The Giants feel they have a core group of young players to build around going forward, but the fact remains that they are lacking impact players at several cornerstone positions. The good news is that drafting just outside of the top 10 gives them the opportunity to address one of those positions with a potential playmaker.
ESPN’s Todd McShay released his first mock draft of 2021 (insider content) following the end of the regular season, and he has the Giants adding an edge rusher, Miami’s Gregory Rousseau [prospect profile]
11. New York Giants
Gregory Rousseau, DE/OLB, Miami-FL*
The Giants managed 40 sacks this season, thanks in large part to Leonard Williams bouncing back and getting 11.5 of them. But few would argue against the Giants needing edge-rushing help to take a much-improved defense to the next level, particularly if they don’t return Williams, who played this season on the franchise tag. Rousseau opted out this season, but he had 15.5 sacks for the Hurricanes in 2019 and has speed and power coming around the corner. Alternatively, offensive line, wide receiver or cornerback could be areas to keep an eye on for New York.
McShay is absolutely right with the observation that the Giants need an EDGE rusher. Even counting the career year from Leonard Williams, it’s obvious from watching the Giants’ games that the team’s pass rush was almost entirely dependent on their coverage. The Giants simply lack the ability to generate pressure quickly, and with speed off the edge, without forcing quarterbacks to hold the ball for four or five seconds.
Rousseau could well be the top EDGE in the draft, but is he the right player for the pick? I’m not sure.
This mock actually shakes out somewhat similarly with the one I ran on The Draft Network on Monday. In that mock, each of the top four receiving threats — Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, Kyle Pitts, and DeVonta Smith — were drafted in the first ten picks. In this case, Smith, Chase, and Pitts were drafted in the top 10, with Waddle lasting all the way to the Las Vegas Raiders at 17th overall.
I can see the appeal of Rousseau. However, the Giants will need to significantly upgrade their offense if they want to win consistently. There’s also the fact that while Rousseau has very attractive physical traits, he is very raw and could well be poor value here. Drafting Rousseau would certainly be a vote of confidence in Patrick Graham and the Giants’ position coaches. If they can unlock his potential quickly, he could be an impact player, but that could also be easier said than done.
However, Given how badly the Giants need plays — playmakers — in their passing offense, I would have gone with Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle.
Top 10 picks
- Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
- New York Jets - Penei Sewell (OT, Oregon)
- Miami Dolphins - DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)
- Atlanta Falcons - Zach Wilson (QB, BYU)
- Cincinnati Bengals - Rashawn Slater (OT, Northwestern)
- Philadelphia Eagles - Micah Parsons (LB, Penn State)
- Detroit Lions - Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)
- Carolina Panthers - Kyle Pitts (TE/WR, Florida)
- Denver Broncos - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB, Notre Dame)
- Dallas Cowboys - Patrick Surtain II (CB, Alabama)