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Mock draft tracker: Jaylen Waddle races to clear lead for Giants at No. 11

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NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Ohio State vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle has sprinted to a clear lead as the player most often selected in mock drafts for the New York Giants with the No. 11 pick. There are 61 mock drafts in our tracker this week, and Waddle was the selection in 16 of those (26.2 percent).

Waddle’s Alabama teammate, Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith, was the choice for the Giants in 10 mock drafts (16.4). Florida hybrid tight end Kyle Pitts was chosen nine times (14.8 percent). Add two selections for LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who seems highly unlikely to last to No. 11, and receiver was the choice in 37 of the 61 mock drafts (60.7 percent).

Let’s look at some of the other draft stories making news this week.

Is anyone really good at drafting?

That, essentially, is the question being asked in a recent ESPN+ piece by Bill Barnwell. His answer seems to be, not really. That no one has it figured out, and that in a year where decision-makers may have less information than they normally have the draft will be even more of a crapshoot.

His idea. Follow Warren Buffett’s philosophy and be greedy. Here’s how:

How can a team be greedy in this draft? The easiest way is to amass more 2021 picks. Teams are generally smart to trade down in the draft, but this is a year in which they should be more aggressive in trying to trade down than ever. If a team is less confident that any one pick is likely to deliver a starting-caliber talent, the best chance of finding a starter is to amass multiple selections. Given the uncertainty with each individual pick, having more selections also gives teams a better chance of coming away with multiple starters than those same picks would in a typical season.

Valentine’s View: I know, I know. This discussion merits the obligatory “Dave Gettleman has never traded down in the draft” remark. This might be a great year to try it. Many will argue that at wide receiver, for example, Kadarius Toney or Rondale Moore are players just as likely to be difference-makers as is Waddle.

I’m always a proponent of trading down rather than up whenever possible to get more swings at the plate. I’d be fine if the Giants — finally — chose that approach.

Just how good is Kyle Pitts?

Now, the answer is subjective. You’ll also get difference to the “is he a tight end or a wide receiver?” question.

i know this much. Despite the whole “trade down” thing I just wrote about, and the presence of Evan Engram, if Pitts is available at No. 11 I would bang the table for the Giants to take the guy.

Here is what Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus wrote after studying Pitts for the first time:

Kyle Pitts is special, and he may be the most talented playmaker in the entire draft. He is nominally a tight end but has shown the ability to win outside and in the slot as a true wide receiver. And that’s not to say he needs to be able to do that because he can’t block. His blocking in-line is more than adequate, and that’s something that typically develops at the NFL level when more is asked of players.

Pitts is one little step of development on his outside vertical release away from being a completely uncoverable weapon in the NFL — a player with a cheat code of a two-way go to either attack the outside vertically or break inside and run after the catch into space. He is already the living embodiment of this in the red zone, where the dual threat of what he can attack causes no end of trouble for opposing defenders.

Pitts may have as clean a tape as any prospect in this draft, and the biggest question becomes how dependent he is on a creative offensive mind to maximize his impact or how valuable he is if he remains just a tight end at the next level. ...

He could be one of the first players with true wide receiver/tight end crossover ability in a way that isn’t just a position switch because of a deficiency.

Pitts is a phenomenal prospect, and he may be the best receiver in the draft, regardless of position.

The problem for the Giants isn’t Engram. Or Jason Garrett’s creativity. The problem for the Giants is that every evaluator I have asked doesn’t think Pitts makes it to No. 11 in the draft.

Daniel Jeremiah’s top 50 prospects

Jeremiah, NFL.com draft expert, has four receivers among the top eight. Interestingly, DeVonta Smith is the lowest-ranked. The list also includes a number of players I might not have expected to see.


Previous trackers

2021 Mock Draft Tracker

Date Mock Draft Round 1 Round 2
Date Mock Draft Round 1 Round 2
4/29 The Athletic (Brugler) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/29 ESPN (Kiper) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/29 ESPN (McShay) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/29 NFL.com (Schrager) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/29 NFL.com (Casserly) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/29 NFL.com (Zierlein) Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4/29 FOX Sports (Rang) Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State Carlos Basham, DE, Wake Forest
4/28 CBS (Trapasso) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/28 NFl.com (Jeremiah) Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4/28 Tankathon DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/28 Pro Football Network (Albright) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/28 Newsday (Klopsis) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/28 Tony Pauline (Pro Football Network) Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
4/28 CBS (Brinson) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/28 Yahoo Sports (Edholm) Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
4/28 Sporting News (Iyer) Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
4/28 Pro Football Focus (Renner) Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
4/28 NFL.com (Davis) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/28 DraftTek Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/28 Walter Football (Walt) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
4/28 NFL Trade Rumors DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/28 Walter Football (Campbell) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
4/27 SI (Breer) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/27 Draftwire Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
4/27 Pro Football Focus (Staff) Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
4/27 CBS (Prisco) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/27 Philadelphia Inquirer (Bowen) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/27 Pro Football Talk (Florio) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/27 ESPN (NFL Nation Staff) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/27 Pewter Report (Ledyard) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/27 NFL.com (Brooks) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/26 SI (Countryman) Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
4/26 Draft Network (Melo) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/26 Draft Network (Arians) Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4/26 CBS (Jones) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/26 Draftwire (Easterling) Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
4/26 Establish The Run (Silva) Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
4/26 Touchdown Wire (Farrar) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/26 CBS (Wilson) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/26 NBC (Peter King) Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4/26 USA Today Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/26 Akron Beacon Journal (Kadar) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/26 Sun Sentinel (Kelly) Penei Sewell, Ot, Oregon
4/26 Athlon Sports Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/26 Pro Football Focus Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
4/26 Penn Live Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4/25 NFL.com (Lewis) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/25 Draft Kings Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
4/25 Blogging The Boys DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama Ronnie Perkins, Edge, Oklahoma
4/25 EDS Football (Hanson) Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
4/24 Pro Football Network (Schulte) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
4/24 San Diego Union Tribune (Brown) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/24 CBS (Benjamin) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/23 FOX Sports (McIntyre) Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
4/23 Dallas Morning News (Watkins) Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
4/23 CBS (Edwards) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
4/23 Underdog Fantasy (Norris) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/23 NFL.com (Reuter) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/23 CBS (Dubin) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/23 NJ.com (Giglio) Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami
4/22 SI (Fabiano) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/22 Houston Chronicle (McClain) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/22 Draft Network (Solak) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/22 EDS Football (Hanson) Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4/21 Pro Football Network (Tanier) Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
4/20 Sharp Football Analysis Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
4/20 SI (Vrentas) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/19 UPI (Butler) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/19 Huddle Report (Johannes) Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
4/19 North Jersey (Stapleton) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/19 USA Today (Davis) Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4/19 LA Times (Farmer) Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
4/19 Pro Football Focus (Palazzolo) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/18 Baltimore Sun Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4/18 Walter Football (Campbell) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama Trey Smith, G, Tennessee
4/17 Pro Football Network (Farabaugh) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/17 Pro Football Network (Hodgkinson) Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4/16 Draft Network (Sikkema) Alijah Vera-Tucker, iOL, USC
4/16 Cleveland.com DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/15 NFL.com (Casserly) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/14 The Phinsider (Nogle) Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4/14 Rotoworld (Daigle) Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
4/14 Pro Football Network (Williamson) Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
4/14 Touchdown Wire (Farrar) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/12 NFL.com (Jones-Drew) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
4/12 Outkick Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/12 Sharp Football DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/12 Pro Football Focus (Monson) Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4/10 Pro Football Network (Valdovinos) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama Joseph Ossai, Edge, Texas
4/10 NY Post (Serby) Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
4/9 Pro Football Focus (Erickson) Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
4/8 Pro Football Focus (Evans) Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
4/8 Pro Football Network (Rolfe) Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
4/8 AL.com Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
4/7 USA Today (Middlehurst-Schwartz) Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4/5 NFL Draft Room Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4/5 Pro Football Focus (Spielberger) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/5 Pro Football Focus (Linsey) Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
4/4 Pro Football Network (Cummings) DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
4/3 NBC Sports (Winks) Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern