The 2021 version of that series kicks off here. In this version, I am using the Pro Football Network draft simulator. I happen to like the PFN simulator because it proposes trades to me, meaning I don’t have to spend time seeking trade partners. I just figure out if I want to accept, reject or counter what is offered to me.
I decided two things in advance of this first draft in this year’s weekly series. I decided there would be no trades. I also decided to play this one pretty straight. The first-round pick is a “chalk” pick. The second- and third-round picks are an effort to go down the list and hit the biggest needs I could based on the board I was presented with.
A reminder: We are in the middle of February. As of right now, when I do these drafts I am not trying to be correct. Rather, I am trying to present potential scenarios for your discussion and bring the opportunity to talk about a variety of players. Trying to be correct will come near the end of the process.
As I said earlier, this is a pretty straight forward effort. It’s a baseline, if you will. Some of what you get in the weeks to come will be more creative, maybe more out of left field.
For now, my first effort.
Round 1 (No. 11) — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Not having gone through free agency yet, we don’t know if the Giants will be able to lure a big-time free agent receiver like Kenny Golladay or Allen Robinson. We know they need to add play makers to an anemic offense. The current batch of mock drafts expects that to be the move at 11.
The way this board broke, Waddle was the only one of the Big 4 of receivers left. Both cornerbacks who tempt me are gone. Quite honestly, there is no edge rusher I would take here. Micah Parsons, the best linebacker in the draft, is really tempting here. Shoot, so is the position-versatile offensive lineman Rashawn Slater.
In the end, though, the biggest thing the Giants have to do this offseason is add a game-breaking player to their offense. Selecting Waddle accomplishes that. I really didn’t think about this one very long.
Other players considered: Micah Parson, LB, Penn State; Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan; Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern; Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
Round 2 (No. 43) — Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami
When I looked at the players I was presented with here, the choice really came down to Phillips and Penn State edge rusher Jayson Oweh. To be honest, because of his connection to Giants defensive line coach Sean Spencer — who coached him at Penn State — I think the Giants might take Oweh in this scenario.
I have to take the production. Phillips is a long, lean 6-foot-5, 266-pound edge who can play standing up or with his hand in the ground. He compiled 8 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in a breakout 2020 season. Oweh has traits, but no sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss in 2020 has me asking questions.
Other players considered: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri, Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State; Asante Samuel, CB, Florida State; Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Round 3 (No. 76) — Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
A confession — this was a pure scouting report pick. I have read a great deal about Newsome, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound cornerback, but I have yet to actually watch the player on tape.
I’m really tempted by Felton and Eskridge here, but since I already chose Waddle I’m giving Patrick Graham a player to compete for the No. 2 cornerback role. In its draft guide, Pro Football Focus says:
It may have been only six games and 387 snaps, but Newsome’s 2020 season vaulted him up the PFF draft board. That’s what happens when you allow only 12 catches on 34 targets and fewer than 100 yards all season. At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Newsome flashed a terrific all-around skill set. He made plays with breaks from off coverage as well as matching up at the line of scrimmage in press man. We just wish we could have seen more snaps from him. He excused himself well against his best competition in Ohio State, but that was on only 17 coverage snaps before he left with a groin injury
Other players considered: Demetric Felton, RB/WR, UCLA; D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan; Hunter Long, TE, Boston College; Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina