Giants Connected to Versatile ‘Rutgers Star’ at Position of Need

Giants predicted to draft Rutgers CB Max Melton after pro day visit.

Getty Rutgers cornerback Max Melton was mocked to the New York Giants after a recent visit.

With most of the offseason focus on the offense, it’s easy to overlook the New York Giants’ defensive needs heading into the NFL draft.

One such need is at cornerback, and after striking out on a couple of veterans at the position, it’s possible Big Blue chooses to address this potential starting CB role opposite Deonte Banks with another rookie.

On April 3, ESPN NFL insider Field Yates predicted that the Giants would spend their remaining second-round selection on Rutgers cornerback Max Melton — who is a New Jersey native.

Melton recently visited the Giants organization on March 30 according to insider Art Stapleton, so it’s not the first time that NYG has been connected to the former Scarlet Knights defender during the pre-draft process.

“Rutgers star cornerback Max Melton will visit [the] NY Giants on Thursday during their local Pro Day, per sources,” Stapleton reported at the time. Adding: “He’s been outstanding in the walk-up to the draft at Senior Bowl, Combine and last week’s Pro Day at RU.”

After the prediction, Yates complimented the four-year starter for having an “excellent trigger back to the football and great ball skills” — including three interceptions in 2023.

Stapleton seemed to agree, calling Melton a “Day 2 lock” at this point in the process. The media member also relayed that the Giants “have been on him” for quite some time.

Max Melton Described as ‘Versatile’ Cornerback With Plus Instincts & Ball Skills

With newcomer Jack-of-all-trades Jalen Mills, cornerback turned safety Jason Pinnock and inside/outside CB Cor’Dale Flott, the Giants already have a decent amount of versatility in their secondary. Melton would add more.

“Versatile inside/outside cornerback who displayed improvement every year at Rutgers,” NFL Network expert Lance Zierlein scouted ahead of the draft.

Continuing: “Melton carries good size and did a nice job staying with some of the better receiving options from the Big Ten. He’s adequate from press and has the burst to make up ground when he gets behind early. He’s at his best, however, when playing with his eyes forward from zone and searching for clues to jump in and make plays on the football.”

As Yates did, Zierlein also mentioned Melton’s “ball skills” and aggressiveness at the catch point as two more strengths.

“He’s capable in run support but needs to work on his angles of pursuit,” he finished. “His versatility, traits, instincts and ball skills could make him an eventual starter and an early CB3/4.”

Melton ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, with a 40.5-inch vertical and a 11-foot-4 broad jump.

Like Zierlein, Bleacher Report scout Cory Giddings highlighted versatility and “scheme flexibility” while discussing Melton.

“Melton looks to be at his best when he’s in off coverage and zone, where he is able to see the routes develop in front of him and can see the ball thrown,” Giddings added. Later, he praised the Rutgers product’s physicality as a tackler and his “temperament” as a professional.

Field Yates Settles on Popular Malik Nabers Pick for Giants in Round 1 on NFL Draft

As for the Giants first-round selection during Yates’ April 3 mock draft, it was a popular one. Since the very beginning of the offseason, NYG has been linked to LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers.

After going Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye and Marvin Harrison Jr. with his first four picks (in that order), Yates then predicted that the Minnesota Vikings would trade up with the Los Angeles Chargers to snag J.J. McCarthy at No. 5 overall. That left Nabers on the board for the G-Men.

“The Giants’ wide receiver corps does not have a difference-maker at the moment, but that would all change with Nabers,” the ESPN insider voiced. “He’s the most explosive player in the draft and a run-after-catch nightmare for defenses; he forced 27 missed tackles in 2023 during a breakout season.”

As for targeting a wide receiver, Yates reasoned that “while the Giants appear open to considering a first-round quarterback, there are already four off the board here, so I think the team would turn its attention to upgrading around Daniel Jones.”