The New York Giants selected Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks at pick No. 24 after trading picks No. 160 and 240, along with pick No. 25. The Giants needed cornerback help on the outside. I, personally, am very happy with that selection.
Thursday was unpredictable with many memorable moments, and we should be in for another exciting day of drafting on Friday. There are plenty of quality players still looking for the NFL home. Here are Chris’ and my top five players left on the board who may interest the Giants
Nick’s top five:
Brian Branch (SAF, Alabama)
The safety position isn’t as highly regarded as others around the league, but few players are more complete than Brian Branch. He’s not the biggest at 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, nor is he the most athletic with a 4.58 40, but his instincts, intelligence, and sure-tackling ability make up for his lack of elite testing and measurements.
Branch would be the perfect fit for the Giants and Wink Martindale. He would be an immediate upgrade over the departed Julian Love - who was a very good player in his own right. Branch had zero missed tackles in 2021 and only three last season, which resulted in a 3.3% missed tackle rate. His ability to fill the alley with authority and be an asset in coverage, while also operating as the glue to a defense is invaluable.
The Giants traded with the Tennessee Titans from pick No. 40 to pick No. 33 in 2015 to select another Alabama safety in Landon Collins. New York traded two picks to move up one slot to secure Banks. They could realistically trade up again from pick No. 57 with the seven picks they have left; if they do, I would love another investment in the secondary for a player like Branch or even Illinios’ Jartavius “Quan” Martin.
O’Cyrus Torrence (IOL, Florida)
The offensive line has long been an issue for the New York Giants. Torrence, who many believed would go in the first round, would immediately upgrade the New York Giants' offensive line. The 6-5, 330-pound guard has 11¼-inch hands with an 83⅞-inch wingspan. He spent his first three collegiate years with Billy Napier at Louisiana. He’s started 47 of 48 career games, 34 at right guard and 13 at left guard. He never surrendered a sack in his college career.
The long-term solution for Mark Glowinski remains unknown which is specifically problematic when one looks around the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles added Georgia’s Jalen Carter to their defensive line room which already consists of Fletcher Cox and Jordan Davis; they also added another Georgia Bulldog, Nolan Smith at the end of the first round.
The Dallas Cowboys added Michigan’s Mazi Smith to assist their dominant edge duo of Micah Parsons and Demarcus Lawrence. Washington’s defensive front of Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen always seems to give the Giants an issue. If New York wants to survive in the trenches, they need to find long-term options.
As of right now, they have zero surefire long-term solutions at the interior offensive line. I remain high on last year’s third-round pick Josh Ezeudu, but I wouldn’t say he’s a certainty just yet. However, Torrence is surefire and would be the right guard of the future for Big Blue.
Cody Mauch (IOL, North Dokata State)
My explanation for Torrence is the same as Mauch, who dominated at the FCS level playing tackle. He’ll likely kick inside to either guard or center. Mauch is different than Torrence; the former is light on his feet and operates smoothly in space, whereas the latter is more tailored for a duo/power rushing attack that looks to vertically displace interior defensive linemen.
The Giants run a multitude of different rushing styles and schemes. They’re not stubborn, and they will adjust based on personnel. In Joe Schoen’s first off-season, he added Glowinski who is very light on his feet, and Ezeudu, who also falls into that bucket. That does not mean he wouldn't be interested in bigger-bodied guards, but Mauch tends to fit that prototype better than Torrence.
However, I would choose Torrence over Mauch because he is more pro-ready and just a better football player right now. Mauch may take some time to transition, but everyone is looking for mobile interior offensive linemen, and Mauch is a former tight end - he has the movement skills. Wisconsin’s center Joe Tippmann also falls into that category and should be considered; Tippmann has some positional versatility as well (was recruited to play tackle, and could presumably move to guard).
John Michael Schmitz (C, Minnesota)
The Giants have needed a center for quite some time. Whether that center is John Michael Schmitz or Wisconsin’s Joe Tippmann doesn’t necessarily matter to me - I like them both - but I do have the Golden Gopher slightly higher. Nick Gates and Jon Feliciano are no longer with the Giants, leaving a void at center.
Schoen expressed his confidence in players currently on the roster and their ability to play center. That may be true, but passing on either Tippmann or John Michael Schmitz may be difficult at pick No. 57. Here’s my synopsis on his play:
John Michael Schmitz is a smart, physical, efficient moving center who is an excellent run blocker with range. His ability to reach block is ideal for zone-rushing teams, but he can play in any system. He quickly fits his hands with good grip strength and understands how to win with leverage. Schmitz exercises good overall body control, footwork, and combo blocking ability while playing like a famished pit bull with uncooked sirloin at stake (ha, puns).
Schmitz is a good overall pass blocker who is light on his feet. He does well in readjusting through reps to optimize his effectiveness. If I’m nit-picky, I appreciate his run-blocking more than his pass-blocking; pad-level is generally good, but defenders have gotten underneath him while in a half-man relationship - it’s not consistent, but it’s worth noting.
Any team should be happy to draft a player like John Michael Schmitz. I expect him to be a day-one starter for a team. He’s technically sound, has good play strength, and can execute any block. He’ll hear his name on day one or early on day two.
Marvin Mims (WR, Oklahoma)
Don’t think I forgot about wide receivers! The Giants may have pursued Flowers, Addison, or Johnston, but all were selected before they decided to trade up and secure Banks. The Giants need to find a way to create explosive plays, and they only have Wan’Dale Robinson and Darius Slayton under contract beyond this season.
New York reportedly loves Marvin Mims, who they had on a top-30 visit. Mims had an immediate impact at Oklahoma; he was the first Freshman All-American in school history. He recorded nine touchdowns in 2020 and had 11 over the next two seasons. He finished his three-season career with 2,398 yards on 123 catches - a 19.5 yards per catch mark. He is the deep threat that the Giants need, and there’s more to his game than what he was able to show in a bad situation last season. Here’s my synopsis:
Marvin Mims Jr. is a deep threat with excellent build-up speed, who maintains his excellent acceleration as he is locating the football. He combines elite concentration as a deep threat with an above-average ability to make players miss in space once he has the football. Marvin Mims Jr’s., skill set meshes perfectly with an NFL predicated on creating explosive plays down the field. He possesses good overall hands, but frustrating drops are within his profile; plus, he’s more comfortable letting the ball into his frame rather than extending to pluck (if he can get away with it).
In 2021, Mims Jr. aligned in the slot 75% of the time, and that dropped to 30.1% in 2022. I enjoyed the more diverse usage and alignment during his junior season, where Oklahoma designed touches for their talented wideout. Florida State and Texas Tech pressed Mims more often than other teams, and he averaged 38.5 and 32.4 yards per reception in those two games, respectively. Still, he only had 7 collective catches; two were blown coverages by Texas Tech. Mims Jr. won some reps against FSU, but was also driven out of bounds in press coverage on a few plays.
His overall play strength could improve, and he could struggle to defeat press early on at the next level. His floor is starting as an above-average returner on special teams and a rotational wide-receiving deep threat who can thrive operating out of the slot. His ceiling, though, is high, and he could be an early field-stretching contributor that could start outside if he develops. The Giants brought Mims Jr. in for a Top-30 visit; he could be an option for Big Blue in the second or third round.
Honorable mention: Jartavius “Quan” Martin (SAF, Illinois), Adetomiwa Adebawore (DL, Northwestern), Matthew Bergeron (OL, Syracuse), Joe Tippmann (C, Wisconsin), Jalin Hyatt (WR, Tennessee), Michael Mayer (TE, Notre Dame), Trenton Simpson (LB, Clemson), Drew Sanders (LB, Arkansas), Tank Dell (Houston, WR), Derick Hall (EDGE, Auburn)
Chris’ top five targets
Josh Downs (WR, North Carolina)
There was a run on receivers just before the Giants selected Banks in the first round, with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnston, Zay Flowers, and Jordan Addison coming off the board in consecutive picks. The Giants got their guy in the first, but they still need to add an offensive weapon.
Downs is one of the smartest, sneakiest, most detailed route runners in the draft. He’s undersized, but Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll don’t seem to care about that. They care about a receiver’s ability to be where he’s supposed to be, when he’s supposed to be there, and get open. Downs does all of those things well, and not only is he great at hauling in contested catches, he’s dangerous after the catch as well.
Downs could be long gone by the time the Giants pick, or he could fall. This draft has already seen some surprising falls – although the Big Blue Big Board is still holding up well.
Byron Young (EDGE, Tennessee)
The Giants added an elite athlete to the back end of their defense in the first round and addressed their most pressing need. Edge defender might not be quite as dire a need as cornerback, but the Giants do need a 1c to go with Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari. That would help take some of the load off of those two and help keep them fresh for the end of games. It would also give Wink Martindale yet more options for creating pressure and athletic mismatches.
This is a very deep edge class, and it would almost be a surprise if the Giants didn’t come away with an edge defender. It might as well be one with legitimately elite athletic traits and who was good for at least one “WOW” play in every game.
Olusegun Oluwatimi (OC, Michigan)
The defenses in the NFC East just keep getting more formidable. The Eagles added another pair of Bulldogs in the first round with Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith, while Dallas added Mazi Smith to eat blocks for Micah Parsons. Washington added Emmanuel Forbes to ballhawk off of the pressure created by their own talented defensive front.
The Giants, meanwhile, have more questions than answers on their offensive interior and one natural center. Oluwatimi isn’t the biggest, most athletic, or even the meanest offensive lineman in the draft. However, he’s smart, technically sound, experienced, and was the rock in the middle of one of the best offensive lines in the country last year. The Giants have a diverse blocking scheme that uses man and zone principles, and Oluwatimi can execute any scheme asked of him.
New York has been relying on makeshift centers since Dave Gettleman allowed Weston Richburg to leave in free agency. It’s about time they added a natural center to the middle of their offensive line.
Daiyan Henley (LB, Washington State)
Could this be the year that the Giants finally draft a linebacker in the first three rounds of the draft? I have no clue as I sit here and write this, but I do know that Henley is one of the most intriguing linebackers in the draft.
He started out as a wide receiver and kick returner for the Nevada Wolfpack and played two years on offense before being moved to defense. He then moved to the defensive side of the ball and transferred to Washington State. Henley is one of the best off-ball linebackers in the draft and has the kind of natural feel for playing in space that you’d expect from a former receiver. He’s also fearless when playing downhill, as you’d expect from a former kick returner.
Henley is still learning the position, and you can see it in his processing at the very start of the play. He should be able to find the field early, however, and his experience and upside as a blitzer could appeal to Wink Martindale in particular.
Tyjae Spears (RB, Tulane)
We heard from both Pete Schrager and Albert Breer that the Giants were interested in Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs. I don’t know if anyone saw Gibbs being selected by the Detroit Lions at 12th overall last night. But if the Giants are looking for a dynamic addition to their Pony Package, then Spears could be an excellent backup plan.
Spears might be undersized, but he has great vision and is a big-play threat. He averaged 6.9 yards per carry last year, as well as 21 total touchdowns on 251 total touches (229 carries, 22 receptions). Spears is quick, agile, and explosive as a runner, and a natural receiver as well – and even served as Tulane’s Wildcat quarterback, which we know is part of the Giants’ offense as well.