The 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl is in the rearview mirror, and there are only two draft slots left to be determined. So why not take the time for a quick mock draft?
To put a bit different (and topical) spin on things, all of my picks for the New York Giants are made from participants from the Senior Bowl. This year’s Senior Bowl had a very strong roster, so it was actually easier than expected to fill out an entire seven-round draft with only players from that game.
Since we’re still a long way away from the official Big Blue View Big Board, I’m going to use the DraftTek big board. To keep things semi-realistic, limited myself to players ranked five slots over or under the Giants’ draft spot. I also limited myself to just a couple “value” picks for the whole draft.
Round 1 - 25th overall
O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida
This was something of a no-brainer. Torrence immediately fills a need on the Giants’ offensive line and showed surprising athleticism to go with a massive frame and evident power. Torrence was one of the best players on the property in Senior Bowl practices and would go a long way toward helping to shore up the Giants’ offensive line.
The combination of Torrence, Joshua Ezeudu, Ben Bredeson, and Nick Gates should be able to lock down the two guard spots and provide depth at multiple other positions.
Other options: Isaiah Foskey (EDGE, Notre Dame), Jordan Battle (S, Alabama),
Round 2 - 57th overall
Rashee Rice, WR, SMU
This was a much more difficult pick than the previous one. I fully support the idea of getting another starting caliber cornerback for the Giants’ defense, as well as continuing to build the offensive line.
But building the receiving corps has to be the top priority for Joe Schoen and the Giants’ front office. I’d prefer to get a “blue chip” receiver at the top of the draft, but that might not be an option for the Giants. But while Rice might not be the “Number One” wideout the Giants need, he should at least be a high-quality Number Two who can compliment Wan’Dale Robinson and Isaiah Hodgins (or be complimented by them, as the case may be).
Rice has solid (if unspectacular) size at 6-foot, 200 pounds, and 91⁄2-inch hands. He’ll need to adjust to the NFL after playing in SMU’s more wide-open offense, but he has the tools to do so.
Other options: Kyu Blu Kelly (CB, Stanford), Cody Mauch (OL, NDSU), Tyrique Stevenson (CB, Miami)
Round 3 - 89th overall
Olusegun Oluwatimi (OC, Michigan)
I knew I wanted to add a center here, and the board lined up for me. I went with Oluwatimi as opposed to Steve Avila because I figured Avila would be off the board before my pick here. He had a good week at the Senior Bowl and has been good at both guard and center over the last couple years at TCU.
Oluwatimi started his college career at the Air Force academy before transferring to Virginia, and finally Michigan before the 2022 season. He immediately established himself as a good player on a well-regarded line and earned praise throughout the 2022 season. Oluwatimi is smart, quick, agile, and has enough play strength to deal with big interior defenders.
Other options: Steve Avila (iOL, TCU), Jarrett Patterson (iOL, Notre Dame), Xavier Hutchinson (WR, Iowa State)
Sydney Brown (S, Illinois)
Right now we don’t know what will happen with Julian Love. I expect Love to be back, but we don’t know that it’s going to happen. And given how frequently Wink Martindale used big nickel or safety-heavy sub-packages to help add athleticism at the second level, making sure the Giants are well stocked at the position is a good idea. Brown was good size, athleticism, and the versatility to play multiple roles in a defense. He’ll help give the Giants more depth if Love is retained, or help them weather the loss if Love departs in free agency.
Other options: Cameron Latu (TE, Alabama), Jonathan Mingo (WR, Ole Miss)
Round 4 - 128th overall
Darius Rush (CB, South Carolina)
I mentioned before that I wanted to add another starting caliber cornerback to the Giants’ defense. Considering Adoree Jackson’s injury history (even when he isn’t returning punts), as well as that of Aaron Robinson, having a 1b (or c) corner is a good idea.
We also know that the Giants were very interested in Sauce Gardner a year ago. Rush has good size at 6-foot-1⅝ inches, 196 pounds, 32 ¾-inch arms, and was the fastest player in Senior Bowl practices. He also showed good fluidity and agility for a long, fast corner in drills. I honestly expect Rush’s stock to rise into Day 2 before all is said and done, so this feels like a steal, even if it’s a slight reach by the board right now.
Other options: Trey Palmer (WR, Nebraska), Ronnie Bell (WR, Michigan), Payne Durham (TE, Purdue), Michael Wilson (WR, Stanford)
Round 5 - 162nd overall
SirVocea Dennis (LB, Pittsburgh)
The Giants desperately need linebacker help, and I wish I could have addressed the position before now. While there were linebacker prospects ranked around where the Giants were picking earlier in the draft, none of them were Senior Bowl players.
Dennis was held out of the Senior Bowl itself after suffering a minor foot injury late in Thursday’s practice. He also measured much lighter than expected at 6-foot⅜ inches and 218 pounds. He had an interception returned for a touchdown in practice and was reportedly solid against the run as well.
Dennis might not be an ideal solution at linebacker, but he could be an upgrade at a position in dire need of one.
Round 6 - 208th overall
Byron Young (iDL, Alabama)
Ranked: 204th overall
I’m giving myself another slight value pick here. Young is more of a power lineman than an athletic penetrator, so he has a decent chance of being here. He looks like he should be a penetrating 3-technique or 5-technique at 6-foot-3, 297 pounds, with 34-inch arms, but he seems to lack the quick-twitch athleticism.
But even so, the Giants need to improve their run defense and add depth along their defensive line. Young and a returning D.J. Davidson should help the Giants’ depth up front.
Round 6 — 218th overall
Elijah Higgins (WR/TE, Stanford)
Higgins is going to be an interesting player to follow over the process and through his rookie year. He was a big wide receiver at Stanford, but was asked to practice with the tight ends at the Senior Bowl. He certainly has the size to be a modern “hybrid” tight end at 6-foot 2⅝ inches, 228 pounds, and with 10½-inch hands. We saw the Giants make use of Lawrence Cager as a receiving mismatch, and Higgins could be an upgrade as well as an unexpected dimension for the Giants’ 12-personnel package.
Round 7 - 242nd overall
Alex Ward (LS, UCF)
A long snapper?
Sure, why not? A this point in the draft we’re looking for players who can be core special teams players and it’s also notable that Casey Kreiter is a free agent. Ward has good size and has been a consistent contributor for UCF’s special teams. He also earned the praise of his teammates at the Senior Bowl, and was named the Special Teams Practice Player of the Week by the other American Team players.
Round 7 — 245th overall
Byron Young (EDGE, Tennessee)
No, that isn’t a typo, there were two prospects named Byron Young at the Senior Bowl.
This Byron Young is a raw EDGE after walking on in the JUCO ranks in 2019, having his 2020 season cancelled due to COVID, and then transferring to Tennessee prior to 2021 (he also got offers from Georgia, LSU, and Auburn). Young has a reputation as a quick, explosive, and slippery rusher who could earn snaps as a pass rush specialist early in his career.
In that regard, he could replace Oshane Ximines as well as help out on special teams.
He likely falls here due to his short (32⅛-inch) arms and age (He’ll be 25 at the time of the draft). But as with my previous pick of a long snapper, at this point in the draft, we’re just looking for players who have the chance to contribute.
Round 7 — 255th overall
Andrei Iosivas (WR, Princeton)
We’ve heard that Iosivas caught Joe Schoen’s eye this year, and the Princeton wideout certainly has intriguing tools. He weighed in at 6-foot 3, 212 pounds, though he only has 8 ⅝-inch hands, and runs a reported 4.29 second 40-yard dash.
Iosivas had an up-and-down week of practice at the Senior Bowl, flashing his upside as well as the rawness in his game. He probably won’t be a “priority free agent” if he backs up that 4.2 speed over the course of the draft process, but I wanted to get his name on here.