Round 1 (No. 22) — Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Yes, in Reuter’s scenario GM Joe Schoen moves up three spots to grab a cornerback to aid Wink Martindale’s defense. The Giants also give up one of their two third-round picks (No. 100 overall) and get a sixth-round pick from the Baltimore Ravens.
If the Giants find a receiver in free agency, I could see them jumping ahead of the Vikings to grab a corner like “Spoon” to fortify the secondary. He’s as competitive as they come, harassing receivers all day long, drawing flags and breaking up passes.
Pro Football Network says the 6-foot, 180-pound Witherspoon is “clearly the top man-coverage corner in the class.” PFN also says “while Witherspoon isn’t the fastest or biggest, there is no debating his ability to flourish as a man corner — you can put a fork in it.”
Reuter makes this pick based on the Giants finding impact wide receiver help in free agency. That is an iffy proposition based on the free agents expected to be available.
In Reuter’s scenario, two wide receivers come off the board after the Giants select in Round 1. Jalin Hyatt of Tennessee goes to the Ravens with the pick at 25 they got from the Giants, and Rashee Rice of TCU goes No. 31 to the Chicago Bears via trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Reuter also passes on two other popular Round 1 mock draft picks for the Giants — Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson and Florida guard O’Cyrus Torrence.
I have no issue with selecting a cornerback with the Giants’ first pick — Wink Martindale’s defense needs quality cornerback play. If Reuter believes Witherspoon can have a bigger impact than the receivers he passed on, that’s fine. I haven’t studied the player yet, so I can’t argue. My only issue is the assumption that the Giants can find what they need at receiver in free agency.
Something else really interesting. Reuter has TCU wide receiver Quenton Johnston, considered by some to be the best wide receiver in the entire class, lasting until pick No. 46 in Round 2 (New England Patriots).
Round 2 (No. 57) — Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati
Reuter dives into the wide receiver pool and gets the Giants help here in the second round. Reuter does not offer explanations for his second- and third-round picks, so we’re left without his takes on those players.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein gives the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Scott a 6.35 pre-draft grade, putting him in the “will eventually be a plus starter” category. Zierlein writes:
While the comparison to T.Y. Hilton might raise some eyebrows, Scott is a similar player in body type, speed and versatility. With just two seasons of starting experience at receiver, his route running and ball skills are almost certain to continue to improve and become less of an issue for him in the future. He has the speed and shiftiness to uncover on all three levels. Also, he offers jet sweep and receiver screen value. A smallish frame and lack of hand strength are likely to continue to plague him on contested catches, though. Scott is an ascending talent whose versatility and playmaking talent create an easily projectable upside as a good starting slot receiver early in his career.
For those wondering about Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz (I was), he went No. 43 to the New York Jets.
Now, let’s talk about Scott. The Giants do, as everyone who pays attention knows, need more talent at wide receiver. Here are a couple of Scott highlights:
Blaze out from Tyler Scott pic.twitter.com/7xjaVYBeGn— Jake Schyvinck (@JakeNFLDraft) February 7, 2023
Cincinnati’s Tyler Scott has game breaking deep speed but he’s also such a dynamic player in space after the catch.— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) February 7, 2023
Scott had 899 yards and 9 TDs this past season for the Bearcats and looks primed to be selected on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/UnjoevjJkm
My initial thought is that Scott would seem to mirror what Wan’Dale Robinson already brings the Giants. It would be nice to see the Giants find a big-bodied target for Daniel Jones who can win 50-50 balls. Still, the Giants drafted Robinson last year when they already had Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard on the roster. They had a plan for how to use Robinson. If the Giants drafted Scott, I’m sure they would do it with a plan in mind.
Round 3 (No. 89) — Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin
The Giants could use a long-term answer at center. They have been shifting players from other positions (Jon Halapio, Nick Gates) or adding stop-gap free agents (Billy Price, Jon Feliciano) for years now. Here, Reuter tries to put an end to that revolving door.
Zierlein gives Tippmann the same “will eventually be a plus starter” 6.35 grade that he have Scott. He writes:
Two-year starter with the weight room strength and athleticism for work in a variety of run schemes. Tippmann is taller than your average center, but he can bend enough to neutralize at the point of attack. He’s a fluid move blocker who can make wide pulls, climbing cut-offs and adjustments to moving targets in space. He’s recognized for his football intelligence in the pivot and is an effective communicator. He needs to play with better posture and tighter hands to stay mirrored in protection and to improve his body control through engagement. Tippmann’s size, strength, smarts and athleticism should help him become a starter in the NFL.
Draft Network writes:
Tippmann projects as a day-one starting center for multiple NFL offenses and schemes. Tippmann is a scheme-versatile blocker that impresses on both running and passing plays. His power and athleticism allow him to win single or double-team reps. Tippmann is the quarterback of the offensive line and his knowledge of blocking schemes will assist his acclimation to the league. He has the physical ability to develop into a long-term starting center in the league.
I LOVE this pick. I always caution that I am not a scout and can’t break down the intricacies of technique the way Chris and Nick can. I know what I like, though, and I like Tippmann. I have thus far watched just two of his games — Illinois and Ohio State in 2022 — and see nothing not to like.
Tippmann is 6-foot-6, 317 pounds. He made the Feldman’s Freaks list. Per that list, he does a 635-pound back squat, 455-pound bench press and ran a 1.65-second 10-yard split, which would have been faster than any offensive lineman at last year’s NFL Scouting Combine.
I like the versatility of TCU’s Steve Avila, who has extensive experience at guard and center. As a pure center prospect, though, I would have issue if Tippmann ended up as a Giant.