The first and second waves of NFL Free Agency have come and gone, which means it’s time for (yet) another round of mock drafts!
Free agency has reshuffled the rosters — and therefore the perceived draft needs — of every one of the 32 NFL teams, and the New York Giants are no exception. In fact, the Giants might be one of the teams most impacted by free agency, as they are looking to repeat their 2016 success with a 2016-like spending spree.
And even beyond free agency, the top of the 2021 NFL Draft has been reshaped by a series of big trades which reshaped the top-10 and could have a huge impact on the Giants’ draft.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay released his latest two-round mock draft Thursday morning, and it is definitely a unique one from the Giants’ perspective.
Round 1: TRADE!
Trade: The Patriots go get the final ‘Big Five’ QB
I’m not sure the Patriots would jump into the top 10 for a QB, but hopping four spots for one is very much a possibility. The Giants could certainly stay put and draft Penei Sewell, but they could also be looking at defense — which means a slide back makes some sense. And for their troubles, the Patriots would likely send them something in the ballpark of a third-rounder this year (No. 96) and either a second- or third-rounder in 2022.
15. New York Giants (via mock trade with NE)
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, ILB, Notre Dame
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Giants look at USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, but they just took three linemen in the first five rounds last year, including Andrew Thomas at No. 4 overall. And while the defense was stellar last season, getting defensive coordinator Patrick Graham a versatile, rangy, fast, instinctive linebacker like Owusu-Koramoah will help keep it that way.
42. Carlos Basham Jr., DE, Wake Forest
Maybe the Giants go offensive line here — Texas’ Samuel Cosmi or Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Quinn Meinerz could fit — but their biggest need is on the edge. Basham is powerful and disruptive.
I’m probably ensuring that a trade will happen by saying this, but: McShay predicting that Dave Gettleman will trade back makes this a prediction sure to go wrong.
I get the logic that a team with such obvious connections with New England would be a likely trade partner. I also get that doing mock drafts is really more of an academic exercise than anything like an attempt to predict the way the actual draft will go — We all know pretty much every mock draft is likely to get completely blown up before the 10th pick. But trading back isn’t something Dave Gettleman does. It isn’t something Jerry Reese did. It isn’t something Ernie Accorsi, the man who shaped the draft philosophies of both men, did. I certainly don’t see the Giants passing on Penei Sewell for a third-round pick and a future Day 2 pick.
So moving past that to pick itself: I love the pick of JOK in a vacuum. He’s an undersized player, but he is an exceptional athlete and could plug one of the two major holes in the Giants’ defense (their coverage at the second level). Patrick Graham could have an absolute field day scheming for a player with JOK’s level of athleticism and versatility. At 6-foot-1, 221 pounds, JOK might be a bit small for Gettleman to be truly comfortable, but if Graham advocates hard enough, I could see it happening.
As for Basham, I know there are plenty of fans of the player, but I’m not among them. He tested very well in Wake Forest’s pro day, with particularly surprising agility numbers, but I just don’t see that bend and burst from him on tape. In fact, lower-body stiffness and an inability to bend the corner rushing with speed stood out to me on tape. He could fit in the Giants’ defense if he transitioned to a 4i or 5-technique role and added weight, however if the Giants want that kind of player, there are better fits with better value elsewhere.
If the Giants are looking to add a true EDGE player and a speed rusher to allow them to get pressure without having to scheme it, I’d look at Texas LB-turned-EDGE Joseph Ossai or Penn State’s Jayson Oweh. Ossai fits the mold of being athletic and versatile, while already having a knack for creating big plays. Oweh is unpolished and was very unproductive last year, but his sheer athleticism will make him worth a look.
It’s worth noting that not a single defensive tackle had been selected by the 42nd pick, meaning Alabama DT Christian Barmore is still on the board. Austin Johnson, Danny Shelton, and B.J. Hill are all free agents after the 2021 season and keeping the pipeline stocked with young defensive tackles is absolutely the Giants’ M.O. They could also look at Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis to reinforce their offensive line.
Elsewhere in the NFC East:
- Jaycee Horn (CB, South Carolina)
- Micah Parsons (LB, Penn State)
- Christian Darrisaw (OT, Virginia Tech)