NFL Draft 2021: NY Giants’ mid-round wide receiver targets

Terrace Marshall Jr. #6 of the LSU Tigers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Terrace Marshall Jr. #6 of the LSU Tigers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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It’s not exactly a state secret that the NY Giants need help at the wide receiver position.

After all, the Giants finished 29th in the league in receiving yards, and had only eight touchdown receptions by their entire receiving corps.

If you take a quick glance around the NFL, you’ll see that there were 21 different pass catchers who caught eight or more touchdowns in 2020 by themselves.  You may also think back to the 2019 regular season, when NY Giants rookie fifth-round pick Darius Slayton, hauled in eight touchdowns by himself.

Simply put, the NY Giants have failed miserably at replacing the on-field abilities left behind from the Odell Beckham Jr trade.

There has been a glaring hole in production ever since Beckham’s departure- as evidenced by New York having yet to boast a receiver exceeding 751 yards in a season during his absence.

Since the trade, the Giants have only attempted to “replace” Beckham with a smattering of underwhelming transactions.

The NY Giants’ attempts at circumventing the damage left behind in the wake of the OBJ trade were to: sign the obsolescent, Golden Tate to a four-year/$37.5 million contract, select  Slayton in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL draft, and sign four UDFA wide-outs following the conclusion of the 2020 NFL draft.  Aside from a mid-season waiver claim for Dante Pettis in 2020, that is all the Giants have done to replace one of the NFL’s most prominent receivers.

Needless-to-say, wide receiver is their biggest positional need this offseason.

Luckily for the Giants, there are a variety of avenues in they can take to acquire pass-catching help during the 2021 offseason.

This year, there is an abundance of high-quality talent and depth at wide receiver, both in free agency as well as in the draft.

There is an array of players available in free agency who would immediately provide them with a substantial upgrade at the wide receiver position.  Big-bodied receivers such as Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay, and Allen Robinson are all game-changers who would instantaneously give Daniel Jones the legitimate number-one target that Giants fans have been clamoring for.

With the salary cap expected to be roughly $18 million less than it was in 2020, it would not be surprising to see the Giants address the receiver position in a minimal capacity, if at all, during free agency.

However, should the Giants decide to allocate their resources to the wide receiver position in free agency, someone like Corey Davis or Curtis Samuel could be the more likely candidates. They are both coming off stellar seasons for their respective teams and would undoubtedly provide an immediate boost to the Giants receiving corps.  Although it is entirely possible that they too price themselves out of the Giants striking range. Both Davis and Samuel have been linked to the Giants through various reports so far this offseason.

Sammy Watkins, Zach Pascal, DeMarcus Robinson, Rashard Higgins, Josh Reynolds, Damiere Byrd, Allen Lazard, and AJ Green, could be some other names to watch out for.  Offensive weapons with varying skill sets who should be available on cheaper, short-term deals.

The fact is, the Giants have been linked to a few different receivers this offseason- and they’ve all had varying skill sets and body types.

So, it would appear that the NY Giants are targeting multiple receivers who would complement one another’s abilities.  This would give the offense some long-awaited playmaking and versatility, as well as provide Daniel Jones with some much needed weapons on the outside.

Another approach they could try would be to adopt a similar strategy as to what they did with the offensive line last year.  While adding four receivers this offseason may or may not be in their plans, the blueprint is there for them to follow should they intend on acquiring at least two or three.   They could first sign a quality free agent on a cheap, short-term deal for depth and security purposes (Cam Flemming).  Then, they could use one of their higher draft assets to acquire a player who they feel could contribute right away- while then again doubling, or possibly tripling back for other players that they feel could be developed for the future (Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, Shane Lemieux).

Free agency aside, this also happens to be an outstanding draft year for the wide receiver position.  On paper, the ’21 class of receivers is said to be one of the deepest crops of pass-catchers to come out in years.  In fact, they are already considered to be a slight cut-above the highly touted 2020 class that preceded them- and have already drawn comparisons to the legendary class of 2014.

That is some pretty high praise.

But that is to be expected when a class puts seventeen receivers on the Big Board’s Top 100.  There are nine different wideouts who have received varying degrees of first round buzz- with fourteen expected to go within the first two rounds.  The early consensus is that a minimum of four will go in the first round, with three of them expected to go within the first 10-picks.

Wide receiver is possibly the most talent-rich position that the 2021 draft has to offer.  While heavy on the shifty, slot-types, there are plenty of talented options who profile on the outside as well. This wide receiver class provides dynamic talent across the entire pass-catching spectrum and is exemplary from top-to-bottom.

Let’s take a look at the Giants’ wide receiver options in the NFL Draft …