With the 2023 NFL Draft just days away, mock drafts are beginning to blur. And grow tiresome. Yet, there is still value in what we can learn from them — especially when they come from insiders who tell us up front that their choices are impacted at least in part by what they are hearing from sources within the league.
Such is the case with the seven-round mock draft released Sunday morning by ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller. Miller says his mock is based on what he is hearing from sources around the league, and adds that he “wove in intel from scouts, execs and coaches from numerous phone calls and texts over the past 10 days as we try to get a better understanding of how things will play out.”
So, let’s see what Miller did for the New York Giants.
Round 1 (No. 25) — Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
Yes, Miller mimics the pick I made in the ‘with trades’ version of my most recent seven-round Giants-only simulated mock draft. The pick screams that the league believes that, yes, Forbes is a first-round pick and that he could land with the Giants.
Two numbers come up often when discussing Forbes with NFL scouts: 14 and 6. The first number, 14, is how many interceptions he accumulated in the past three years at Mississippi State. The second, 6, is how many of those interceptions he returned for touchdowns. At 6 feet and 166 pounds, there are concerns about Forbes’ lean frame, but his play doesn’t reflect that.
“I didn’t see any lack of strength in his actual tape,” said one AFC area scout. “He’s lean, but so was Sauce Gardner.” The Giants are rumored to be looking at wide receiver and cornerback in Round 1 and Forbes being available should make this an easy decision given the Day 2 depth at receiver.
Wide receiver Zay Flowers (No. 22, Baltimore Ravens) and cornerback Deonte Banks (No. 24, Jacksonville Jaguars) were off the board.
Round 2 (No. 57) — Cody Mauch, G, North Dakota State
An interesting call here by Miller, and one we probably have not given enough credence to. Centers John Michael Schmitz and Joe Tippmann are off the board. So, too, is guard/center Steve Avila. Linebackers Jack Campbell and Drew Sanders are gone. So are wide receivers Quentin Johnston, Jordan Addison, Jalin Hyatt, Josh Downs, Cedric Tillman and Jonathan Mingo. For what it’s worth all of those wide receivers were still available at pick No. 25.
Mauch, who could be a center convert or move inside to guard, is a pretty good get here. Maybe he moves to center. Maybe the Giants move Ben Bredeson there and let Mauch compete for the left guard spot.
The Giants grab one of the toughest and most versatile offensive linemen in the entire class with Mauch. Considering his 32⅜-inch arms, some teams believe Mauch is best suited to play on the inside. And he proved he can play either guard or center during Senior Bowl week, which should excite the Giants given the team’s need on the interior. The adjustment from the FCS level will take time, though.
Round 3 (No. 89) — Tank Dell, WR, Houston
I selected Dell (with a trade up) in Round 3 of my ‘with trades’ mock. I know that raised eyebrows, but I feel more sure of that selection now that I see Miller make the same one.
Miller’s thoughts about Dell echo mine. He writes:
There might not be a better receiver for the Brian Daboll-Mike Kafka offense than the explosive “Tank” Dell. At just 5-9 and 165 pounds, he is quite undersized, but his start-stop quickness, route running and big-play ability are perfect for a scheme that can get players in space.
Round 4 (No. 128) — Keondre Coburn, DT, Texas
The Giants must add young talent to their defensive line. The 6-foot-2, 332-pound Coburn should give the Giants the run-stuffing backup for Dexter Lawrence that they need.
33rd Team says:
He is a big man with average length who is strong and stout at the point of attack. He understands how to play the technique, does not get pushed around and can get hands on and control. Corbun has average bend and is on the ground a bit too much and is also an average mover laterally. He gives good effort and works to finish plays. Coburn does not give much in the pass game and is mainly a bull rusher who takes up space. He projects as a late pick as a two-down nose and should make a roster as a back-end, run-stuffing defensive tackle.
Round 5 (No. 160) — Asim Richards, G, North Carolina
Joe Schoen drafted two North Carolina guards — Josh Ezeudu and Marcus McKethan — a year ago. Why not one more? Adding depth and competition on the offensive line is never a bad idea. Richards played left tackle for the Tar Heels, but Miller lists the 6-4, 309-pounder as an interior offensive lineman.
33rd Team compares him to Bredeson, and writes:
Richards is a left tackle who can perhaps play some guard if asked to at the next level. He was a quality starter at UNC while being a tough player with a mean streak who worked to finish blocks. He has a strong punch and can deliver a blow, but is not a natural bender. He does have some lower-body tightness and is only ordinary moving laterally.
In the passing game, Richards too often gets beat inside due to his limited movement skills. While ordinary overall in space, he does have enough strength to root in against the bull rush or generate movement in the run game. Overall, he has more strength and toughness in the running game than in the passing game. He is an average athlete who bends too much at the waist. He is a borderline starter, and at minimum a good backup in the NFL.
Round 5 (No. 172) — Tyrus Wheat, DE, Mississippi State
The Giants need edge depth behind Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azees Ojulari, and the hope would be that the 6-2, 263-pound Wheat could develop into a player capable of providing it.
Dane Brugler writes:
Wheat is a physical, full-head-of-steam rusher with quickness to win off the edge and the instincts to find the ball in pursuit. However, his play style is based more on strength and effort than an efficient, coordinated attack. Overall, Wheat doesn’t have elite length or explosiveness, but he is a physical edge setter with the front-seven athleticism that will speak to different schemes. With his versatile skill set and motor, his best NFL fit is standing up as outside linebacker in a 3-4 base.
Round 6 (No. 209) — Ronnie Hickman, S, Ohio State
The Giants lost Julian Love in free agency and let Landon Collins and Tony Jefferson leave. Adding depth at safety is a good idea.
Hickman takes sound angles to the ball when his eyes are in position, and his keys help him anticipate the play design. However, his tape does not show a quick-reaction player from depth, and his conservative nature led to ball production left on the field. Overall, Hickman is a long, linear athlete with baseline physical traits, but you wish he saw things a half second sooner and was more aggressive making plays on the ball. He projects as a special-teamer and rotational NFL “robber” safety.
I will present Miller’s three choices without any comment or scouting blurbs.
No. 240 — Nesta Jade Silvera, DT, Arizona State
No. 243 — Deneric Prince, RB, Tulsa
No. 254 — Keenan Isaac, CB, Alabama State