The Giants are in dire need of a top-flight pass rusher, but we’ve been hearing for weeks that no such players — with the possible exception of Jadeveon Clowney — are likely to hit the open market. The Giants are reportedly interested in Clowney, and Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv believes the club will make a run at him, but they will be facing stiff competition for his services.
Though Big Blue has upwards of $70MM in cap space, Vacchiano says the team is not going to break the bank for a second-tier option like Kyle Van Noy or Dante Fowler. And with Ohio State standout Chase Young almost certain to be off the board by the time the Giants are on the clock with the No. 4 overall selection in this year’s draft, adding an immediate-impact edge rusher from the college ranks will also be difficult.
GM Dave Gettleman recently noted that improving a club’s secondary can have a trickle-down effect on its pass rush, and sources expect Gettleman to prioritize cornerbacks in free agency, per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. The Cowboys’ Byron Jones and the Broncos’ Chris Harris are the two top CBs on the market, and Dunleavy believes New York will at least make a pitch to Jones. We recently heard that the Panthers’ James Bradberry‘s price tag may be too rich for the Giants, though Bradberry is not as accomplished as Harris or Jones.
But even if the Giants land a coveted defender or two in free agency, they could still make defense a priority in the draft. They have been linked to Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, and league sources are telling Matt Miller of Bleacher Report that the club is likely to take Clemson defender Isaiah Simmons. Simmons is listed as a linebacker, but his versatility — which includes plenty of pass rush ability — is perhaps his best asset.
If the Giants don’t love their options with the No. 4 pick, they could trade back and perhaps land one of this year’s top left tackle prospects. But Gettleman has never traded down in his seven drafts as GM, and Vacchiano writes in a separate piece that Gettleman will not drop down too far, if he drops down at all. The Giants could be a trade partner for a club looking for a QB, but those teams aren’t picking too far behind New York, so Gettleman will still be able to land an elite player if he chooses to sell the No. 4 selection.