Giants draft preview: WR


This is the second installment in a nine-part series that will analyze the Giants' needs, position by position, in the upcoming draft.

Position: Wide receiver

Depth chart: Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Ramses Barden, Domenik Hixon, Derek Hagan, Victor Cruz, Michael Clayton, Devin Thomas, Duke Calhoun, Darius Reynaud, Samuel Giguere, Todd Watkins.

Not under contract: Smith, Hagan, Clayton.

Scouting report: When healthy, the Giants are stacked at receiver. But Smith is coming off microfracture knee surgery and will take things very slowly in his return. Barden is recovering from a season-ending ankle injury and Cruz will be making his way back from a hamstring injury. Hixon is also coming off ACL surgery from last summer. Still, Nicks is emerging into a top-10 receiver and Manningham has shown flashes of being a big-play receiver.

The Giants are expected to re-sign Smith. Hagan could return for camp but it's a crowded unit already. Thomas has intriguing talent. Reynaud is purely a special teams player and Giguere and Watkins are reserve/future receivers.

The Last Time: The Giants drafted a WR last in 2009 when they took Nicks in the first round and Barden in the third.

Potential targets: In a draft that likely will come before free agency, the Giants need to take care of bigger issues at offensive line and linebacker. They have some receivers on the mend but Barden, Hixon and Cruz are expected to be ready for camp. Smith will have to be brought along slowly in similar fashion to safety Kenny Phillips last year. If the Giants were to take a look at a wide receiver in the later rounds, perhaps Edmund Gates from Abilene Christian is a potential sleeper to keep an eye on. Gates is a raw but speedy receiver with big-play potential. Nebraska's Niles Paul is also a receiver who could go in the late rounds with special teams ability as well. Of course, if several Giants have their way, Jerry Reese will go after the big target available later in the summer –- Plaxico Burress.

Need Rating (On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being of highest importance): 2.

Tomorrow: TE.