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Giants 2021 Draft: What is my ideal draft scenario? It’s complicated

There are several ways this could go, and all of them could help the Giants get better

NFL Draft Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

I have been posting mock draft scenarios for the New York Giants each Sunday now for more than two months. I suppose it’s only fair that someone try to pin me down on what my favorite scenario for how the Giants draft might unfold.

A reader actually did that over the weekend, sending in a ‘Big Blue View Mailbag’ entry asking that question. Because we had so many outstanding mailbag questions, and because I thought this deserved more than a quick ‘mailbag’ answer I figured I would dive all the way into the deep end here.

So, here is the full question:

Anthony Macri asks: My question is this: I’ve been following and reading all of the mocks, but what is your ideal draft class for the NY Giants this year? No trades, and nothing outside of reason (for example, Sewell in the 3rd round) - what would be your ideal picks for the NY Giants in each draft slot?

Truth is, I don’t really have a favorite scenario. I do have favorite players, and guys I would like to see the Giants target at picks No. 11, 42 and 76 based on how they choose to approach the draft.

Let’s go through my three scenarios.

The wide receiver scenario

This is the scenario that mock drafts have landed on for the Giants more often than any other up to this point. It is also the scenario I landed on when I did my final mock draft on Sunday.

in case you missed it, don’t remember, don’t want to click the link I’ll do the work for you. That broke down like this:

Round 1 (No. 11) — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Round 2 (No. 42) — Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
Round 3 (No. 76) — Quincy Roche, Edge, Miami

Many Giants fans think wide receiver at 11 would be a luxury pick. I disagree. The Giants signed one wide receiver of consequence — Kenny Golladay. That doesn’t mean the position is fixed. It doesn’t mean the Giants have enough help at that position and should ignore a potentially great player because they have Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton.

Golladay has had injury issues. Sterling Shepard is a concussion away from perhaps needing to consider walking away from the game. John Ross has never proven anything but that he can run fast. Slayton is good, but not that good.

I prefer Waddle to DeVonta Smith because of the big-play ability and the return game versatility. Either player, though, makes the Giants better.

To be a plug and play guard who can compete right away with Shane Lemieux, Will Hernandez and Zach Fulton in Round 2 and a player in Round 3 who might help the pass rush makes this a scenario I would love.

Overall, this is probably my favorite scenario.

The edge rusher scenario

There is a lot of chatter that the Giants might be the first team to take an edge rusher. Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network has said he thinks the go Waddle or edge rusher. Others have said they also believe the Giants are the first team on the board really considering an edge rusher.

My “what I would do” mock draft saw me go in this direction. The cat is out of the bag that I am a fan of Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari, and that is who I took in that scenario. If the Giants are going to take an edge rusher, that’s the one I would bang the table for. If the Giants prefer Miami’s Jaelen Phillips or Michigan’s Kwity Paye, fine. Not sure I would agree, but they know what they are looking for better than I do.

In this mock, I again ended up with Davis at 42. Whether it’s Davis or someone else, I think 42 is a good spot for a guard capable of challenging for a starting role. The Giants might be able to find one in Round 3, as well, but there would be fewer options at that point for getting something I think they have to come out of this draft with. In Round 3 of that draft, I took Michigan wide receiver Nico Collins, one of my favorite players. In this scenario, I think the Giants could justify doing just about whatever they want with the 76th pick. I went receiver as I love Collins, and there were several available receivers here who were value. So, this scenario ends up like this:

Round 1 (No. 11) — Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
Round 2 (No. 42) — Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
Round 3 (No. 76) — Nico Collins, WR, Michigan

The offensive lineman scenario

This is the Rashawn Slater scenario. The Giants, I believe, could wait until Day 2 to find a player capable of competing to be a starting guard. They might be able to hold off as long as pick No. 116 in Round 4. The list of guards I like in this draft is long. Aaron Banks of Notre Dame is No. 98 on the NFL Mock Draft Consensus Big Board, Kendrick Green of Illinois is No. 108 and Ben Cleveland of Georgia is No. 109. It’s conceivable one or all of those players could be available at No. 116. The Big Blue View Consensus Big Board has nine interior offensive linemen with third- or fourth-round grades.

There is undeniably a lot riding on the performance of the Giants’ offensive line in 2021. They didn’t do anything big to address that in free agency — losing Kevin Zeitler and Cameron Fleming and adding Zach Fulton and Nate Solder is probably a net loss. The Giants are banking on development of young players they have already invested in, and more stable coaching.

They still have to have more talent. The question for them is how early in the draft to add offensive line talent.

In this scenario, they do that right away. I would be fine with that. Try to finish the offensive line. Slater would give the Giants a player who would probably be a Day 1 starter at right guard, and would offer the flexibility to kick out to right tackle should 2020 third-round pick Matt Peart not be up to the task.

When I did this in a March 7 mock, I ended up with Collins at 42 and Roche at 76. So, I added a receiver and an edge rusher. This mock:

Round 1 (No. 11) — Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
Round 2 (No. 42) — Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
Round 3 (No. 76) — Quincy Roche, Edge, Miami

The Giants could do other things. They could trade down and address offensive line/edge/linebacker that way. They could select a cornerback at No. 11. They could select linebacker Micah Parsons.

I don’t think I could say any of those decisions would be the “wrong” one. To me, what the Giants need most is difference-makers. I quite honestly don’t care what position they play.