ESPN’s Matt Miller is out with a two-round post Senior Bowl mock draft [ESPN+]. From a New York Giants’ perspective, the most interesting thing about the mock is how Miller treated, and what he said, about the Giants’ quarterback position.
Let’s go through Miller’s mock for the Giants.
Round 1 (No. 6) — Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
With all three quarterbacks — Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, off the board, along with wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers, Miller gives the Giants Odenze rather than an offensive lineman.
He writes, and this is where the quarterback stuff begins to get interesting:
The run on pass-catchers is here in earnest! The Giants miss out on the top three quarterbacks, but the rumors swirling at the Senior Bowl among agents is that the Giants are more likely to add a veteran free agent QB to compete with Daniel Jones than draft one early. It would allow general manager Joe Schoen to pick up a true WR1 in Odunze, who led the nation in receiving in 2023 (1,640 yards).
At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Odunze is a physical and aggressive player before and after the catch. He’s a dominant option on both back-shoulder fades and breaking routes. No matter who is throwing the ball, Odunze would immediately boost the Giants’ offense.
Round 2 (No. 39) — Graham Barton, G, Duke
The Giants’ offensive line was a massive issue in 2023, as the team allowed 85 sacks. Barton, who played left tackle at Duke, is projected to slide inside to guard or center in the pros. If the Giants are sticking with right tackle Evan Neal, Barton becomes a Day 1 starter at guard — but also an insurance policy at tackle.
Quarterback is a need in New York, too, but Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. is not a scheme fit for Brian Daboll’s offense. A veteran option (Jacoby Brissett?) alongside Daniel Jones is more likely if the Giants don’t go quarterback in Round 1.
So, yes, I have thoughts.
First, about Barton. I have yet to study Barton, but I know the pedigree as a left tackle with positional flexibility across the line. If the Giants are giving Neal one more chance at tackle, drafting a guard on Day 2 makes a ton of sense. So, Barton seems like a good choice here.
Now, about the quarterback stuff.
What is interesting is that Miller does not appear to simply be speculating. He says clearly that “rumors swirling at the Senior Bowl among agents” is that the Giants are likely to pass on the top of the 2024 quarterback class.
My view is that I think that might change is Maye or Daniels happens to fall to No. 6. I can see the Giants passing on the Bo Nix, J.J. McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr., group, as I did in my first three-round mock draft.
When Miller says Penix “is not a scheme fit” for the Giants, my guess is he is referring to the idea that Daboll (and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka) have shown a desire to have the quarterback run game as part of the offense. Penix does not offer that on any sort of regular basis.
The Brissett mention by Miller is interesting. GM Joe Schoen has said the Giants would like to have a quarterback on the roster who “can hopefully win you some games early” if Jones isn’t ready.
The 31-year-old Brissett, an eight-year veteran, would certainly qualify. He has played in 79 NFL games, with an 18-30 record over 48 career starts.
Brissett was with the Washington Commanders in 2023 on a one-year, $8 million contract.
In my view, a move like that by Schoen would be a tell that quarterback early in the 2024 NFL Draft is not in the Giants’ plans.
Round 2 (No. 47) — Kris Jenkins, DT, Michigan
Trading Leonard Williams to the Seahawks landed the Giants this pick but also left a need for an interior penetrator next to nose tackle Dexter Lawrence II. Jenkins moved all over the Michigan defensive line and ended up playing more 5-technique in 2023, but his flashes of burst and power have me thinking his best football is still coming, once he’s able to shoot gaps and make plays in the backfield. Despite not being freed up to attack as a pass-rusher, Jenkins still finished with 16 pressures and 2.5 sacks in 2023.