The New York Giants have announced their decision to retain head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen despite a disappointing season with only six wins. However, if the Giants aim to rebound effectively in 2024, they must undertake significant roster improvements.
With a projected cap space of $20.8 million, Schoen and his team have the opportunity to make some moves in free agency. Nonetheless, to establish themselves as long-term contenders, the Giants must make shrewd selections in April’s draft.
In recent weeks, both the Giants and other NFL teams had the chance to closely evaluate top prospects for the 2024 draft at events like the East-West Shrine Bowl and Senior Bowl.
Here, we’ll highlight three standout players from these events who could bolster New York’s roster heading into the scouting combine.
There’s a strong likelihood that the Giants will pursue a new quarterback early in the first round, considering their current sixth overall pick and Daniel Jones’ inconsistent performance in 2023.
Irrespective of the quarterback situation, New York urgently needs to reinforce its offensive line, which allowed a staggering 85 sacks last season. While the possibility of replacing Evan Neal at right tackle looms, the immediate focus is on strengthening the guard position.
One intriguing prospect for the Giants is Christian Haynes from Connecticut, a formidable interior lineman who could potentially be acquired on Day 2 of the draft. Despite being ranked 103rd by the Bleacher Report Scouting Department in January, a standout performance at the Senior Bowl could elevate his draft stock.
Though not a top-tier athlete, Haynes, standing at 6’2″ and weighing 318 lbs, possesses the strength and intelligence to excel at the professional level, offering a significant upgrade to New York’s interior line depth.
Another pressing need for the Giants is at wide receiver, where the team lacked consistent production in 2023. Darius Slayton led the team with just 770 receiving yards, emphasizing the need for additional playmakers.
Should the Giants opt not to select a quarterback in the first round, they may target top receiver prospects like Marvin Harrison Jr. from Ohio State or Malik Nabers from LSU. However, it’s essential for New York to address this need comprehensively, considering multiple options.
Ladd McConkey from Georgia is a potential Day 2 target who could bring versatility to the Giants’ receiving corps. With the ability to play both inside and out, McConkey’s adept route-running and reliable hands were on display during Senior Bowl week, earning him recognition from defensive backs in attendance.
With Saquon Barkley set to become a free agent in March, the Giants must also contemplate replenishing their backfield for the upcoming season. While Blake Watson from Memphis may not possess Barkley’s size, he offers explosiveness and versatility, making him a valuable addition to a running back committee.
Watson’s impressive performance in the East-West Shrine Bowl, where he recorded 111 scrimmage yards, showcased his ability to make plays both on the ground and through the air. Named to the All-Shrine Bowl team by coaches, Watson’s potential impact extends beyond his likely late-round draft status.
Given the uncertainty surrounding Barkley’s future and backup running back Matt Breida’s impending free agency, the Giants would benefit from adding a dynamic player like Watson to their roster, regardless of Barkley’s status.