It’s time! Over the past few years it has become tradition for me to run 3-4-round simulated New York Giants mock drafts on Sundays leading up to the NFL draft. With the Shrine and Senior Bowls now in the rearview mirror, this seems like a good time to start the 2024 cycle.
As I begin these, a reminder. I know most of you won’t care about what I’m going to say here. You’ll toast me for picks you like. You’ll roast me for picks you don’t like. I don’t care. I am not necessarily trying to be right here, especially this early. I am trying to present scenarios. Thus, over time I will use different simulators that present different big boards and each mock will be different.
If you don’t like this one, maybe you will like the next one. Or not. These are all about discussion, scenarios and getting to know the prospects and the possibilities.
So, let’s get to what you really care about.
Round 1 (No. 6) — Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
Simulators! Geez! Let’s just be realistic here and say the top five of the 2024 NFL Draft is almost certainly not going to play out this way.
In this mock, the three quarterbacks were the first ones selected, albeit in a surprising order with Jayden Daniels of LSU going No. 1 to the Chicago Bears. The real stunner is that the simulator gave wide receiver Rome Odunze of Washington to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 instead of Harrison. Brock Bowers went No. 5 to the Los Angeles Chargers, a pick that has been widely speculated about, leaving Harrison for me at No. 6.
That’s a pick I made with zero hesitation. Full disclosure: In this scenario, if Harrison was gone and Nabers was the top-rated receiver on the board he would have been the pick.
I say it again and again and again — you want game-changers in the top 10, and it just so happens that a game-changing wide receiver could be transformative for the Giants’ offense. Harrison is expected to be one. So is Nabers. Probably Odunze, too.
What about the offensive line? I have always been a believer in building a team from the inside, from the lines, out. So, why not Joe Alt of Notre Dame or Olu Fashanu of Penn State? That’s because, until we hear otherwise from GM Joe Schoen or head coach Brian Daboll, I am operating with the belief the Giants will give Evan Neal one more opportunity at right tackle. If that’s the case, drafting a tackle at No. 6 makes no sense.
Other players considered: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU; Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
Round 2 (No. 39) — Jackson Powers-Johnson, IOL, Oregon
Powers-Johnson probably won’t last until the 39th pick this April. If he does, he is likely a plug-and-play option for the Giants at right guard.
Powers-Johnson has extensive experience at both guard and center, and has excelled at both. Here is a Senior Bowl right guard rep:
I cannot say enough say impressive @oregonfootball OL Jackson Powers-Johnson has been. Dominating at center and guard. Wins consistently with power, but here he shows the patience and quickness, too.— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) January 31, 2024
Not sure he’s lost a 1-on-1 rep all week pic.twitter.com/wC1T5FWPN5
As Chris noted in his Senior Bowl risers post, Giants’ offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo spent some time with Powers-Johnson.
Is Powers-Johnson the most technically refined player? No, which reflects a 21-year-old with only one year as a college starter. But his physical traits and reaction skills were outstanding in Mobile. He played balanced through contact with the play strength and quickness to smoothly answer whatever is thrown at him.
It didn’t matter if he lined up at guard or center, Powers-Johnson played at a high level for two practices before a nagging hamstring issue forced a premature exit Wednesday. He entered the week as a projected top-25 pick and leaves the same way.
If he is somehow there at 39 that seems like great value.
Other players considered: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan; Bo Nix, QB, Oregon; Michael Penix, QB, Washington
Round 2 (No. 47) — T’Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas
Sweat is another player who had a dominant week of Senior Bowl practice. How about pairing the 360-pound Sweat with Dexter Lawrence? That would help the run defense, and the interior pass rush.
How’s this for a rep?
There's only so much you can do to slow down 360+ pounds.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 31, 2024
T'Vondre Sweat is inevitable when he wants to be. pic.twitter.com/oWTi3pvjUj
Brugler called him “the most dominant defensive tackle” during Senior Bowl practices.
So, I use the second round of this draft to try and solidify both of the Giants’ lines.
Other players considered: Michael Penix, QB, Washington; Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas; Kris Jenkins, DL, Michigan
Round 3 (No. 70) — Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina
At some point in the upcoming draft the Giants have to take a swing at a quarterback. Don’t they? Considering current circumstances that seems apparent.
Why not right here with a quarterback who has first-round arm talent, and was once thought of as a potential top five selection? Rattler’s collegiate career didn’t go as expected, but he is coming off a really good year. He completed 68.9% of his passes for South Carolina for 3,186 yards, 19 touchdowns, 8 interceptions and a 147.7 passer rating.
Rattler was a star of Senior Bowl practice week, with Chris Pflum writing that Rattler’s “performance left scouts saying that he was the most impressive passer of the weekend. He won MVP in Saturday’s game.
Dane Brugler of The Athletic wrote this:
Rattler showed off his outstanding arm talent and delivered well-timed, tight spirals to all levels of the field. He also displayed the ability to layer throws, giving his receivers a chance to go make a play.
One of the key concerns with Rattler off his college tape was his ability to play with urgency (mentally and physically) to combat the rush. These practices don’t really give evaluators a chance to answer that question, so I don’t think Rattler dramatically improved his draft grade this week, but he made a solid impression.
Drafting a quarterback here doesn’t bring about an immediate 2024 quarterback controversy. It doesn’t commit the Giants to moving on from Daniel Jones after the 2024 season. It doesn’t commit them to Rattler as the quarterback of the future, or preclude them from taking another swing in next year’s draft. It gives the Giants an option. It gives them a year to look at a young quarterback with talent and see if he could be the answer.
Other players considered: Blake Fisher, OT, Notre Dame; Mike Sainristil, CB, Michigan; Blake Corum, RB, Michigan