The New York Giants just put a bow on their 2023 NFL draft class.
What better time to start thinking about 2024?
Big Blue owns all seven of its picks next year, an impressive feat given how general manager Joe Schoen moved up aggressively this year for prospects like first-round cornerback Deonte Banks and third-round receiver Jalin Hyatt.
Schoen can be aggressive again next offseason. He’s armed with a projected $78.7 in 2024 cap space, according to Spotrac. But the roster-builder in Schoen has previously said he wants the draft to form his roster’s foundation.
Here’s how Schoen his staff can leverage the 2024 NFL draft in Detroit, Mich. to continue building the franchise for a fifth Lombardi Trophy:
Round 1: Aaron Lewis, DE, Rutgers
Big Blue starts its 2024 class off with a local pick from Rutgers, a 45-minute drive from East Rutherford.
Lewis is much more than a friendly neighborhood pass rusher, though. The Michigan transfer is a bonafide star that Asbury Park Press Rutgers beat reporter Chris Iseman calls “one of the most impactful defensive ends in the Big Ten.
That kind of pick up would give Kayvon Thibodeaux a pass rushing mate for years to come. The Giants (and many other teams) likely have Lewis on their first-round radars already, according to this scouting report by SI.com’s Jack Borowsky:
“Lewis had a breakout campaign that saw him record 40 pressures in 2022 and he has the talent to lead the nation in pressures and sacks next season. Lewis could be the first top 32 selection from Rutgers since Anthony Davis and Devin McCourty in 2010.”
Round 2: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
General manager Joe Schoen said his 2023 draft board was “depleted” by the teams in Round 1 who picked ahead of New York.
Those teams — the Seahawks, Chargers, Ravens, and Vikings — all took receivers. But one year later, Schoen can land a pass-catcher of his own to be a “key piece” of the offense, according to this scouting report from The Draft Network’s Ryan Fowler:
“Working in tandem with transfer quarterback Michael Penix Jr., Odunze was a constant figure within the high-flying Huskies aerial attack. For an offense that led the conference in scoring (39.7) and ranked in the top 10 nationally as well, Odunze’s ability to evolve into Penix’s top target spotlighted one of college football’s smoothest playmakers.”
Round 3: Xavier Truss, OG, Georgia
The rival Eagles can’t hog all the Georgia prospects right?
New York plants a flag in Athens with Truss, a mauling FF-II guard who’d slip next to 2023 second-round center John Michael Schmitz.
Truss would add yet another foundational building block up front for quarterback Daniel Jones, according to this scouting report from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler:
“After three years as a backup, Xavier Truss has filled the shoes of Justin Shaffer this season as the Bulldogs’ starting left guard. There have been a few bumps in the road (like several negative reps on the Missouri and Ohio State tapes), but there’s been more good than bad. Assuming he returns to school for his senior season, Truss can make himself into a draftable prospect.”
Round 4: Nick Jackson, LB, Iowa
New York showed serious interest in Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell as a first-round pick this year.
Here, they snag the Hawkeye who could replace him this season in Jackson.
The move would reunite Jackson with fellow Hawkeye Dane Belton up the middle of Big Blue’s defense. Jackson, a transfer from Virginia, has the skills to fit nicely next to 2023 free-agent addition Bobby Okereke, according to this scouting report from Hawkeye Insider’s Sean Bock:
“Jackson is extremely productive because of his ability to close on the ball carrier. He brings blitz value with his timing and anticipation. He can see things develop quickly and diagnose and is an intuitive player. We love the tenacity and passion he plays with. Plays the run and pass equally as good, which is very important in today’s game. Jackson is about as good as it gets when it comes to replacing Campbell.”
Round 5: Kenny Logan Jr., DB, Kansas
Logan Jr. had a chance to make his NFL leap after leading the Jayhawks to their first bowl game since 2008.
He opted to stay in Lawrence another year. That’s the kind of leadership the Giants might miss back at safety after this offseason’s departure of team captain Julian Love.
Big Blue could use Logan Jr.’s skills too. He’s notched five collegiate interceptions, showcasing a nose for the ball New York didn’t have this year as it tallied a league-low six picks.
Round 6: Sam Hartman, QB, Notre Dame
Hartman isn’t tapped here to challenge for Jones’ starting gig.
As a sixth-round pick, Big Blue would want the Wake-Forest-turned-Notre-Dame passer to develop and learn behind Jones as his understudy.
That role could be open if current QB2 Tyrod Taylor departs in 2024 free agency. And if something happens to Jones, Hartman could be there for Big Blue with day three draft pick, according to ESPN’s college insider Pete Thamel.
Here’s what anonymous NFL scouts told Thamel about Hartman’s current draft stock:
“NFL scouts project Hartman as a third-day draft pick — likely the sixth or seventh round — so the thought is that he can improve his stock with another year in college. ESPN reached out to three NFL scouts about Hartman, and none of them believed Hartman would get picked before the sixth round, if at all.”
Round 7: Jalen Shirden, RB, Monmouth
The Giants close out next year’s draft haul another local product.
Saquon Barkley’s future with the team is still up in the air. Shirden could team up with 2023 fifth-round pick Eric Gray and reserves like Gary Brightwell if Barkley ultimately goes elsewhere.
Monmouth isn’t exactly known as Running Back U. But Shirden could claim the FBS all-time rushing record this fall and draws comparisons to legendary NFL backs like Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, and Tony Dorsett, according to FloFootball’s Kyle Kensing.