Trade up from No. 11? Seriously? Despite the Giants having only six picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, moving up is an idea New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman refused to reject last week when he met with New York media via videoconference.
Would there be a single player worth the draft capital it would cost to move up from No. 11? In this week’s Big Blue View Round Table, we set out to find out which player our writers would go after in a trade-up scenario.
Question: Dave Gettleman refused recently to reject the idea of trading UP from No. 11. What one NON-QUARTERBACK would you trade up for if you were making the decision for the Giants?
Chris Pflum — Penei Sewell
The correct answer to this question is, obviously, Trevor Lawrence — or maybe Zach Wilson, if ya nasty — but since since we’re taking incorrect answers only, the least incorrect one is Penei Sewell.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the Oregon left tackle is the best offensive tackle prospect to come out of the college ranks since Tyron Smith, and he’s probably more pro-ready than the once-gangly Smith was coming out of USC. I could see an argument for trading up for Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts, particularly considering the state of the Giants’ passing offense the last couple years. I view the positional value as being about the same (both are in my second tier of importance behind quarterback), but as good as Chase and Pitts are, Sewell is better at his position than they are at theirs.
Sewell has the prototypical blend of size and length, with long arms and a frame that carries his weight with ease. He’s an easy and balanced mover who always looks in control of his movements and surroundings, and meeting speed off the edge seems effortless. Oh, and he’s a mauler of a run blocker who should be able to execute in any blocking scheme you want to run.
Nick Falato - Penei Sewell
I want to preface my statements before I opine on the matter...I’m not for trading up. The Giants are in no position to trade up with the lack of depth in many spots. If anything, they should trade down and accumulate more assets. With that stated, two players come to mind - Oregon tackle Penei Sewell and LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase.
Both these players aren’t seniors who opted out of the 2020 season, and both those facts may lead one to believe that general manager Dave Gettleman would be a bit hesitant to select them - I think that could be foolish (especially if they fall). Both the tackle and the wide receiver position are pretty deep, but both these players are at the top of my rankings, with the caveat that Waddle is a different type of receiver than Chase.
I’m more of a believer in building the offensive line and providing Daniel Jones a foundation so he has more than a second to throw the football. I really like what I’ve seen from Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater as well, but I’m not sure if he’d be available. I’m going with Sewell here, a player who could thrive at tackle but can also play guard if needed. Giants’ fans know the importance of the offensive line and the team just hasn’t gotten it right recently; the addition of Sewell will drastically improve whatever position the Giants want him to play. Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, and Penei Sewell - name a better young offensive line; so much potential.
Emily Iannaconi - Jaylen Waddle
While I echo many of the Sewell thoughts, in the spirit of suggesting a different name, I am going to propose Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. Now, I know that some mock drafts have Waddle going to the Giants at No. 11. But I think Waddle has demonstrated enough promise during his three years with Alabama to get drafted earlier than No. 11 overall. I also propose Waddle as a realistic get for New York because I expect DeVonta Smith and Ja’Marr Chase to go in the top five. While it remains unlikely that the Giants trade up at all, I think that trading up for a spot between 5 and 10 is more realistic than top five overall, which would require far too much draft capital than the Giants can give.
Waddle has the potential to help the Giants offense and special teams in an immediate way. Daniel Jones needs more weapons to throw to on offense and Waddle could provide a much-needed explosive element. At about 5 feet 10 and 185 pounds, Waddle is not very big but he has the quickness to make up for it. He broke his ankle in the Tide’s fifth game last season, but was having a stellar season beforehand. His worst game of the season up until that point was a six-catch, 120-yard performance against Ole Miss. Not too shabby.
Waddle’s strength is also in his ability to create separation. Throughout his five games in 2020, it was common to see Waddle wide open on plays when he was not the intended target. This ability would give Jones more options and in turn, hopefully help get the Giants’ offense back on track.
Joseph Czikk - Kyle Pitts
Dave Gettleman and the Giants need to go pass-catcher with their first choice. I’d love to see them draft either one of the trio of Florida TE Kyle Pitts, LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase or Alabama WR DeVonta Smith.
Pitts would be my first choice. Do I think the Giants will take him? Maybe not, considering head coach Joe Judge’s huge vote of confidence on Evan Engram last week. Do I think the Giants should take Pitts? Heck, yes.
Remember what NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. “I think you can make a strong case he’s the best player in the draft.”
There’s a few reasons for my choice. First, and most obvious, Daniel Jones needs more weapons. The offense needs more help than just Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. Adding a consistent pass-catching tight end threat in Pitts would add a unique dimension to Jason Garrett’s playbook.
Second, the Engram experiment simply hasn’t worked for me and I think we’ve seen what we need to see out of Engram. I think it’s time to move on after the 2021 season. It feels like Engram will continue to struggle with above average to good play (not excellent) along with perennial injury concerns.
The Giants should cut their losses and invest in the dynamic Pitts.
Ryan Magill - Penei Sewell
Before I get going, I want to point out that obviously the Giants do not need Sewell. If they are trading up, it is likely to grab their pick of the receivers in this draft (of which mine is Devonta Smith, after my brother convinced me). At the same time, the Giants would almost be certain to get a solid upgrade to the wide receiver room at 11. So if I’m going up, then I’m going up to make a big play. And there’s no bigger or better than the 6-foot-6, 331-pound tackle out of Oregon, Penei Sewell.
There has honestly been a TON of prospect fatigue around Sewell. The hype he had going into last season was off the charts as the reigning Outland Trophy winner, awarded to the best lineman in college football which he was the first ever sophomore to win. His decision to opt out robbed us off seeing his incredible abilities again at Oregon, but the stats and the eye test show you a pro-ready NFL tackle who has room to grow further into a Hall-of-Fame-type player. Back in May of last year, PFF released a rather flashy-titled article: “Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell is one of the best tackle prospects we have ever seen”. But as PFF explains by the metrics, with his ability in both run and pass blocking as well as his nasty streak and hand usage and footwork, the assumption that Sewell could really be the next Joe Thomas-like player is legitimate. Go watch some highlights of his while you’re at it.
Talented players like Sewell are generational. And I believe that if Trevor Lawrence stayed at Clemson another year, Sewell would be the consensus best player in this draft regardless of position. If I’m trading up for a lineman, I want a guy who can keep Daniel Jones upright and open up running lanes for Saquon Barkley. Sewell can do both better than practically every other tackle in the class. He is as good a player as the Giants would ever have the chance to draft, so I’m going all out for him (in our hypothetical scenario).
Valentine’s View — Ja’Marr Chase
If you want the best possible weapon for Daniel Jones and Jason Garrett, there is only one right answer to this question — LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. He is dominant at the catch point, and an impact player at all three levels of the field.
Apologies to Kyle Pitts, Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith, Chase is the best receiver in this draft class. that makes him the best offensive weapon in this class. If I’m trading up, he’s the guy I’m going after. I can certainly see the arguments for Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell, especially since i have always espoused a build your team from the lines out philosophy. I just believe Chase could be a game-changer for Jones.
Thing is, I’m not trading up. The price for moving up would be steep — probably a high pick this year and next in addition to No. 11. The Giants have only six draft picks and they need them all. They also can’t be in the business of giving up future high picks, especially when the 11th pick puts them in position to draft a really good player as it is.
As much as I would love to get Chase into a Giants uniform, I’m not willing to pay the price it would likely take to make it happen.
If the Giants were to trade up from No. 11 in the draft, which non-QB should be the target?
This poll is closed
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama