Ask most NFL talent evaluators or draft analysts and they will tell you that there are usually 15-20 ‘true’ first-round picks in any draft class. Former New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese would annually put the number around 15.
What is the meaning of ‘true’ first-round picks? Those would be players who are Round 1 picks on the draft board of every NFL team or in every grading system. Players who basically everyone agrees are worthy of selection in the first round of the draft.
So, how many ‘true’ first-round picks are in the 2023 NFL Draft class? Matt Miller of ESPN judges that by his grading system there are 19 players with first-round grades. Since the New York Giants pick at No. 25 that means that the odds of having a ‘true’ first-round player available to them at a position of need are not great.
Miller’s first-round grades break down like this by position:
Quarterbacks (3); Running back (1); Wide receiver (2); Tight end (1); Offensive tackle (3); Interior offensive line (0); Edge rusher (4); Defensive tackle (1); Linebacker (0); Cornerback (3); Safety (1)
Let’s look at what MIller’s board of ‘true’ first-round picks might mean for the Giants. We will stick to positions of acknowledged need.
Wide receiver (2)
Miller has first-round grades on Jaxon Smith-Njigba of Ohio State (No. 12 overall) and Jordan Addison of USC (No. 13).
Miller says Smith-Njigba “shows excellent concentration and body control, and he can still get open even when the defense is keyed to stop him.” Miller says Addison “isn’t a big receiver (6-foot, 175 pounds), but he plays with great power after the catch and has the footwork to create separation in his route tree.”
In our weekly mock draft tracker, Smith-Njigba often falls to the Giants. So, by Miller’s grades the Giants would be fortunate to see that players.
Players Miller does not give first-round grades to include Quentin Johnston of TCU, Zay Flowers of Boston College and Jalin Hyatt of Tennessee. In NFL teams agree with Miller’s grades any or all of those players might be available to the Giants at No. 25.
Interior offensive line (0)
Florida guard O’Cyrus Torrence and Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz are often connected to the Giants at No. 25. By Miller’s grading system, those are players “who could sneak into Round 1 but don’t carry an across-the-board first-round grade.”
According to Miller’s calculations, if the Giants select a linebacker like Drew Sanders of Arkansas or Trenton Simpson of Clemson at No. 25 they are not taking a true first-round caliber player.
“The 2023 linebacker class is talented, and there are several players likely to be drafted in the first round — but none of them has a true Round 1 grade at this time.”
Miller has Devon Witherspoon of Illinois (No. 9), Joey Porter of Penn State (No. 12) and Christian Gonzalez of Oregon (No. 17) carrying first-round grades.
In mock drafts, we occasionally see Witherspoon or Porter slide to No. 25. If that were to happen in the real draft, those players would have to be a consideration for GM Joe Schoen.