ESPN draft analysts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper have released a joint three-round mock draft and released it just over a week before the commencement of the 2021 NFL Draft. There’s been a lot of rumors flying around about the nature of the New York Giants’ 11th selection; will Dave Gettleman, after eight years of never trading back, finally attempt to gain value on Day 2 and into Day 3, or will he stay put and select a more blue chip type of player? Time will tell!
This is how the board fell for the two ESPN analysts, with Kiper starting the selections:
- Jacksonville: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
- New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
- San Francisco: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
- Atlanta: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
- Cincinnati: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
- Miami: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
- New England (Kiper TRADE with Detroit): Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
- Carolina: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
- Denver: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
- Dallas : Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The desired scenario materialized in this mock; five quarterbacks were selected leaving Pitts, Sewell, Chase, Slater, and Surtain II as the five other players drafted before the Giants picked at 11. Kiper was selecting for the Giants. He had his choice of either Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith, Penn State LB Micah Parsons, USC OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, or any EDGE in the class.
Kiper’s selection at 11: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Waddle was the selection to the Eagles at 12, which means one-third of the players selected in the top 12 were from Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide. I am a big fan of Smith’s game; his ability to defeat press coverage in college never really mattered. He has a diverse release package and understands the nuances of running routes so well that he gave trouble to players like South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn. I would be pleased with this addition.
However, I would prefer Waddle to Smith because of his game breaking, electrifying, speed, burst, and ability to manipulate defensive back’s angles. I believe a combination of Waddle and Saquon Barkley would significantly stress defensive coordinators and it would really give players like Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, and either tight end such an advantage with space on the field. Good luck putting seven to eight men in the box consistently to stop Barkley with a two-deep safety look. Furthermore, Waddle is also an excellent route runner with strong hands in his own right.
Both players reportedly have insatiable appetites for playing football which aligns with Joe Judge (and every coach for that matter). ESPN has a meter of “chances the player selected is available for the pick” after every selection. Smith’s chances at 11 were at 47.6 percent and Waddle’s at 12 were 49.9 percent.
McShay makes the next two selections for the New York Giants 42 and 76. On the board at 42, Penn State EDGE Jayson Oweh sat, along with Washington EDGE Joe Tryon, Texas EDGE/LB Joseph Ossai, Alabama tackle Alex Leatherwood, Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Oklahoma iOL Creed Humphrey, and Alabama DL Christian Barmore. McShay didn’t go with any of these players.
McShay’s selection at 42: Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
Perkins is more of a situational pass rusher who can convert speed to power; put Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins on the ground with a speed to power rush. Packs violence into his rushes and uses a frequent chop/dip/rip that he attempts to employ, along with a push-pull move to stack and quickly shed tackles - he’s crafty with his hand use, but doesn’t have a go to counter moves once his plan fails. Short area quickness allows him to close width and collapse into the pocket. Uses long arm technique to raise the center of gravity of linemen while quickly getting to the half man and either ripping or swimming through blocks while taking advantage of the set up move.
I wish Perkins was a better and more consistent run defender. He’s not a bad run defender by any means, but he’s a bit narrow in his lower half and he has struggled to set the edge against more bullying tackles. Perkins has some bend to his game and I love his competitive toughness.
If this scenario played out, I would be a bit perplexed. The Giants certainly need an EDGE, but I feel serious consideration would have to be given to all the players listed above. If it were me and the Giants felt it necessary to go EDGE, Oweh is the easy pick here as long as Coach Sean Spencer and Pat Flaherty vouch for his football character.
Oweh’s upside is through the roof from an athletic standpoint and there’s familiarity with the coaching staff. Yes, he didn’t record a sack in 2020, but his traits were still showing up on film. The speed, quickness, bend, and overall movement ability combined with his freakish measurements make him a wise “risk” in the second round for a coaching staff that prides itself on teaching.
Between the two selections made by Kiper and McShay, the former in the first round and the latter in the second, the Giants have addressed their need at the EDGE in the second while adding a playmaker at wide receiver in the first round. McShay is up again with the 76th pick in the draft. On the board are Houston EDGE Payton Turner, Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth, North Carolina LB Chazz Surratt, Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis and Josh Myers.
McShay’s selection at 76: Chazz Surratt, LB, UNC
I like this pick. The Giants invested four late round picks into the position in 2020 after adding an underrated player in free agency named Blake Martinez. The Giants converted two (Cam Brown & Carter Coughlin) of those four picks into more of an EDGE role which leaves T.J. Brunson and Tae Crowder. The latter had an exceptional rookie season for Mr. Irrelevant, but he’s still a player the Giants can upgrade.
I’m sure most Giants fans would agree that we saw far too many snaps of David Mayo and Devonte Downs last year at linebacker next to Martinez. Surratt would upgrade the overall athletic ability of the linebacking corps and he would be a great weapon as a blitzer in base/nickel sub-packages. Had 62 pressures, 12.5 sacks, and 22.5 tackles for a loss in his two years playing linebacker for the Tar Heels.
Averaged nearly 10 tackles a game in college and he really has a nose for the football while using his sideline to sideline speed to roam the second level. Attacks downhill with aggressiveness and reads the offense well for a player who was a quarterback for his first two years at UNC. There’s a lot of potential growth still with Surratt and he would be a sound addition at this point in the draft for the Giants.
If the Giants land DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama), Ronnie Perkins (EDGE, Oklahoma), and Chazz Suratt (LB, UNC) in the draft, I wouldn’t hate it. They have to add EDGE and finding a young dynamic pass catcher like Smith shouldn’t be taken off the table after the acquisitions of Kenny Golladay and John Ross. Surratt is also a player who still has some to learn at linebacker, and his physical profile fits well with the speed of the NFL, albeit his play strength is still only adequate.
There are other EDGE rushers that I prefer for the Giants, ones that I feel may be a bit more dynamic in year one, in terms of upside and being an all around EDGE player. I would have also selected, as I wrote earlier, Waddle over Smith, but the latter is a stud and I wouldn’t mind that pick either. The draft is quickly approaching and there are so many questions left to be answered. Should be an interesting week and half!