While they are still very likely to get a good player at that spot, barring a surprising drop or something like a quarterback being selected with each of the first three picks (if both the Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions trade back), Ohio State EDGE Chase Young won’t be available to them.
Note: Young has yet to declare for the 2020 NFL draft, and has until January 20 to make his decision, but considering he is a virtual lock to be the second or third player selected, it would be a stunning development for him to return to school.
After two seasons in which the Giants have struggled to generate sacks and get stops at crucial times, the Giants could certainly use a pass rusher of Young’s caliber.
Unfortunately, the 2020 EDGE class does not look to be as deeply talented as the 2019 class, and there is a gulf between Young and whoever will be the second player off the board. But that doesn’t mean the Giants can’t find help for their struggling (and at times nonexistent) pass rush.
There should still be good pass rushers who can help increase their speed on defense and create disruption in opposing backfields available after the first round. Or perhaps later in the first round in the event of a trade down from fourth overall.
K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU)
K’Lavon Chaisson hasn’t been particularly productive for LSU, notching a career-high 4.5 sacks during the 2019 regular season (he picked up two more in the bowl game against Oklahoma). But like former LSU EDGE and the youngest player to ever get 50 sacks in the NFL, Danielle Hunter, Chaisson’s athletic upside is through the roof. Chaisson has come on over his last three games, notching 4.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for a loss. He is lightning off the snap with the fluidity to give blockers fits and the strength to over-power tackles if they over-commit to defending his speed.
He also has the ability to play in space as a true outside linebacker, which gives him added value and versatility. Like Hunter, he should blossom in the NFL as an EDGE technique continues to improve and allows him to fully unlock his athletic upside.
He does have an injury red flag as he suffered a torn ACL in September of 2018, so medicals will be important.
Julian Okwara (Notre Dame)
Julian is not like elder brother Romeo. Where the elder Okwara is a big, thick, and linear EDGE, Julian is leaner and has the lower-body flexibility and fluidity to truly bend the corner instead of having to run through blockers.
Julian Okwara has the frame (6-foot-4, 245 pounds) to play either defensive end or outside linebacker, enough strength to hold up to offensive tackles and the athleticism to play in space when asked. That versatility will help him appeal to a wide variety of coaches and schemes.
Terrell Lewis (Alabama)
Most of the players on this list are speed rushers, but Lewis is an explosive athlete who is able to win with power. Lewis features a good first step which he transitions into a long-arm move that can put blockers back on their heels. That ability to transfer speed into power allows him to be disruptive in both the running game and passing game.
Darrell Taylor (Tennessee)
Taylor hasn’t gotten much national attention — playing at Tennessee will do that — but he has intriguing traits as a pass rusher. He has only average length and size for an EDGE at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, and might need to develop more of a power component to his game. But where he wins is with a very good first step and a fluid flexibility to bend the edge and play with leverage. He also has some ability to play in space and was even played over slot receivers and asked to cover the hook/curl in zone blitzes.
Alton Robinson (Syracuse)
Alton Robinson might be one of the best speed rushers in the 2020 draft, but despite having all the athletic tools scouts want to see and a productive three years at Syracuse, he could still fall in the draft. He was heavily recruited out of high school and was offered a scholarship to Texas A&M, but lost his scholarship after being charged with a second-degree felony (the charges were later dismissed).
Robinson is a long and athletic EDGE with the ability to play from both a two and three-point stance, and is at his best attacking gaps rather than playing off of blocks.
Robinson is a prospect on whom the Giants will have to do their homework, but if he checks out he has the tools to be a potential steal on the second day of the draft.