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3-round Giants-only mock draft: Nick goes defense in first two rounds

This is a different outcome than we’re seeing in many mock drafts

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 07 SEC Championship Game

The culmination of the 2020 season has transpired and the Super Bowl has been determined. Now, it’s time for NFL fans to reload for the free-agent period that starts on March 17th and the 2021 NFL Draft. It’s that time of year where every NFL franchise will attempt to revitalize their roster as they attempt to improve on their past deficiencies.

Joe Judge had an adequate first year as a head coach for the New York Giants. The team was playing hard, they were in most of the games, and they came close to winning the division, albeit that division was the 2020 NFC East. However, 6-10 is an unenviable outcome and the Giants have to improve this roster and take advantage of this weakened division.

I put on my general manager hat in my first three-round mock draft of the 2021 season. The Giants select at 11, 43, and 75 in the Draft Network simulator. In this edition, I choose not to do trades. Below are the choices I made for the Giants.

Pick 11: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

His name isn’t receiving the same amount of buzz as Michigan’s Kwity Paye or Miami’s Gregory Rousseau and I don’t exactly know why. Ojulari has better initial burst, bend, and cornering ability at the top of the pass-rushing arc. Despite only being 240 pounds, he also controls the point of attack in the run game and drops into coverage. He’s versatile and would fit well with the Giants and in Patrick Graham’s system.

Ojulari packs violence in his pass-rushing motions and employs several different moves to maximize his athletic upside. I love how he leverages his hands and his competitive toughness as well. He may not be the longest at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, but with his athleticism, I wouldn’t mind seeing him as a Giant. Ojulari compiled 68 tackles, 18.5 for a loss, and 9.5 sacks, along with 5 forced fumbles in 23 games, according to college football reference.

I wanted to select Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, but the Lions selected him at No 7. Wide receiver Devonta Smith went at No. 6 to the Eagles, EDGE Kwity Paye went at NO. 4 to the Falcons, and both corners (Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II) went consecutively before the Giants selected at 11. The selection of Ojulari at 11 may seem like a bit of a reach, but at the end of the day, I feel that will be proven false.

Pick 43: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

Adebo opted out of the 2020 season after two consecutive years of quality Pac-12 play. He was First-Team All-PAC 12 in 2018 & 2019. Adebo has quick feet, good length (6-1), and is very adept at the catch point - these are key traits that you want to bet on at cornerback. Adebo had 97 tackles, 5 for a loss, 8 interceptions, and 27 passes defended in 2018 and 2019.

Adebo is scheme versatile - he can play man and zone - and he does a good job in run support. I love his aggressive nature and think Graham’s coaching can really help him hit his potential. Furthermore, shoring up the second cornerback spot, opposite of James Bradberry would allow the Giants to diversify their coverage a bit more - Adebo can effectively play man.

Adebo has fluid hips and isn’t stiff for a bigger cornerback, but he could be a bit more disciplined with his hips and a bit more disciplined at the line of scrimmage. These are all coaching points that can be hammered home. Double moves can take advantage of Adebo’s aggressive nature, but his transitions, footwork, and length allow for him to recover and close width on receivers. He would make for a solid upgrade at the second cornerback spot, and Julian Love could become the versatile, next man up, defensive back for the Giants.

Pick 75: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State

The Giants haven’t selected a player out of the Big-12 since Sterling Shepard (2016) in the second round out of Oklahoma, so why not go across the state and stick to the same position five years later? Wallace is 5-11 but made a living on 50-50 balls down the field. He’s physical at the catch point, has great concentration/tracking ability, and has good hands. he was a reliable third-down option for the Cowboys.

Wallace had an incredible 2018 sophomore year. He recorded 86 catches for 1491 yards and 12 touchdowns, and added a rushing touchdown to boot. Was off to another great season, but tore his ACL in the 9th game of 2019, after recording 53 catches for 903 yards and 8 touchdowns. Decided to return to school for his senior year and recorded 59 receptions for 922 yards and 6 touchdowns in his first year back from the torn ACL.

Wallace has good athletic ability and some burst but doesn’t possess elite speed. He’s certainly talented, but past injuries may lead to him sliding to the third round. In this scenario, ideally, the Giants would have hopefully signed a big-play wide receiver in free agency. There is no doubt going to be a precedent put on the position, and there should be one. I would not be satisfied if Wallace is the only player added to the position group. The Giants need playmakers, and it’s more than crucial for them to get Daniel Jones reliable targets for the upcoming season.