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Mock drafts: Dane Brugler, Mel Kiper give Giants WR Rome Odunze at No. 6

Two of the top draft analysts are — for now — in agreement on the Giants’ first-round pick

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2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
Rome Odunze
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Two of the heavyweights of the NFL Draft analysis business, Dane Brugler of The Athletic and Mel Kiper of ESPN, agree at this point in the draft process on who the pick should be for the New York Giants at No. 6 in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Both have landed on Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze.

Brugler released his second mock draft of the 2024 NFL Draft cycle on Tuesday. His top five:

  1. Chicago Bears — Caleb Williams, QB, USC
  2. Washington Commanders — Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
  3. New England Patriots — Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
  4. Arizona Cardinals — Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
  5. Los Angeles Chargers — Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Brugler chose Odunze for the Giants over quarterback Jayden Daniels of LSU or offensive linemen Olu Fashanu of Penn State and Joe Alt of Notre Dame. Here’s why:

With his size/speed profile and ability to play through contact, Odunze is a quarterback-friendly target with the tools to be a legitimate No. 1 option. The Giants haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2018, but Odunze might change that as a rookie.

I know there will be plenty of “Why not a quarterback?” questions. Though I think a player like Jayden Daniels is possible, drafting a quarterback in the top 10 is an ownership decision — and we know Giants ownership loves Daniel Jones. GM Joe Schoen has been on the road this fall to see all of the top quarterbacks, but I’ll go with the QB-friendly target as the answer to the team’s passing woes.

Daniels, in case you are interested, went No. 8 to the Atlanta Falcons.

Kiper did not release a full mock draft. Instead, along with Field Yates, Kiper released a mini-mock draft of the top 10 selections via YouTube.

That top five went:

  1. Chicago — Williams
  2. Washington — Daniels
  3. New England — Maye
  4. Arizona — Harrison
  5. LA Chargers — Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Here is why Kiper also went to Odunze for the Giants:

“They need a big-time wide receiver. Malik Nabers [who is off the board), Rome Odunze would make an awful lot of sense here ... You need a pass rusher opposite [Kayvon] Thibodeaux, who had a heckuva year, but there’s nobody to take at this point. So, you go to Rome Odunze.”

Kiper said Odunze is “special because of the consistency week in and week out.” Kiper said Odunze has “tremendous catch radius” and “great hands.”

Kiper said Odunze and Nabers are “freakish talents” and a “push” in terms of who should be selected first.

Valentine’s View

So, yeah. I wrote not that long ago that taking WR3 (Odunze) at No. 6 was a “perplexing” choice for me. Well, I have watched Odunze more closely over the past few days and I understand the choice more. I have watched Nabers, too, and at this early stage of my learning about these players I’m a little like Kiper. I wonder why the majority of analysts have Nabers rated above Odunze. Right now, I don’t see an obvious separation.

In the Brugler scenario, as of today I would select Jayden Daniels. My concerns with Daniels are his frame and some lapses in short-area accuracy. It is hard for me to pass on a quarterback here, though, simply because of the importance of the position and the uncertainty about both Jones’ health and his ability to be more than what we have seen. Brugler does, though, raise a critical point. Drafting a quarterback in the top 10 is a decision Giants’ ownership would have to sign off on. I am not certain John Mara and Steve Tisch would do that.

In Kiper’s scenario, he discusses the Giants’ need on the offensive line and the idea that Evan Neal could move to guard if the choice here was one of the two top offensive tackles, Olu Fashanu of Penn State or Joe Alt of Notre Dame.

The choice of one of those two tackles would be understandable. There is, though, something to consider in terms of how the Giants might build (rebuild) their offensive line going forward.

Joe Schoen was Brandon Beane’s assistant general manager in Buffalo. Since he took the Bills job in 2017, Beane has drafted offensive linemen in Round 2 three times. He has never drafted a Round 1 offensive lineman.

The offensive line coach the Giants just hired, Carmen Bricillo, has been lauded for his work with a largely nondescript group of offensive linemen for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Schoen’s big swing at an offensive tackle with the No. 7 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft has not, to this point, panned out.

Perhaps Schoen’s Buffalo background and the hiring of Bricillo are hints in regards to how the Giants might approach the 2024 line.