbers, but he played in three fewer games this season.
The perception of Moses is that he is not quite the same player that he was prior to the injury. However, it’s important to note that this is only his first season back since being sidelined. He is almost certainly still learning how to play post-injury.
This narrative that Moses is not the same player is what may push him out of the first round. Whatever team takes a chance on him will have the opportunity to tap into his talent and bring the best out of him.
The 2020 season saw a number of Giants defenders have career years. Who is to say that defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and company cannot unlock the elite talent that lies within Moses? Teaming him up with Blake Martinez could bolster an already impressive defensive unit.
2. Asante Samuel Jr. | Cornerback | Florida State
Asante Samuel Jr. certainly has the NFL pedigree that front offices could desire in a prospect.
His father, Asante Samuel, is a former defensive back for the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, and Atlanta Falcons. He made the Pro Bowl four times and earned an All-Pro selection once in 2007.
As for Samuel Jr., he is looking to etch his own name into the NFL storybook. After three seasons at Florida State, the 5-foot-10-inch cornerback totaled 97 tackles, four interceptions and 29 passes defended through 31 career games.
He was also named to the Third Team All-ACC in 2019, and surpassed that in 2020 with a First-Team All-ACC selection.
Adding Samuel Jr. to a promising secondary could elevate the Giants defensive backs to one of the league’s premier units.
Julian Love, Issac Yiadom, and Sam Beal are already set to compete for the starting job opposite James Bradberry next season. Injecting Samuel Jr. should only lead to more healthy competition as New York searches for a long term answer at cornerback two.
3. Terrace Marshall Jr. | Wide Receiver | LSU
Wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. is the type of big-body receiver that Giants fans have been craving for all season long.
The LSU product stands 6-foot-3-inches tall and weighs in at 200 pounds. Despite his tall stature, he is not a one-trick pony. Whether it’s pulling down a pass in traffic or racking up yards after the catch, he can get it done.
Marshall Jr. put up 731 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns in seven games this season before opting out of the final three contests. Those numbers include a ridiculous 11 reception, 235 yard game against Missouri in mid-October.
Adding Marshall Jr. to the Giants offense could help elevate them from the bottom of the league. New York ranked 31st last season is both offensive yards and points scored per game. Marshall Jr.’s arrival could also assist in the development of Daniel Jones.
The offense is desperate for playmakers, and in the second round, it doesn’t get much better than Marshall Jr.
4. Trey Smith | Offensive Lineman | Tennessee
Trey Smith is a versatile offensive lineman that has experience at both guard positions and left tackle in his career with the Tennessee Vols.
In his senior season, Smith played and started all ten games at left guard. His play was good enough to get himself named to first-team All-ACC and second-team All-American.
Smith stands 6-feet-6-inches tall, and checks in at 330 pounds. His size and versatility could serve a team like the Giants well.
While the offensive line improved for the Giants as the season went along, there are still many question marks within it. Cam Fleming, who played plenty of snaps at right tackle, is a free agent, and Matt Peart is coming off a season where he showed some flashes, but New York cannot bank on him being the answer at right tackle.
As for the interior of the line, veteran guard Kevin Zeitler could be moved for cap reasons, despite almost unanimously being the Giants best offensive lineman. In addition to Zeitler, fellow guards Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux split snaps throughout the season.
Hernandez played well in pass protection, while Lemieux did better in the run game. Both players certainly showed their value, but neither has locked down a starting spot on the line for next season.
The bottom line is that a versatile offensive lineman like Smith is extremely valuable to have because he can fill in wherever a hole may arise. Even if is not able to see the field during his rookie season, he could step in and be an asset later on.
5. Patrick Jones II | Edge Rusher | Pittsburgh
An edge rusher to monitor is Patrick Jones II out of Pittsburgh.
Jones II, who stands 6-feet-5-inches tall, has steadily improved throughout his college career. As a freshman, he put up a 0.5 sack in five appearances. The following year saw him elevate that number to 3.5, and then a huge jump to 8.5 in his junior season.
As an encore, he tallied career-highs across the board in his senior season. Jones II put up 9.0 sacks, 42 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss in 2020.
His play was good enough to have him named to the First Team All-ACC in 2020, and earned him the honor of being a consensus First Team All-American.
If the Giants believe that Jones II can continue on this upward trajectory, he may be someone they target with the 42nd overall pick.
In 2020, the Giants sacked opposing quarterbacks 40 times, which was tied for twelfth best in the NFL. Adding an edge rusher like Jones II could help push the Giants pass rush into the top of the league next season.
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