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2021 NFL Draft results: Analyzing the Giants’ Day 3 picks

Reviewing and analyzing the Giants’ picks on the third day

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a long, weird, and wild ride, but now the 2021 NFL Draft is in the books. We have a number of new New York Giants to meet, including three selected over the course of the third day of the draft. The Giants got the day started by selecting EDGE Elerson Smith, who could be a sleeper to be one of the big steals of the draft, following that up by RV Gary Brightwell and CB Rodarius Williams in the sixth round.

So what do the newest Giants bring to the team?

Round 4

116th overall - Elerson Smith, EDGE, Nothern Iowa

[Prospect Profile]

The selection of Smith further reinforces the Giants’ pass rush with a big, long, and explosively athletic EDGE rusher. Smith got on the national radar big time at the Reese’s Senior Bowl — you might recall Joe DeLeone and I talking him up all week — where he took advantage of the opportunity to show that he could win against big-school competition.

Smith posted a great pro day workout, with a 4.78 second 40-yard dash (1.6 second 10-yard split, 81st percentile), a 7.11 second 3-cone drill (69th percentile), a 10-foot-7 broad jump (94th percentile), and a 41 12-inch vertical leap (98th percentile). Smith has the ability to rush from both the left and right end, line up at multiple alignments, and rush from a variety of platforms. He also has good lower-body flexibility for a bigger EDGE, allowing him to rush with speed off the edge, as well as enough play strength to play with power when necessary.

Smith should slot in immediately as a rotational pass rusher and could work his way into a starting job in short order. He also presents solid depth in case Lorenzo Carter isn’t able to come back from his torn Achilles or if Azeez Ojulari’s knee does indeed become an issue.

It’s worth noting that ESPN’s SackSEER machine predicted that Smith would be the second most productive pass rusher in this draft class (trailing only Jaelan Phillips) before modifying the prediction for projected draft position.

Round 6

196th overall - Gary Brightwell, RB, Arizona

Brightwell is a compact, physical runner with good vision, contact balance, and play strength. Brightwell isn’t a great athlete, with okay speed and poor agility, but his vision, balance, and play strength allow him to pick his way through traffic and pick up yards after contact. He is also able to contribute in the passing game, showing good competitive competitive toughness as a pass protector and solid ball skills as a receiver.

Brightwell doesn’t have much wear and tear on his frame, carrying the ball just 245 times for 1,305 yards over the last three seasons.

201st overall - Rodarius Williams, CB, Oklahoma State

Williams is a slightly undersized cornerback prospect with solid athleticism. He has solid size and the ability to turn and run with most receivers, however he shows some lower-body stiffness and doesn’t appear to have great hip fluidity. That could limit him to zone coverages, or potentially make him a candidate to transition to more of a safety role.

Williams is a four-year senior, but doesn’t have much production over that span. He just two interceptions and 27 pass breakups (10 of which came his freshman year) over his four years at Oklahoma State. However, he does also have 169 total tackles and got at least one tackle for a loss each season.

Williams has some experience in the slot, and could potentially provide depth at multiple positions in the secondary.

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