Giants could solve CB2 problem with Rutgers elite athlete on Day 2 of the Draft

Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Max Melton  (New York Giants prospect)
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have yet to address their need at cornerback this offseason despite having a void to fill opposite Deonte Banks. While the roster has contenders for the starting job already, the Giants still need to add talent to the position, and could do so in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

While it’s unlikely the Giants will take a cornerback in the first round for the second year in a row, they could draft one on Day 2 of the draft. One name that has stood out in the pre-draft process as a potential target for the Giants is Rutgers cornerback Max Melton. The local-made product is an elite athlete who could solve the G-Men’s problem at CB2.

Max Melton is an elite athlete

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Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Melton is entering the NFL with elite athleticism. At the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, Melton earned a 9.65 relative athletic score (RAS) which ranked 79 out of 2,222 cornerbacks from 1987 to 2024. He ran a 4.39s 40-yard dash and posted an 11-foot-4-inch broad jump, both of which ranked near the top of all cornerbacks at the event.

Standing in at 5-foot-11, 187 pounds, Melton is an aggressive cornerback who plays with physicality and sticks to speedy wide receivers. He could be an immediate starter at the next level.

Pro Football Focus gave Melton this cornerback class’s “Best Athlete” superlative:

“We’re analyzing the cornerback position, so you know this was a tough decision,” PFF’s Trevor Sikkema wrote. “A prerequisite for playing the position is having superior athleticism, and while Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell could have been a good choice here (and for many others, as we’ll discuss), a less-talked-about cornerback in this class is more deserving: Rutgers‘ Max Melton.

“At 5-foot-11 and 187 pounds, Melton ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, jumped 40 1/2 inches in the vertical and jumped over 11 feet in the broad. That is some serious explosive athleticism. His quickness was also evident on tape and at the Senior Bowl, especially when he was asked to cover in the slot in red-zone drills. Melton’s athleticism gives him inside-out versatility as a slot or wide cornerback.”

Melton could fill the Giants’ hole at CB2

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Opposite Banks is no clear-cut starter at New York’s No. 2 cornerback position. Players like Tre Hawkins III and Nick McCloud will compete for the starting gig, but Big Blue would be wise to add depth to the position and attempt to hit on talent in this year’s draft.

Melton appears pro-ready after facing off against Ohio State University WR Marvin Harrison Jr. and holding his own during his collegiate career. Melton gave Harrison Jr. a run for his money in their matchup, proving he is capable of going toe-to-toe with some of the best wide receivers in the sport.

In 2023, Melton totaled 32 tackles and four tackles for loss to go along with three interceptions and six pass defenses. His ability to make plays both in coverage and against the run will make him a perfect match for the Giants’ physical defense.

Where could the Giants target Melton in the draft?

Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen speaks during a press conference during the NFL Scouting Combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Melton is viewed as a day-two draft selection who could go as early as the second round or as late as the third round. The Giants hold the No. 47 overall pick in the second round and the No. 70 overall pick in the third round. If they want to address their secondary in round two, they should not hesitate to take Melton early to avoid him being selected by another team. But if he begins to slip into the third round, he will become a priority target for the G-Men.

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