The options at No. 11 are endless for the Giants. Breaking down the best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Nine more days, folks. Nine more days until another highly anticipated NFL draft, and I am excited to see what the Giants do. The team had quite the offseason, filling key holes and overall improving the team.
The marquee free agent was wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who gives a whole new level of talent for Daniel Jones and the offense. Corner back Adoree Jackson helps bolster an impressive secondary, Kyle Rudolph and John Ross are two talented offensive weapons, and Ryan Anderson, Devonta Downs, and Reggie Ragland provide necessary defensive depth. Oh, and they brought back Leonard Williams, the teams sack leader.
Overall, fans should be estatic with the moves the Giants made. The question now is, what will the Giants do in the draft to fill any needs on their roster?
Team needs and current picks
Pass Rushers (Edge and Linebacker)
Defensive Backs (CB and S)
Photo: New York Giants
Who falls to No. 11?
Rashawn Slater (OL - Northwestern)
In a realistic draft with no changes or trades, it seems to be safe to say Nortestern's Rashawn Slater will be available. Slater is a versatile player that played both tackle and guard in college. He could fill the void of Kevin Zeitler or create some competition for current lineman Will Hernandez. Either way, this would be a safe pick, not a sexy one, but vital for the teams success.
Micah Parsons (LB - Penn State)
The Penn State product is a dynamic playmaker who is a day-1 starter. Per NFL.com, Micah Parsons is a "performance-grade inside/outside linebacker prospect possessing an NFL-ready frame and explosive speed that could make him a highly productive talent at the next level. He’s most impactful when he’s kept clean and allowed to run and chase the action, but carries no physical limitations into the pros." Parsons would be a huge addition to the Giants’ front seven. Lining Parsons next to Blake Martinez or improving his pass rush to pair next to Leonard Williams would be scary for opposing o-lines and a dream scenario for Defesnive Coordinator Patrick Graham.
The "Big-Three" WR's
Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)
Devonta Smith (Alabama)
Ja'Marr Chase (LSU)
These three names have been thrown around all year, and they are clearly the most talented group of receivers in the draft. With all signs pointing to teams chasing for quarterbacks, there is no doubt that one of these three are going to fall to 11. The question is, which one?
Ja'Marr Chase sat out this past season, but the year prior, he caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns over 14 games, averaging over 21 yards per catch. In 34 games, Jaylen Waddle has eclipsed 106 catches for 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns while also contributing three touchdowns as a returner on special teams. Then there's the Heisman winner, Devonta Smith who snagged 117 catches for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns over 13 games, including an offensive clinic in the National Championship. You can't go wrong with either three, but it'll be interesting to see if the Giants opt for a first round receiver after signing Golladay.
Penei Sewell (OL - Oregon)
If you are building for the future, and protecting key playersin Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, then there should be no question in selecting the best offensive lineman in this year’s class. Penei Sewell has been getting high praise for months, and he is a player who would immediately improve the run game and protect the quarterback.
Kyle Pitts (TE - Flordia)
There has been a ton of buzz surrounding the versatile offensive weapon. Kyle Pitts might be the most talented player in the draft, and he would be every offenses dream. He is capable of lining up in-line, in the slot or split out as an X receiver. He pulled down 12 touchdowns in just eight games last season. You may think why the Giants would consider Pitts when they have Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph, but he is more than just a tight end. Many view him in a different category and can arguably be a swiss-army knife on the offense.
Other possible picks
Patrick Surtain II (CB - Alabama)
Jaycee Horn (CB - South Carolina)
Both players are touted as top-tier cornerbacks who can make immediate impacts. The Giants secondary is very solidified with Bradberry/Jackson/Holmes/Peppers/Ryan, but adding one of these two could create a lockdown scenario that would scare opposing quarterbacks.
Would Dave Gettleman trade back?
Given Gettleman's draft history, this could just be a smokescreen or an opportunity to see which QB driven team is going to move up. I believe the Giants should draft the best available player at 11, if it comes to a Parsons, Waddle, Smith, Pitts, the list goes on. However if a crazy turn of events take place and none of "their guys" are still available at 11, I don't hate the idea of trading back. Depending on which avenue the Giants follow, they could listen to Joe Judge and take a page out of the New England playbook. By doing so, they could collect some draft capital for the mid rounds, and capitalize on talent there, while falling back in the first.
Possible options in the mid-to-late first round include the following players like Alijah Vera-Tucker (OL -USC), Kwity Paye (EDGE - Michigan), Caleb Farley (CB -Virgina Tech), Christian Balmore (DL - Alabama), Asante Samuel Jr. (CB - Florida State), Azeez Ojulari (OLB - Georgia), and Rashad Bateman (Minnesota).
Some of these guys could fall to the second round, but very unlikely. It would be nice if the Giants could acquire another second or third rounder, and land more talent then just a single player at one.
Beyond the first round
Walker Little (T-Stanford)
Alex Leatherwood (T-Alabama)
Dillion Radunz (T-North Dakota State)
Kendrick Green (G-Illinois)
Wyatt Davis (G-Ohio State)
Aaron Banks (G-Notre Dame)
Ben Cleveland (G-Georgia)
Landon Dickerson (C-Alabama)
Creed Humphrey (C- Oklahoma)
If the Giants don't go o-line in the first round, there are plenty of talented options after round one. Walker Little started all 12 games and helped pass protect for quarterback K.J. Costello as he threw for the second-most passing yards in school history. He earned first-team All Pac-12 honors. Other solid tackle options include Dillion Radunz and Alex Leatherwood.
I love Kendrick Green, and he can play both the guard and center positions, and he is very proficient in run-blocking. Wyatt Davis is a very good run blocker who has experience covering different assignments and has sky high potential. Ben Cleveland is a big man upfront, with impressive power and strength, and quickness too. Aaron Banks has experience playing both tackle positions in college and his frame has shown he can stop an aggressive pass rush, also Notre Dame breeds stud o-lineman (i.e. Zack Martin, Quenton Nelson).
They could also improve two positions in one move, and draft a center. By selecting Landon Dickerson or Creed Humphrey, they could move Nick Gates back to his natural guard position.
Gregory Rousseau (EDGE - Miami)
Jaelan Phillips (EDGE - Miami)
Jayson Oweh (DE - Penn State)
Ronnie Perkins (DE -Oklahoma)
Chauncey Golston (EDGE - Iowa)
Gregory Rousseau was touted as a high first rounder weeks ago, and has since fallen down the ladder due to a 2020 opt-out season and so-so pro day. He still had a fantastic 2019 season and his potential and skill are too good to look past. It'll be quite the surprise if Jaelan Phillips or Ronnie Perkins fall beyond the second round, so my eyes are on Ronnie Perkins. He has collected at least five sacks in each of his three seasons at Oklahoma. He is skillful in pushing through tight gaps and can provide constant pressure.
Rondale Moore (Purdue)
Elijah Moore (Ole Miss)
Josh Palmer (Tennesse)
Kadarius Toney (Flordia)
Tamorrion Terry (Florida State)
Nico Collins (Michigan)
Austin Watkins Jr. (University of Alabama-Birmingham)
There is plenty of talent in the wide receiver department should the Giants opt to other positions in the first round. The two Moore's are projected in the late first - early second bucket, while Palmer, Toney and Terry could be in the potential mix in the third round. Nico Collins and Austin Watkins could be nice compensation steals in later rounds, as both are physical and versatile playmakers with great hands. All in all, any of these guys would provide some nice depth to the current crew of receivers the Giants already possess.
Javonte Williams (North Carolina)
Pooka Williams Jr. (Kansas)
Jaret Patterson (Buffalo)
Rhamondre Stevenson (Okalohma)
It's not the biggest need, but with the departure of Wayne Gallman (sad) and Saquou Barkley coming back from his ACL injury, depth would be more than ideal. All these options above should be around in the later rounds, my pick would be Pooka Williams Jr. out of Kansas. He offers more than just a traditional running back would, get comparisons to different playmakers like Cordalle Paterson and Percy Harvin. Ideally I would the Giants to follow the path of what the Saints are doing with Alvin Kamara. Surround him with other playermakers to take the pressure of the RB1, which also helps errupt his own game.
BONUS - My Highest Graded Mock Drafts
Courtersy of Pro Football Focus (PFF) 2021 NFL Mock Draft Simulator