Top prospects the Giants could target in a potential first-round trade down

Oct 21, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. (11) (New York Giants draft prospect) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Army Black Knights defensive back Cameron Jones (10) during the first quarter at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

The possibility of the New York Giants trading down from the No. 6 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft has strengthened. Their trade to acquire star pass-rusher Brian Burns upgraded the roster but left the Giants with little draft capital heading into April’s coveted event. As a result, they could trade down to acquire extra draft picks.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings are looking to trade up with their sights seemingly set on Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy. The Giants could hope McCarthy is on the board at No. 6 to take him themselves, or to leverage the ability to draft him into a trade-down with the Vikings to acquire their two first-round picks (picks No. 11 and 23).

Trading down can be an exciting proposition for teams. However, there is also the risk of passing up higher-quality prospects for a higher quantity of prospects. But if the Giants do decide to trade down, there are still some top-rated prospects that they could target.

Which wide receivers could the Giants target in a trade-down?

Foregoing the opportunity to draft one of this class’ top wide receiver prospects (like OSU’s Marvin Harrison Jr., LSU’s Malik Nabers, or Washington’s Rome Odunze) would be a difficult and risky decision. But there are other wideouts the Giants could target later in the first round if they do decide to trade down.

Two exciting prospects are coming out of Texas this year. Adonai Mitchell is one of them. Mitchell is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound wideout who ran a 4.34s 40 at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. He racked up 55 receptions for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2023 and had a drop rate of just 1.8%.

The other Texas wide receiver is none other than the NFL Scouting Combine’s 40-yard-dash record-holder, Xavier Worthy. His draft stock has skyrocketed after running the 40 at 4.21s in February. Worthy totaled 75 receptions for 1,014 yards and five touchdowns in 2023.

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LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. might be a top-10 draft pick in other years. But in this year’s class, he’s viewed as a mid-to-late-first-rounder — but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t a special prospect. Thomas Jr. is a 6-foot-3 wideout who ran a 4.33s 40-yard dash at this year’s combine. He was prolific in 2023, racking up 68 receptions for 1,177 yards and 17 touchdowns.

These wideouts are all projected to go at the end of the first round. Other prospects who could be selected in a similar range include Georgia’s Ladd McConkey and Oregon’s Troy Franklin. The point is, if the Giants would prefer to trade down to accumulate draft capital, but still want to land a special wide receiver prospect, they will have an opportunity to do so later in the first round — or maybe even the second.

Defensive prospects the Giants could target in a trade-down

Offense will likely be the focus in the first round of this year’s draft for Big Blue. However, if they manage to trade down and acquire an extra first-round pick (or if the value of a defensive player on the board is high), they could address the other side of the ball.

Alabama CB Terrion Arnold would instantly plugin as the Giants’ second starting cornerback opposite Deonte Banks. The 5-11 corner totaled 63 combined tackles and 6.5 tackles with 12 pass defenses and five interceptions in 2023. He would immediately upgrade the Giants’ secondary.

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In 2019, the Giants held two first-round picks and the latter of the pair wound up turning into All-Pro DT Dexter Lawrence. They could target another interior defender to pair with Lawrence in the later first round of this year’s draft. Illinois DT Jer’Zhan Newton racked up 52 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks last season. He would help the Giants’ case for the title of Best Defensive Front in Football.

Clemson CB Nate Wiggins is an athletic and physical 6-foot-1 cornerback who ran a 4.28s 40 at the Combine. He totaled 29 tackles and six pass defenses with one interception in 2023. Wiggins would fill the Giants’ need at CB2 immediately.

Why trading down is an option for the Giants

The Giants could aim to target one defender plus one offensive player, or double dip on either side of the ball in a potential trade-down that nets them two first-round picks. Or they could trade down in the first round to land a future first-round pick, as they did back in 2021.

This Giants time has a lot of needs coming off a 6-11 season. Their rebuild has only just begun and is looking to be a long-term process. Stockpiling picks and adding loads of young talent will help the Giants in their journey to becoming a good football team once again. Trading down would be one of the top ways to add that young talent and build toward the future.

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