EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – If Eli Manning does return to the Giants as their starting quarterback in 2019, as SNY reported could happen, that doesn’t mean they won’t still draft a quarterback in the first round. They might.
But a Manning return could also buy some time so the Giants can look at other options – like perhaps an offensive lineman or pass rusher — both of which they desperately need.
It’s hard to project this early, not knowing where the Giants will pick or what their plans will actually be. But assuming they do land near the top of the NFL draft, here’s a look at the top players available who fit one of their glaring needs:
Oregon QB Justin Herbert
He’s generated the early buzz in the scouting community as the best quarterback in the draft, and according to some people, it’s not even close. He’s got the size (6-foot-6, 225 pounds), the arm strength, and good mobility.
The Giants have already started work on him, and as of now, they’re sitting at a spot in the draft (fifth) where they could probably get him. They certainly wouldn’t be opposed to picking him and having him sit behind Manning for a year (or part of a year).
Ohio State DE Nick Bosa
Assuming there are no complications or lingering effects from the core muscle injury that prompted him to end his Buckeyes career, he might end up as the No. 1 pick in the draft – which probably puts him out of the Giants’ reach. He’d be great for them, though.
They currently have nobody sustaining any kind of pass rush, and with Olivier Vernon likely to be an offseason cap casualty, they’ll be in the market for a new edge rusher.
Alabama OL Jonah Williams
No matter what the Giants do at the top of the draft, they absolutely know that reshaping and restocking their offensive line is their No. 1 offseason priority…again. The 6-foot-5, 302-pound Williams might be the best lineman available.
He’s a left tackle for the Tide, but he’d fit in easily at right tackle as an upgrade over Chad Wheeler. He also could project at guard, depending on whether the Giants can re-sign Jamon Brown.
Missouri QB Drew Lock
There are a few scouts who think Lock is the best quarterback prospect in the draft. If the Giants do slide behind another QB-needy team, he could be their choice. At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, he has the size and the arm strength, too. He could vault to No. 1 on a lot of boards if Herbert decides not to declare for the draft.
Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell
He’s not as highly regarded as Bosa, but he sure can get after the passer. He has 10 ½ sacks this year and 16 tackles for loss. His three-year totals are 26 sacks and 46 ½ tackles for loss in 40 games. At 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, he could be the second-best edge rusher in the draft.
Ole Miss T Greg Little
He’s another left tackle who would have to slide to the right to replace Wheeler. He’s 6-foot-6, 325 pounds with long arms and is very athletic. He’s also apparently got a nasty streak that might remind the Giants of their rookie left guard, Will Hernandez.
LSU CB Greedy Williams
They traded Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins could be an offseason cap casualty, so the Giants are basically starting over at this critical position.
They do have CB Sam Beal, their third-round supplemental draft pick, who missed his rookie season with a shoulder injury. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Williams would be a tall, speedy complement on the other side of the field.