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Giants take electric receiver Malik Nabers with No. 6 pick of 2024 NFL Draft



Before the pick was made public, before it was announced on television, Joe Schoen shot Daniel Jones a text, the general manager alerting the quarterback Thursday night that the Giants were about to select wide receiver Malik Nabers with the No. 6 pick in the NFL draft.

“He’s fired up about it,’’ Schoen said.

No kidding.

The Giants selected Malik Nabers with the No. 6 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. AP

How could he not be?

This turn of events had to be music to Jones’ ears.

After so much speculation about the Giants being hot and heavy to land a quarterback in the first round — a player who would eventually replace Jones — what the team did, instead, was to gift-wrap a dynamic target who figures to make life better for any quarterback.

That Jones will get to throw to Nabers should enhance Jones’ chances to live up to the four-year, $160 million contract Schoen handed over one year ago.

That J.J McCarthy was on the board when the Giants were on the clock had to be even sweeter for Jones.

The Michigan quarterback was right there for the taking, but the Giants did not take him.

“Malik was our guy,’’ Schoen said when asked directly why McCarthy was not the pick. “He’s the guy we targeted. With the other players on the board, we took Malik Nabers.’’

Malik Nabers celebrates with Giants fans at 2024 NFL Draft. Getty Images

The Vikings traded up from No. 11 to No. 10 to get McCarthy.

This is not to say the Giants, who certainly had interest in quarterback Drake Maye, did not aggressively explore avenues to get up to No. 3, where the Patriots were accepting trade offers to move down.

The asking price was expected to be exorbitant and the Giants were not about to mortgage this draft and the 2025 draft.

The Pats stood pat and took Maye themselves.

See every first-round pick made during the 2024 NFL Draft, along with news, trades, analysis and more.

If things go right with this selection, Nabers could have an early impact the way another LSU product, Odell Beckham Jr., did for the Giants a decade ago.

“I’m not going to compare him to anybody,’’ coach Brian Daboll said. “I think he’s a fantastic player, a lot of good attributes, starting with his personality, his demeanor, his competitive stamina and toughness. He’s a dog on the field. I’m excited to work with him.’’

Nabers said he does not have a relationship with Beckam.

“I’m not trying to come in and replace Odell, I’m just trying to lead into my own legacy,’’ he said.

Malik Nabers with commissioner Roger Goodell. Getty Images

Nabers possesses great speed (4.35 in the 40-yard dash) and an uncanny ability to separate from defenders.

He is strong enough and skilled enough to line up inside or outside and should quickly adapt to the NFL based on his ability to run every route.

In three years with the Tigers, Nabers had a school- record 189 receptions for 3,003 yards and 21 touchdowns.

He elevated himself into star status in 2023, catching 89 passes for 1,569 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 17.6 yards per reception, helping Jayden Daniels put together a Heisman Trophy-winning season.

The Giants picked Malik Nabers with No. 6 pick of 2024 NFL Draft. Brett Farmer/Shutterstock

The Giants finished 30th in the NFL in scoring in 2023 at 15.6 points a game. Jones played in only six games before going down with a torn right ACL.

Jones, following reconstructive knee surgery, is on schedule to be able to participate in training camp this summer and, unless he experiences a setback, is expected to be the opening-day starting quarterback.

“I’m ready to get in, work with him, learn what kind of quarterback he is and catch footballs from him,’’ Nabers said.

So, what can Nabers do for Jones?

Daniel Jones will have a true No. 1 receiver to throw to in Malik Nabers. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“I’m able to play different positions, create separation, open up a great window for the quarterback to throw me the ball, great teammate, great leader, just an all-around great football player, dog mentality when I am out there on the field,’’ Nabers said.

Both Schoen and Daboll said prior to the draft that finding a true No. 1 receiver was a priority.

With Nabers added to a room that already has Wan’Dale Robinson, Jalin Hyatt and Darius Slayton, there is a legitimate chance the passing game will see a significant uptick.

Rome Odunze was also on the board for the Giants but they had Nabers graded higher than the Washington wideout.

“At the end of the day, Malik’s toughness, separation, speed, not that Rome doesn’t have those things, Rome’s a very good player, too,’’ Schoen said. “When it came down to it, what we were looking for, Malik checked a lot of those boxes.’’

Schoen said he had an offer to trade back in the first round but he was not willing to miss out on Nabers.

The Giants were sweating out the Chargers’ pick at No. 5, fearing they might take Nabers. When they went with offensive tackle Joe Alt, “we were fired up,’’ Schoen said.

With all the top prospects gone in the first round, it looks as if the Giants will not add a quarterback of any significance in this draft.

“I’m comfortable where we are,’’ Schoen said.

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