Giants: 1st-round trade-down scenario could land them a top pass-rusher

Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (Giants)
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants spent a first-round pick on their defensive line in 2022, taking star edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux. Despite his presence in the lineup, the Giants still need more pass-rushing talent. They could once again spend a first-round pick on the position this offseason, however, that would be more likely to happen in a trade-down scenario.

The Giants need more pass-rushing production off the edge

Despite totaling a career-high 11.5 sacks this past season, Thibodeaux still needs to develop and play with more consistency in 2024. He had a 7.6% pass-rush win rate on rushes this season that were exactly four-man rushes — no blitzes, and no drop-eight coverages — ranking 90th among all edge rushers in the NFL.

His running mate, Azeez Ojulari, was even worse. His 7.4% pass-rush win rate in the same category ranked 92nd. Upgrading the pass-rushing talent opposite Thibodeaux will be a focal point as Ojulari’s injuries have piled up and made him a player with a lack of dependability.

Giants could trade down and draft a top pass rusher in 2024

To bolster this defensive front, Big Blue could plan to take one of the draft class’s top pass-rushing prospects. Taking one with the No. 6 overall pick would likely be considered a reach, but a potential trade-down scenario could be an intriguing strategy.

Trading down would allow the Giants to maintain a first-round pick while also adding plenty of additional draft capital. That first-round pick could then be invested in a new pass-rusher while the extra draft capital could be used to address the many other needs on the Giants’ roster (like wide receiver and offensive line).

The top edge rushers in the draft class this year include the likes of Alabama’s Dallas Turner (No. 14 on Pro Football Focus’ Big Board), FSU’s Jared Verse (No. 15), and UCLA’s Laiatu Latu (No. 18). Taking any one of these three players with the No. 6 pick would be a reach, but moving down to the middle of the round would make selecting an edge rusher a high-value choice.

However, the Giants must also consider the potential pitfalls of a trade-down. The last time they traded down in the first round was back in 2021 when they passed on now-All-Pro Cowboys EDGE Micah Parsons to take WR Kadarius Toney at the back of the round — a decision they definitely regret. Sometimes, it’s best to take the best player available.

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