We’re well into Mock Draft Season as we go through the process leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft.
We don’t keep track of all the mock drafts coming out this time of year — we wouldn’t be doing anything else if that were the case. But we do try to keep an eye on the picks for the New York Giants from the biggest outlets. They aren’t necessarily more accurate than anyone else, but they are more connected. So draft experts like Todd McShay or Lance Zierlein could be incorporating what they’ve heard from contacts around the league.
Today we have Todd McShay’s Mock Draft 2.0, and he follows pretty much everyone else in getting a wide receiver for the Giants.
25. New York Giants - Zay Flowers (WR, Boston College)
We saw a run on corners in the middle of the first round, and now we get another on receivers. The Giants’ wideout issues are well documented, as they relied on Darius Slayton, Richie James and Isaiah Hodgins to carry the load last season. Wan’Dale Robinson will be returning from a torn ACL, but Slayton and James will join Sterling Shepard (also had a torn ACL) in free agency. It looks like Daniel Jones will be back in New York, but will GM Joe Schoen improve the supporting cast?
I really like Flowers’ skill set. He’s elusive in the open field and has the speed to separate from coverage. Last season, he caught 78 balls for 1,077 yards and 12 TDs while forcing a bunch of missed tackles.
There’s a not-insignificant subset of Giants fans who might riot if this is the pick.
Flowers, like Jordan Addison (23rd overall), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (24th overall), Jayin Hyatt and a number of other receivers in this class are going to be considered “undersized” by the traditional NFL archetypes. So teams that want to add receiving help are going to have to reckon with that.
Personally, I like Zay Flowers. He’s a great athlete and technician as a receiver, but he’s also inherently limited by his frame.
He graded out as a 7.0 in my Prospect Profile, but while that would put him at the low end of a Day 2 prospect, the individual grades of his traits came out pretty polarized. For instance, he graded out very strongly in “Athletic Ability”, “Competitive Toughness”, “Play Speed” and “Yards After Catch” with 8’s in each category. However, those were balanced by 6’s in “Play Strength” and “Blocking” and a 5 in “Contested Catch”.
I do believe that a team can justify selecting high in the 2nd round and even at the bottom of the first round IF they have a plan to maximize his strengths and not expose his weaknesses.
The Giants could also have gone with Jalin Hyatt in this scenario, who is probably going to put on a show at the upcoming Scouting Combine as a more-traditional outside receiving prospect.
If the Giants want to add a bigger-bodied receiver, they could have an opportunity to do so in the second round with players like Xavier Hutchinson, A.T. Perry, or Cedric Tillman.
As an aside, I hate the sentiment that the Giants’ receivers were a “problem” last year. Just because Hodgins, Slayton, and James aren’t “names” doesn’t mean they were at all bad. They were fine and would have made perfectly respectable wide receivers 2, 3, and 4. The Giants need a true “Number 1” receiver, but nobody needs to insult men who played their butts off last year and came through down the stretch for the Giants. That’s just lazy and bad analysis.
Overall, this is an excellent year for the Giants to go “pure BPA” and select the highest-graded player, (almost) regardless of position. The Giants have needs all over their roster and could benefit from adding an interior offensive lineman, an edge defender, a linebacker, a cornerback, or a safety — as well as top pass catcher. The draft board might not line up for them to find a receiver in the first round, and they shouldn’t force the pick.