We’re officially in the part of the NFL season where mock drafts will be released after just about every week of games.
As usual, we won’t be covering every pick made for the New York Giants, but we will take note at what the big outlets are saying. The theory is that with their reach and connections, the draft analysts for the NFL Network or ESPN are likely basing at least some of their evaluations on what they’re hearing from NFL front offices.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at who ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay mocks to the Giants in his latest mock draft (inSider content).
5. New York Giants
(via Chicago Bears)
George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue*
The Giants have a pair of early picks and could go a bunch of different ways. But they are no better than 25th in sacks (25), pass rush win rate (32.0%) and pressure rate (25.9%), despite some flashes from rookie Azeez Ojulari (7.5 sacks). Karlaftis wins with power and has proven disruptive even though he often sees double-teams for Purdue — and like Leonard Williams, he is versatile enough to rush from inside when needed.
7. New York Giants
Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia*
[Missippi State OT, Charles] Cross could be a great option to shore up a brutal offensive line if he’s still available, and Alabama’s [wide receiver] Jameson Williams would make sense. But I love Dean’s game, and he fits what the Giants covet — another three-down playmaking linebacker to line up with Blake Martinez, who will be returning from a torn ACL. Dean has sideline-to-sideline range and is an artist at slipping blocks, hunting down ball carriers and blowing up plays. Just look at this 13-game stat line for the season: 62 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and a touchdown.
Every so often it happens that McShay makes some insightful analyses that I can’t help but agree with.
This isn’t one of those times.
Frankly, if you read what Kiper and McShay had to say about the draft last week, McShay telegraphed what his picks for the Giants would be. He had already stated his love for Karlaftis and Dean and said he thought they’d be great picks for the Giants, so it’s little wonder that those were his picks for his mock draft.
Amazing how these things work out, ain’t it?
Let me state right here, that the premise McShay is working off of is fairly accurate: This is a very defense-heavy draft. There’s a very good chance that the five highest graded players on all 32 big boards will be defenders. So it makes sense that if you want to add some much-needed talent to a struggling team, your best choices are going to be on the defensive side of the ball.
And McShay is also correct that the Giants desperately need a natural pass rush, as well as more speed and range at the second level.
But here’s where things start to fall apart.
While the Giants certainly need more pass rush production, they don’t need another power rusher — particularly one with limited length and short-area quickness. What the Giants need off the edge is greasy, fast, speed. This isn’t anything against Karlaftis as a prospect, but I’m not sure he fits the Giants’ needs and also if you’re drafting an EDGE in the top 5, he needs to have elite athletic traits.
So, on to Nkobe Dean at 7th overall.
Likewise (and I keep coming back to this guys like Kiper and McShay keep setting it up), McShay lists Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton as his 5th overall player. The Giants, like every other team in the NFL, love DB-heavy subpackages. And not only is Hamilton the best DB in this draft class, he has the kind of rare athletic profile that would let him fill a variety of roles for the Giants. Dean has strapped a rocket to his draft stock over the course of the 2021 season, but Hamilton is simply one of the best and most versatile players in the nation. He could legitimately start for the Giants at free safety, strong safety, or WILL linebacker, and that kind of versatility makes him a rare defensive weapon.
McShay said last week that netting Karlaftis and Dean would be a “good day” for the Giants in the first round of the draft.
I maintain that if the Giants have a shot at Kyle Hamilton, they need to pull the trigger. Likewise, I am drafting Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum if I’m the Giants as well. There’s no guarantee that Nick Gates can even return from his injury, making center a pressing need. And if Gates is able to return, he has played well at guard, potentially filling two holes with one pick.
The Giants have three more picks in the next two rounds. I would save EDGE, another OL, and a pass catcher for those picks. Perhaps players like Cincinnati EDGE Myjai Sanders, Purdue WR David Bell, and the Mountainous (6-foot-8, 380 pound) Minnesota OT, Daniel Faalele could be had over the course of the second day.