NFL Network draft analyst Daniel jeremiah held a media available to discuss the 2021 NFL Draft a few days. It was a wide-ranging, two-hour session. Here are a few points of interest from Jeremiah’s remarks for the New York Giants.
On Kyle Pitts
Pitts, of course, is the Florida hybrid tight end/wide receiver who could be off the board before the Giants pick at No. 11.
“I think you can make a strong case he’s the best player in the draft,” Jeremiah said.
“I think if he was just in this draft as an X receiver, he’s a top-10 or -15 pick if you’ve never even watched him put his hand in the ground. At that size, to be able to get in and out like he does is pretty rare, to turn guys inside out.
“You watch [Travis] Kelce and you’ll see Kelce run those pivot routes where he’s so efficient and doesn’t waste any steps. You see the same thing with Pitts, and then he has a bigger catch radius to go up over the top of people and make plays. To me it’s a matchup that’s going to be in your favor every time you line up. The defense can’t be right against him no matter what you do. You put big guys out there he’s going to run away from them. You put small guys out there he’s just going to pluck the ball off their heads. That to me is what makes him special.”
Second round cornerbacks
Before the free-agent signing period begins, the Giants could be in the market for a starting cornerback opposite James Bradberry. If they don’t select Patrick Surtain II or Caleb Farley in Round 1, Jeremiah offered some thoughts on cornerbacks who could be seconde-round values. If he gets there, Jeremiah seems particularly high on Greg Newsome of Northwestern.
“I think in that second-round range is a really good group of corners, some interesting guys. To me, look, I’ve had Greg Newsome from Northwestern as my 31st player. He just ran 4.31 according to a GM that just texted me from that pro day. So he’s not going to be there in second round. He is probably going to end up going in the 20s when it’s all said and done. But he is a really good football player. Some options there in the second round, I think you look at Kelvin Joseph from Kentucky who’s really, really fluid, athletic. He’s got great ball skills. He’s one of those guys that got torched by Pitts, but I’m not going to hold that against him,” Jeremiah said.
“You’ve got Aaron Robinson from Central Florida who primarily played inside there, but who’s real tough, physical, aggressive. Easy, easy speed. I think you’re going to see — if you’re looking for big corners, I think both the Georgia corners are going to go in the second round. When you look at Tyson Campbell as well as Stokes from Georgia, both those guys are big and fast.
“Eric Stokes the other day, everybody saw the training; he was running like the 4.2s. So both those guys, one was a state champ in Georgia in high school, the other was a state champ in Florida. Those are big time size, speed corners that I think you’ll see come on the board there in the second round.
That’s a really good group of corners in round 2. And then after that it really starts to drop off on my list. For those teams looking for corners, they’re going to all go, so you’d better get on that ride early in the first or second round.”
Offensive tackle class
The Giants seem to be all-in on maximizing their young offensive line. If they want to add to it, Jeremiah is partial to Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater.
“When I stack up this class, I actually have Rashawn Slater as the top tackle in the draft, and I just mentioned a little bit earlier his arms came in at 33 inches today, which is not great, but to me it’s good enough that he can hold up a tackle, and he’s just such a clean, clean player on tape. You go back and watch him at Northwestern against Chase Young in 2019 and he more than held his own. His ability to recover and rework his hands in that game was really good. He can bend. He’s one of the better guys,” Jeremiah said.
“And even comparing him to the group last year, if you look at just the ability to climb up to the second level in the run game and what he can do with his athleticism, I’d say he does that better than even the tackles in last year’s draft. But he would be my top one this year.
Penei Sewell is right there behind him. They’re very close. Sewell is a massive dude who’s really — it’s interesting because he’s very explosive when you watch him at Oregon in 2019. He’s explosive, but he still needs to add some strength. In other words, you see him just drive off the ball, you’ll see, man, he’s quick, he’s dynamic with how quick he can get out of his stance. He covers up speed rushers no problem. But in pass protection sometimes you’ll see guys kind of tug and pull him and move him around a little bit. He just needs to get a little bit stronger. But he was playing his — he’s a young kid at that point in time.
“He’s got a lot of upside, but if I was going to look at it from last year, I would take [Mekhi] Becton, [Jedrick] Wills, and [Tristan] Wirfs over the top two guys in this year’s draft class. But I think all five of those guys are really good players. Last year I had Wirfs as the No. 3 guy and he ended up playing better than everyone else, so that speaks to just how good that group was last year.
Favorite Day 2 wide receivers
The Giants, most believe, will be in the market for wide receiver help in the draft.
“Yeah, as a wide receiver there’s a ton of them. It’s a really good group. Just kind of depends on what flavor you’re looking for. If you want to be more dynamic and you want to be more vertical — I mentioned Terrace Marshall from LSU and Rashod Bateman from Minnesota, but I’m really intrigued by Dyami Brown from North Carolina who, gosh, I think he averaged over 20 yards a catch. They used him on a lot of verticals and deep crossers. He’s an over-the-top guy. He’s not as polished working back downhill but he is somewhere they can get vertical. You don’t get as much size with D’Wayne Eskridge from Western Michigan, but he’s another one who’s a home run hitter. Adds some kickoff return value. Really good at run after the catch stuff. Tough kid who’s played corner. His tape as a gunner is phenomenal. He’s a really tough kid who kind of fits that style there for the Giants,” Jeremiah said.
“And then I think another interesting player in like round 3, round 4, just as an overall offensive weapon, would be Demetric Felton out of UCLA who played running back, goes to the Senior Bowl, plays receiver at practices there, and was darned near uncoverable. Just really juicy, really explosive at the top of his route. Can make people miss in space. Just a really fun player. I think would be fun complement there to what they have.”