The New York Giants hold the sixth overall selection in the 2024 NFL draft and most believe general manager Joe Schoen will use that pick on a quarterback, wide receiver, or offensive lineman.
All three of those positions are areas of need for one reason or another but there are others that shouldn’t be so easily dismissed.
Throughout their history, the most successful Giants teams have been those built on defense. Specifically, their front seven and defensive line, which they’ve piled with quality depth and leaned heavily upon.
All four of their Super Bowl titles were won on the backs of their defense and it’s an area the current iteration is clearly lacking.
Entering the offseason, edge rush remains a predominant need for the Giants. Outside of linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux, who himself is somewhat inconsistent, there’s very little. Azeez Ojulari has yet to reach his ceiling and established himself as an injury-prone player.
Behind that, there is nothing.
While the other positions steal the spotlight and command the most debate, edge rush remains a dire need — something compounded by the arrival of defensive coordinator Shane Bowen, who relies more on organic pressure than his predecessor, Wink Martindale.
NFL Network’s Chad Reuter kept that in mind during his most recent mock draft and has the Giants selecting Florida State defensive end Jared Verse at No. 6 overall.
Will Anderson Jr.’s production dropped in his final year at Alabama (34.5 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks to 17 and 10) but he proved his combination of power and speed was NFL-ready. I expect to see the same from Verse, who was no less of a problem for offensive lines in 2023 than he was in the previous season, even if his numbers were slightly less impressive in ‘23 (17 TFL, 9 sacks in ‘22; 12.5 and 9 in ‘23).
Some could argue that Alabama’s Dallas Turner is the premiere edge rush prospect in the draft but many believe Verse has the highest upside. UCLA’s Laiatu Latu is also very much in the conversation.
No matter who you believe is the top edge rusher in the draft, the fact remains: The Giants need one of them, and don’t be surprised if that’s the route Schoen ultimately takes.
Note: In Round 2, Reuter has the Giants taking Texas running back Jonathon Brooks and Washington State safety Jaden Hicks. In Round 3, he goes with Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson.