The New York Giants need pass-rushing help this offseason after their defense ranked 29th in the NFL with only 34 total sacks in the 2023 season. In the first round of the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft, the Giants are widely expected to address the offensive side of the ball, whether that be with a quarterback, playmaker, or offensive lineman.
However, there are some excellent pass-rushers who will be available for the taking with the No. 6 pick in the draft. In Chad Reuter of NFL.com’s latest three-round mock draft, he had them landing an “NFL-ready” edge rusher in the first round.
Giants take FSU EDGE Jared Verse in the 1st round of this mock draft
Reuter had the Giants taking FSU edge rusher Jared Verse with the No. 6 overall pick in his latest three-round mock draft. Verse was taken over prospects such as Notre Dame OT Joe Alt and LSU WR Malik Nabers.
With all three of the top quarterback prospects off the board in the first four picks of Reuter’s mock draft, the Giants would need to pivot and address a different position. A playmaker could have been the selection here, but Reuter gave his reasoning for the Giants taking the “NFL-ready” Florida State pass-rusher:
“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,” Reuter explained. “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).”
A dip in production out of Verse in his final collegiate season has not deterred draft evaluators. Verse is still considered a top defensive prospect in this class and ranks as the No. 2 edge defender on Pro Football Focus’ Big Board.
Adding Verse to the Giants’ defense would give them a solid one-two punch on the edge alongside Kayvon Thibodeaux. Azeez Ojulari has struggled to stay healthy through the first three seasons of his career and Thibodeaux has been forced to carry too much weight as New York’s only consistent pass-rusher on the edge. Verse could create a fierce duo on the edge that allows the Giants’ defense to apply more pressure to the quarterback.
Giants address a few more positions of need in the final 2 rounds of this mock draft
After taking Verse in the first round, Reuter had the Giants addressing the offense with their next selection in the second round, taking Texas RB Jonathon Brooks with the No. 39 overall pick in the draft. Brooks is considered to be one of the best running backs in this draft class and could fill a major need for the Giants if Saquon Barkley leaves in free agency this offseason.
Brooks is a 6-foot, 207-pound running back who totaled 1,139 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in 11 games for the Longhorns in 2023. However, Brooks’ season was cut short due to a torn ACL, which might give the Giants some pause on selecting him this early in the draft.
With the No. 47 overall pick, Reuter had Big Blue selecting Washington State S Jaden Hicks. A 6-foot-3, 212-pound safety, Hicks totaled 79 tackles 2.5 sacks, six tackles for loss, two interceptions, and four passes defended for the Cougars in 2023.
Rounding out his mock draft, Reuter had the Giants taking another playmaker in the third round with the No. 70 overall pick in the draft. He projected Michigan WR Roman Wilson to the Giants with the selection.
Wilson was a standout performer at the Senior Bowl this month, elevating his draft stock in the process. The 6-foot, 192-pound wideout recorded 48 receptions for 789 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Michigan Wolverines en route to a National Championship.
In all, the Giants managed to address four positions of need in Reuter’s three-round mock draft. However, this mock is likely not to be a fan favorite. Giants fans are hoping to see their team land either a top quarterback prospect or a top playmaker in the first round. Verse would be a solid selection to bolster Big Blue’s defense, but perhaps they would be better off adding a pass-rushing in Round 2 or Round 3.