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Why did the Giants draft LSU WR Malik Nabers?



The New York Giants had options with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Quarterback J.J. McCarthy, connected to the Giants for months, was available. So, too, was quarterback Michael Penix Jr. Wide receivers Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze were there. Opportunities to trade down existed.

The Giants bypassed selecting a quarterback to succeed Daniel Jones. They bypassed Odunze. They said no to trade offers. They chose Nabers, who they hope will be the best wide receiver the Giants have had since Odell Beckham Jr.

They chose, in the end, to try and help quarterback Daniel Jones rather than draft McCarthy or Penix to push him out the door.

As you might expect, Schoen said Nabers was a clear choice over McCarthy.

“Malik was our guy. He was the guy we targeted. And we took him,” Schoen said. “There were other players on the board and we took him.”

Schoen said Jones, predictably, was happy to get the news about the selection of Nabers.

“He’s [Jones] fired up,” Schoen said. “I texted him Malik’s number. That’s one of the first things I did. And he’s fired up about it. He knew before it was announced on ESPN and NFL Network.”

Why Nabers over Odunze?

“At the end of the day we just thought Malik’s toughness, separation, speed — not that Rome doesn’t have all those things; Rome is a very good player, too — just when it came down to it, what we were looking for, Malik checked a lot of those boxes — his person, his toughness, competes, his production, the versatility,” GM Joe Schoen said Thursday night.

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Schoen admitted there were discussions about moving back.

“I think I said last week we were going to have conversations in front of us. We actually had conversations behind us. There was an opportunity for us to move out of the pick,” he said. “So we had conversations. We had different plans in place. And we’re excited to have Malik Nabers here, so we’re real happy with the way it worked out.”

Scouting reports tend focus on Nabers’ explosiveness. The Giants seemed more focused on his toughness.

“I think at that position, the toughness. Some of the competitiveness, some of the best ones I’ve been around, they have that,” Schoen said. “It’s going to be 20-some receivers taken between today and tomorrow and Saturday. What separates all the guys that are six-foot that are 200 pounds and run a 4.45, there’s a bunch of them out there. To me it always goes back to grit, toughness, tenacity. You can’t coach that. You can’t teach that. I think this kid best illustrates it.”

Head coach Brian Daboll wouldn’t bite on a Beckham comparison, but did say Nabers had “some dog in him.”

“I’m not going to compare him to anybody,” Daboll said. “I think he’s a fantastic player. He’s got a lot of good attributes. Starting with his personality and demeanor, his competitive stamina. He’s got some dog to him.

“I love his personality. He’s a very, very competitive young man.”

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