The draft was held in Las Vegas on the strip in the area adjacent to Caesars Forum two years after it was initially scheduled. The 2020 NFL draft was turned into a virtual event because of COVID-19.
Here's a pick-by-pick look at how each player New York selected will fit.
Round 1, No. 5 overall: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
My take: Whoa! Didn't expect that at pick No. 5. But the way the draft unfolded, it made sense for the Giants to grab an edge rusher with the top three offensive tackles still on the board. Thibodeaux is a big personality, but the Giants and most teams I spoke with weren't concerned about his motivation. In fact, general manager Joe Schoen mentioned the Giants were especially impressed with Thibodeaux coming back from a pretty serious ankle injury late in the season. That proved something to the Giants, who did extensive research on the polarizing prospect and even had a FaceTime conversation with him this week.
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Finally a pass rush: Thibodeaux and his first step opposite Azeez Ojulari finally gives the Giants a serious pair of edge rushers to threaten opposing quarterbacks. Ojulari had eight sacks as a rookie after being selected in the second round last year. Thibodeaux was one of the most productive pass-rushers in FBS last season when he was on the field. He averaged 4.2 pressures per game, seventh among all college players. It has been a while since the Giants had a pair of young and dangerous pass-rushers. You can go back to their Super Bowl teams more than a decade ago. They might finally have one again with Thibodeaux and Ojulari.
The Strahan connection: Thibodeaux mentioned his connection to Giants legend Michael Strahan. He views Strahan as "one of my mentors" and noted they've been in constant contact throughout this process. This provides Thibodeaux a sounding board who knows and understands what he's going through. It should help with the two now in proximity. Strahan might even pop in to the building more with Thibodaux there to watch. He was at Giants minicamp last week. Now if only Thibodeaux can have a career even close to Strahan, who had 141.5 career sacks and is in the Hall of Fame.
Round 1, No. 7 overall: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
My take: This was a home run. The Giants got the player many consider the draft's the top-rated tackle with their second first-round pick. It was all made possible by the way the first four picks played out, with none of the three top tackles selected. Neal has played right tackle before, is strong as a run-blocker and pass-blocker, and has the quick feet to thrive in coach Brian Daboll's offense. There really is nothing not to like about this pick.
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Sorting the top tackles: Schoen all but admitted it was between Neal and Ikem Ekwonu as the Giants' top-rated tackle. They were "side by side" in their rankings, he said. Mississippi State's Charles Cross was behind them. So the Giants allowed Carolina to grab the first tackle -- the Panthers went with Ekwonu at No. 6 -- and New York was more than content grabbing Neal. He was ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.'s fifth-ranked player overall, and the Giants got him at No. 7. Good value. Filled a massive need. Check, check.
Neal's long-term health: The Giants' doctors didn't have a problem with what some teams, according to Schoen, viewed as a red flag regarding Neal's health -- specifically a hip and/or knee problem. It was something Schoen and Daboll said wasn't a concern for them. "His play history backs that up," Schoen said of Neal's clean bill of health from the Giants. He missed only one game at Alabama, and that was because of COVID-19. Neal said the talk about his health was sort of frustrating, even if it didn't affect his draft status. But Schoen did say teams share medical information and 8% of the teams viewed it as a potential long-term problem.
Round 2, No. 43 overall: Wan'Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky
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My take: The Giants traded back -- twice! -- adding a fourth-round pick (No. 114) and a fifth-rounder (No. 146) from the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets, respectively. Adding the undersized receiver is a curious pick considering Robinson (5-foot-8, 178) is considered a slot receiver and the Giants still have Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney on the roster. Robinson, however, does seem to be a fit in Daboll's offense. Get the ball in his hands and let him work. Robinson had a school-record 104 receptions this past season and averaged 15.9 yards per rush.
Round 3, No. 67 overall: Joshua Ezeudu, OG, North Carolina
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My take: Schoen and the Giants continue to pound the offensive line. Clearly this is a priority for the new regime. Ezeudu has the quickness and speed that fits what the Giants are looking for in their offensive linemen. He projects as a left guard, which gives him a chance to win a starting spot this summer. The Giants should have quite the competition between Ezeudu, Shane Lemieux and Max Garcia, among others, for that position.
Round 3, No. 81 overall: Cor'Dale Flott
My take: The Giants needed to add some players to the secondary in the worst way in this draft. They are short at both cornerback and safety. Flott gives them another versatile piece in coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale's defense. The LSU product isn't especially big (6-1, 175) and appears to fit primarily in the slot. But he is physical and tackles well for his size. That was likely attractive to the Giants. He joins last year's third-round pick Aaron Robinson and the previous year's fourth-round pick Darnay Holmes as potential slot options. Throw enough bodies at it and they might get it right.
Round 4, No. 112 overall: Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State
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My take: A much-needed tight end in the sweet spot of the draft for the position. It always seemed likely that the Giants would address tight end in the middle rounds (3-5). Bellinger is an interesting prospect who some say was underutilized at San Diego State. He didn't have great production, with 31 catches for 357 yards and two touchdowns as a senior. But he did run better than expected and there is hope that with more opportunities he can develop into a more consistent pass-catcher at the professional level.
Round 4, No. 114 overall: Dane Belton, S, Iowa
My take: Belton is a versatile piece who can move around the field, the kind Martindale seems to favor. Belton played as the star/slot defender in Iowa’s system and even started a game at outside linebacker. He was an All-Big Ten performer who had five interceptions last season. He also ran better than expected when he clocked 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine. And, again, it's a position of need for the Giants.
Round 5, pick No. 146 overall: Micah McFadden, ILB, Indiana
My take: Adding an inside linebacker was always a possibility in this draft. McFadden is considered an instinctive player who tackles well. He also has shown awareness in underneath zone coverage. McFadden had four interceptions and eight passes defended at Indiana. Whether he develops into a starter is debatable, but he can provide an immediate special teams contribution.
Round 5, pick No. 147 overall: D.J. Davidson, DT, Arizona State
My take: The Giants have allowed Dalvin Tomlinson and Austin Johnson to walk in consecutive years. So they needed to add to their interior defensive line group. Right now, veteran offseason signing Justin Ellis would likely be the starter at nose tackle. But now they will throw Davidson into the mix. He’s 6-3, 327 pounds and plays with enough power to hold his ground. Davidson could easily play himself into the defensive line rotation this season.
Round 5, pick No. 173 overall: Marcus McKethan, G, North Carolina
My take: Add another offensive lineman to the mix. At this point, it’s strength by numbers. McKethan is the third offensive lineman taken in this draft. McKethan is a 6-7, 340-pound guard who plays with power. Along with the draftees, the Giants have added tackles Matt Gono and Roy Mbaeteka, guards Mark Glowinski, Jamil Douglas and Max Garcia, and center Jon Feliciano as free agents. That is a lot of bodies in an attempt to fix the offensive line.
Round 6, No. 182 overall: Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati
My take: The final piece to a rather large 11-player draft class. Beavers had 12.0 tackles for a loss and 5.0 sacks this past season. He also had two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Basically, a defensive playmaker in the middle of the defense. The scouting report on Beavers is that he is more effective as a pass-rusher than in coverage. This skill is another weapon that can be used by Martindale, who loves to blitz his linebackers.