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The Giants need a ball hawk, and Big Blue View snags one with Emmanuel Forbes at No. 25

Forbes lacks ideal size, but his style of play and instincts are just what the Giants need in the defensive backfield.

NFL: Combine
Emmanuel Forbes
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

As I sat and watched the New York Giants’ pick (my pick) at No. 25 in Round 1 in the annual SB Nation writer’s mock draft approach, I began to see how the scenario would unfold.

By pick No. 22 (Baltimore Ravens), the top four cornerbacks — Christian Gonzalez, Devon Witherspoon, Joey Porter Jr., Deonte Banks — were off the board. Same with wide receiver, where Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Zay Flowers and Jordan Addison were gone.

I could see a choice between TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston, Alabama safety Brian Branch, Clemson defensive lineman Brian Bresee and Mississippi State cornerback Emmanuel Forbes developing.

I knew where I was leaning, but like any good GM I reached out to my guys, Chris Pflum and Nick Falato, to see if we were on the same page. If we weren’t, could they convince me to go in a different direction?

Turns out, we agreed. The choice would be Mississippi State cornerback Emmanuel Forbes. Yes, he’s just 166 pounds. He is, though, a ball-hawking cornerback with man-to-man coverage skills and excellent instincts. The Giants need a cornerback who can not only cover, but who can turn the ball over. Forbes had 14 interceptions, six returned for touchdowns, in college.

Falato said:

“I love Forbes…I get the outlier trait but the guy is a ball hawk and the Giants ranked last in interceptions last season.”

Pflum said:

“I do agree on Forbes, and I’m not sure how much Schoen and Co. care about physical thresholds. They didn’t care with Wan’Dale or Flott, but those are also Day 2 picks. I wish we had more data points to get their preferences.

“If we think they don’t care about the size, then I’d go with Forbes. I’d rather take a cornerstone position in the first.”

33rd Team projects Forbes as the No. 2 cornerback in the class. They say he is a first-round pick and Year 1 starter:

Forbes is a lean corner with good length who lacks play strength. While his physical attributes are more than adequate, it is his confidence, instincts and ball skills that make him a likely first round pick and Day 1 starter.

His pesky play style is likely to annoy opponents, but he backs it up by making plays on the ball at an abnormally high rate.

However, he is not just a boom or bust player despite his aggressive style. While picking off six passes and returning three for touchdowns in 2022, he gave up just 17 yards passing per game and a passer rating of just 31.7 against him, both of which ranked in the top 15 in FBS.

DraftKings Sportsbook’s oddsmakers believe the Giants are most likely to take a wide receiver in the first round with -105 odds, but all of our top choices were already off the board when the pick came around. DraftKings has cornerback as the Giants’ second-most likely position to target in the first with +200 odds.