The NFL Scouting Combine is underway in Indianapolis as the most highly touted college players look to show off their skills to NFL scouts. The New York Giants have the 10th overall pick in the 2016 draft, and they will be looking to add an immediate impact player to the roster.
The Giants have a plethora of needs on the defensive side of the ball, and they will almost certainly look to use their first round pick on a defensive player.
Here are 5 players that could be a good fit for the Giants in the first round:
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Lawson measures in at 6’3, 270 lbs and is built like a tank. He was a force on defense for the Tigers last year, helping his team to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the national championship game. Lawson had a breakout season in 2015, recording 25.5 tackles for loss to go along with 12.5 sacks. He was named a consensus All-American and received first-team All-ACC honors as well. Lawson is a versatile talent who can play defensive end as well as outside linebacker, and looks to be a good fit in Steve Spagnuolo’s system.
Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky
The Giants most glaring need is a pass rusher, and they could certainly look to Spence in the first round. Spence is 6’2, 254 lbs and is undeniably one of the most talented defensive players in the draft. Last season, he recorded 22.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. However, Spence has had his issues off the field and was dismissed from Ohio State after multiple failed drug tests. The Giants usually shy away from guys with character issues, but Spence could prove to be a game-changer if his off-field issues are in the past.
DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
Buckner checks in at a very intimidating 6’7, 281 lbs. He is arguably the second best pass rusher in the draft, behind OSU’s Joey Bosa. The 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year had a sensational season, recording 83 tackles (17 for loss), and added 10.5 sacks. The Giants would likely select Buckner before both Spence and Lawson, but it would be surprising to see him fall all the way to the Giants at 10.
Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Smith is another player who could prove to be a high-risk, high-reward option for the Giants. At 6’3, 237 lbs, Scout had him ranked as the top OLB coming out of high school. Smith had a phenomenal career at Notre Dame that was cut short after tearing his ACL and LCL in the Fiesta Bowl. He received the Butkus award in 2015, which is given out to the nation’s top linebacker after recording a whopping 115 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries. If it weren’t for his injury, Smith would be a consensus top five pick, and the Giants could be getting a steal here if his knee is fully recovered.
Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
Ragland could have declared for the draft last year, but decided to stick around and get his degree while also winning a national title. At 6’1, 260 lbs, Ragland had a stellar senior season, registering 97 tackles, and breaking up 6 passes while going on to win SEC defensive player of the year. Ragland figures to be more of a run stopper than a pass rusher, but he is supremely talented and could be a centerpiece of this Giants defense for years to come.