Giants could take ‘pro-ready’ wide receiver in Round 2 of NFL Draft

National wide receiver Ricky Pearsall of Florida (11) (New York Giants draft target)
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants need to upgrade their receiver corps in this year’s NFL Draft. They will heavily consider taking one with the No. 6 overall pick in the first round, but if they opt to go in a different direction, they could target a wide receiver in the second round who has the skills of a “pro-ready” prospect.

University of Florida wide receiver Ricky Pearsall has been one of the draft’s biggest risers this winter. He finished the 2023 season strong before boosting his draft stock at the 2024 Reesee’s Senior Bowl. Now Pearsall is viewed as a second-round pick who could be an instant-impact player for the Giants if they draft him on day two.

The Giants could target UF WR Ricky Pearsall in the second round

Pearsall is a 6-foot-1, 189-pound wide receiver in this year’s class with a day-two draft projection. He’s an elite athlete who ran a 4.41s 40-yard dash at this year’s Scouting Combine and earned a 9.90 relative athletic score (RAS) which ranked 32 out of 3121 wide receivers from 1987 to 2024.

Having spent five years playing college ball, Pearsall had a late breakout in 2023. He spent the first three seasons of his collegiate career with Arizona State (2019-2021) before transferring to Florida for a greater opportunity. With the Gators in 2023, Pearsall totaled 65 receptions for 965 yards and four touchdowns.

The Draft Network’s Keith Sanchez describes Pearsall as “an alignment-versatile receiver that has high IQ and instincts that allow him to consistently win and be a reliable receiver option.”

The Giants need a receiver who can win consistently and play anywhere in their formation. Pearsall could fill both of those needs for the Giants.

There are plenty of “wow moments” on Pearsall’s film, but his incredible one-handed catch against Charlotte sticks out on the highlight reel:

His route-running skills and rare ability to make such jaw-dropping grabs make Pearsall an exciting prospect.

Pearsall was named one of the NFL Draft’s most “pro-ready” prospects

While some players enter the NFL needing time to develop into quality starters, others enter the league as more ready-made products. Pro Football Focus believes that Pearsall is among the latter, naming him one of the five most “pro-ready” prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft class:

“Pearsall wasn’t exceptionally productive in college, but over the last two seasons has posted PFF GAS (Game Athleticism Score) between the 93rd and 99th percentile,” PFF’s Sam Monson wrote. “He backed that up at the combine with a 42-inch vertical (99th percentile), a 6.40-second three-cone time (100th percentile) and short shuttle and broad jumps both above the 90th percentile. He is an elite athlete and showed at the Senior Bowl he can win consistently against elite competition.”

Monson compared Pearsall to Los Angeles Rams WR Puka Nacua, who was a finalist for the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award last season after totaling 1,486 yards and six touchdowns.

“Last season, Puka Nacua had the most instant and sustained impact,” Monson wrote. “Nacua was a productive college player with exceptional athleticism as measured by tracking data (his actual testing numbers were more average). He then sent his production to the stratosphere by living in Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp’s meetings the second he was drafted by the Rams.

“Repeating that performance won’t be easy, but Florida’s Ricky Pearsall ticks a lot of those same boxes… If he can also put the work in right away, Pearsall is the kind of receiver who could put up bigger numbers in the NFL than he did in college with a better passer getting him the football.”

If the Giants are hoping to receive an instant impact from whichever wide receiver they take in this year’s draft, they may prioritize Pearsall in the second round. His skill set and performances at this year’s Senior Bowl bode well for his ability to make plays immediately at the next level. If the Giants don’t go wide receiver in Round 1, expect them to have Pearsall high on their board as they head into day two of the NFL Draft.

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