One of the more interesting exercises of the annual draft cycle is the combined Mel Kiper/Todd McShay multi-round mock draft. This year, Kiper and McShay have combined to go three rounds. Let’s look at their picks for the New York Giants.
Round 1 (No. 25) — Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Kiper made this pick. He says:
With the top three receivers off the board in this scenario, the Giants shouldn’t reach — which is what Todd is about to do for Dallas. New York should target a corner instead. Banks has the size, speed and instincts to be a No. 1 corner.
It has been a while since I mocked Banks to the Giants. It has also been a while since I have seen him available at No. 25 in a mock draft. Here, cornerbacks Christian Gonzalez, Devon Witherspoon and Joey Porter Jr. are gone. So, too, are wide receivers Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jordan Addison and Zay Flowers.
In this circumstance, Banks is a terrific selection. He often draws comparisons to Adoree’ Jackson, which is both good and bad. The weakness in the games of both is on-ball production — interceptions. Other than that, little to nothing to complain about.
Writing for 33rd Team, Greg Cosell says:
Banks is one of the better outside corner prospects in the 2023 NFL draft, as you project and transition him to the next level, with the size/length/athleticism/man coverage traits profile that always are in high demand. He has desired length and the loose easy transition fluidity that NFL teams look for, and his ability to play mirror match press man coverage at a high level puts him in the first-round traits category.
Banks is scheme versatile, with the recognition and understanding to play multiple zone coverage concepts effectively, and based on his 2022 tape, he should not have issues with the alignment and assignment and eye discipline that is required in zone,
Overall, Banks is a higher-level outside corner prospect with a complete skill set, but especially the athletic and competitive traits demanded to play man coverage in the NFL. I believe he would transition best and early to a team that features man coverage with press technique as a strong foundation of its coverage.
By the way, the reach Kiper said McShay was about to make was taking TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston for the Dallas Cowboys at No. 26. Which is exactly what McShay did.
Round 2 (No. 57) — John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota
Kiper’s choice. He says:
Todd and I probably overuse “plug and play,” but that’s exactly what Schmitz offers for the Giants. They need a starting center, and he can be that. He is a complete lineman.
The Giants need a center. I wrote recently that the Giants did not need, though, to select one in the first round. This mock is more evidence of that. In my view, center in Round 1 would be a need play for the Giants rather than a value one.
Another interesting thing about this mock is that it is another one from highly-respected, well-connected draft insiders that sees Wisconsin center Joe Tippmann selected before Schmitz. In this mock, McShay gave Tippmann to the New York Jets at No. 42.
Schmitz is absolutely a solid pick at this spot for the Giants.
Round 3 (No. 89) — Nathaniel Dell, WR, Houston
Kiper again ended up with the Giants’ pick. He says:
Dell had 199 catches over the past two seasons, and he was used inside and outside. In fact, 61 of those catches came when “Tank” was aligned wide right, while 60 receptions came when he was in the slot on the left side of the field. That’s versatility. At 5-foot-8, he isn’t big, but he has some ability after the catch. The Giants could add him to their stockpile of pass-catchers.
I know, I know, I know. Dell is 5-foot-8 and change and 163 pounds. I have come to this conclusion, though — if I can support drafting 166-pound cornerback Emmanuel Forbes in Round 1 (which I can) I can certainly support drafting Dell in Round 3.
Jonathan Mingo, Jayden Reed, Josh Downs, Marvin Mims, Cedric Tillman, A.T. Perry, Rashee Rice, Michael Wilson and Tyler Scott are all off the board here.
GM Joe Schoen says Brian Daboll wants separation ability from wide receivers above all else. There isn’t anyone better than Dell in this class at creating separation in the underneath areas of the field.
Dell has a 1.49-second 93rd percentile 10-yard split and a dizzying array of moves within his first few steps that can leave twisted-up cornerbacks helpless.
In his draft guide, Matt Waldman of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio says:
Nathaniel Dell isn’t the fastest of this group, but he’s not far away. Like Smith-Njigba, Dell has a strong toolbox of moves and he combines them as well as anyone in this class. His patient-but-sudden setups are also excellent.
Waldman also writes:
Dell is one of the two most dynamic open-field runners in this draft class. The other is running back Tyjae Spears. Dell has the build and sudden athletic ability of a big-play slot receiver but the speed and tracking ability to potentially earn work as a situational split end.
His skill as a ballcarrier after the catch rivals DeSean Jackson—it may be superior to Jackson. Where Jackson was much better than Dell at the same point of their careers was at the catch point.
Dell can win the ball high, low, away from his frame, in tight coverage, jumping back to the target, back-shoulder plays, and against hard contact. What he hasn’t done is shown consistency with many of these scenarios because he has lapses with his hands. He also mis-tracks targets and uses suboptimal hands positions to address targets based on their trajectory.
College stars get away with this on Saturdays, but they’re frequently exposed on Sundays against tighter coverage and savvier defenders with ball skills. Dell will certainly make big plays in the NFL with his current techniques, but he won’t make as many of them without refining his skills to reduce the potential for error.
If he can address his hands, Dell’s elite decision-making, creativity, footwork, and quickness make him a threat to win anywhere on the field. He’s an excellent return specialist and could begin his career in this role. The concern many teams will have is his stature.
I might prefer some of the players listed above, but I have no issue with taking Dell here. He has limitations, but he also fits the Giants as a quick separation, catch and run player. I doubt there is a better wide receiver option left on the board.
What do you think of this haul, Giants fans?