The 2020 NFL Draft is one analysts believe to be rich in wide receiver talent. To the point where there could be talented wide receivers available as late as Round 5 who would ordinarily be selected much earlier.
As much as everyone obsesses about the Isaiah Simmons vs. an offensive tackle debate, and the New York Giants’ need to somehow find players who can pressure opposing quarterbacks, there is another underrated need you can expect the Giants to address in the upcoming draft.
The Giants seem to have struck gold in Round 5 a year ago when they selected Darius Slayton to help that position. There are questions, though, about Golden Tate’s age, Sterling Shepard’s health, and the overall depth of the receiving corps. Especially when you add concerns about the health of tight end Evan Engram.
Considering the success the Giants had when they selected Slayton 171st overall a year ago the Giants could wait until somewhere in the range of the fourth, fifth or sixth round to snag a wide receiver who tumbles to them.
Dave Gettleman, though, has never been known as a GM who sits around and waits or hopes for players he wants to fall to him. Gettleman has never traded down in a draft, securing additional draft assets in return for dropping back. What he has done several times, though, is traded up for highly-graded players he wanted.
Gettleman did that at least three times in Carolina. He also did it last season with the Giants, giving up two mid-round picks to jump from No. 37 to No. 30 and select cornerback DeAndre Baker.
Could he do so again this time around if a wide receiver the Giants have a high grade on is available late in Round 1? Possibly. Two names to watch? Justin Jefferson of LSU [prospect profile] and Denzel Mims of Baylor. [Prospect profile]
During an appearance on Thursday’s ‘Valentine Views’ podcast, I mentioned this scenario to Matt Waldman of The Rookie Scouting Portfolio, one of the foremost skill position analysts in the business.
“Those are two of my favorite players in this class,” Waldman said. “I think they’re very good picks if Gettleman is going to trade up and parlay some of those assets for a player of impact.
“I think those two can deliver impact early on and develop into really solid to strong starters and maybe long-term be an upgrade to what the Giants have within two to three years, maybe even immediately depending upon how they’re used.”
Waldman on Justin Jefferson
Waldman called the 6-foot-1, 202-pound Jefferson “a terrific player” and “probably my favorite receiver in this class.”
Waldman also said Jefferson is a “wonderfully versatile player” who is best in the slot but has also shown the requisite skills to succeed on the outside.
Waldman on Denzel Mims
Waldman said Mims, 6-foot-3, 207 pounds out of Baylor, is his second-ranked wide receiver in this draft class.
Waldman called Mims “an absolutely fun player.”
“What’s really impressive about him, the athletic part’s the icing on the cake, he has great short-area quickness, strong acceleration, and then terrific long speed. He developed throughout his career,” Waldman said.
“He’s a skilled press coverage receiver for the college game. He’s someone that understands he’s had to develop different types of footwork, different types of hand usage, how to combine them in different ways and then also learning how to read the defender and set up defenders. That’s a craft to wide receiver play that often takes a couple of years and some receivers never really get it.”
One interesting thing Waldman said about Mims is that he has an Odell Beckham-esque ability to “erase” a quarterback’s inability to throw with pinpoint accuracy.
** Hear much more about both players by giving the complete show a listen.
Other Waldman favorites
Of course, I didn’t let Waldman off the hook after discussing just those two players. Here is a list of some of Waldman’s other favorite Day 2 and Day 3 receivers.
Laviskas Shenault (Colorado), Bryan Edwards (South Carolina), Tee Higgins (Clemson), Van Jefferson (Florida), Quintez Cephus (Memphis), and Donovan Peoples-Jones (Michigan).
Waldman compared Higgins to former Giant Hakeem Nicks at his peak and said Cephus is “the steal of the class” at wide receiver.
We also talked about Day 2 and Day 3 tight ends and running backs.
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