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Giants select Rashawn Slater in this 7-round mock draft from CBS

What impact would drafting a lineman have on the rest of the Giants’ draft?

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NFL Draft is getting closer, and we will finally have an answer to the question “Who will the New York Giants draft?”

But until we get that answer, we’ll be getting a steady stream of mock drafts. We try to keep track of all the bigger mocks out there, and had to mention this seven-round mock draft from Josh Edwards of CBSsports.

For once, the mock doesn’t have the Giants drafting a wide receiver or defender in the first round, but what impact will that have on the rest of their draft?

Round 1 - 11th overall

Rashawn Slater, OL,

The Giants will happily end the fall of Slater. A lineman with five-position flexibility, Slater can step into an offensive line that made strides last year in the aftermath of a coaching shakeup.

  • Round 2 - 42nd overall - Jabril Cox (LB, LSU)
  • Round 3 - 76th overall - Chris Rumph II (EDGE, Duke)
  • Round 4 - 116th overall - Janarius Robinson (EDGE, Florida State)
  • Round 6 - 196th overall - Marquez Stevenson (WR, Houston)
  • Round 6 - 201st overall - Josh Ball (OT, Marshall)

Raptor’s Thoughts

I might be in the minority here, but I think I would be disappointed if the Giants’ draft worked out like this.

Nothing against Rashawn Slater, who is a good player, but let’s be real: He is being drafted as a guard in these mocks. And unless the player is of Quentin Nelson’s caliber, I’m just not comfortable trying to justify drafting a guard this high.

Guards certainly matter, but as we just learned with Kevin Zeitler, the difference in the impact that a good guard and a great guard can have on a game simply isn’t big enough to commit premium resources to the position. When it comes to the economics of team construction, I tend to feel that the first round — and the top half of the first round in particular — should be reserved for players at positions with an athletic premium. By picking Slater, the Giants are denying themselves the opportunity to draft Micah Parsons, Azeez Ojulari, or Jaelan Phillips (assuming they are comfortable with his medicals), any of whom would have a bigger direct impact than a guard.

Looking ahead to the second round bears out the opportunity cost. In a vacuum, I love the pick of Jabril Cox for the Giants. He is a very good and productive linebacker who does a lot of the things a modern off-ball linebacker needs to do. But with Landon Dickerson, Alex Leatherwood, Samuel Cosmi and Creed Humphrey still on the board, the Giants could have gotten an impact player at a premium position as well as a lineman who could do whatever the Giants envision with Slater without much of an appreciable drop-off.

Moving on to the third and fourth rounds, I’ll admit that I haven’t spent much time with Rumph’s film. He is an undersize EDGE player who’s position could be uncertain at the NFL level. He currently ranks 194th on The Draft Network’s big board, and seeing him this high in the draft is a bit odd. Robinson could wind up being a steal in the fourth, as he has all the tools to be an effective EDGE at the NFL level, but has yet to fully harness them and play up to his athletic potential. Perhaps NFL coaching will unlock that athletic ability and let him become the EDGE he looks like he should be, or perhaps he is who he has been. Of course, it’s a fourth round pick, so losing a bet on upside is less painful there than in the first two days.