The New York Giants pulled the trigger on a blue-chip offensive tackle prospect with the No. 4 overall selection in last year’s NFL Draft. Yes, Andrew Thomas’ on-field production was up-and-down as a rookie, but the outlook from within the organization remains sky-high on the 22-year-old.
With that said, when you have the opportunity to potentially snag what ex-NFL head coach John Mora (and so many others) dubbed a “generational talent,” you don’t concern yourself with the drawbacks of double-dipping at the same position two years in a row — especially when protecting Daniel Jones is the No. 1 priority in East Rutherford.
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Giants are ‘Sneaky Contenders’ for Penei Sewell
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano have reported that the Giants are a “sneaky contender” to land Oregon’s Penei Sewell come Thursday night’s first round, adding the team has done a “ton of legwork” on Sewell, including last-minute virtual calls.
It is rumored that Sewell’s “floor” come draft night is the No. 8 overall pick — which is currently held by the Carolina Panthers. The belief around the league is that Carolina does indeed like Sewell, but would ultimately prefer to move back instead of staying put at No. 8.
“If Oregon tackle Penei Sewell is there, they [the Panthers] also really like him so they could either take him or trade him back with some other teams that have done a lot of research on him like the Giants at 11 or the Chargers at 13,” Fowler said on SportsCenter.
Sewell is widely regarded as the top offensive tackle prospect in the 2021 class — although Rashawn Slater may have something to say about that. A former Unanimous All-American selection and Outland Trophy recipient, Sewell would be a plug-and-play option for the Giants at left tackle. This selection would most likely mean that Andrew Thomas would flip over to the right side, a spot many perceive better suited for his skillset.
Big Blue already has a handful of tackle options on the roster, as second-year pro Matt Peart is expected to battle for a starting job, while Nate Solder is set to return after opting out of last year. Still, that shouldn’t stop New York from targeting Sewell, as you can never have too much protection up front. This especially reigns true for a team that’s been so mediocre at providing it over recent years.
Defense & Running Back High on Giants’ Priorities
If the Giants don’t move up for Sewell and stay put at No. 11, there will be a few different directions the team could go with the pick. Wideouts such as DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, and cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn are all intriguing options. Yet, when push comes to shove, addressing their lacking pass rush may supersede these other possibilities, per ESPN:
They’ll most likely be looking at cornerback, possibly receiver if one of the top guys falls that far or possibly one of the OTs if one of the top two falls that far. But we’re told that Giants coaches and executives, in their draft meetings, have brought up the organization’s history with pass-rushers multiple times and know the owners love to lean that way in the first round. Don’t be shocked if the first pass-rusher off the board (likely Kwity Paye) goes at No. 11 to Big Blue.