The New York Giants made a number of key acquisitions in free agency this offseason, however, there are still some big positions to fill in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. In this three-round mock draft, the Giants draft for need, filling a few of their biggest needs in preparation for Brian Daboll’s second season as head coach of the New York Giants.
Round 1: Giants select Minnesota center John Michael-Schmitz
The Giants are reportedly “locked onto” Minnesota center John Michael-Schmitz, per Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network. While drafting Schmitz in the first round may be a stretch to some, the increased demand at the center position may force New York to pounce early at the chance to get their guy.
“Several teams have Schmitz rated as the top center,” according to Pauline. The Seattle Seahawks have also expressed significant interest in Schmitz. Pauline explains that Seattle could consider trading down to target Schmitz in the back end of the first round.
“If [Schmitz] happens to be available to Seattle at pick 37, it would be manna from heaven for the franchise,” Pauline explains, which means waiting to draft Schmitz with the 57th pick is not going to be an option for the New York Giants.
“The Jets also like Schmitz,” Pauline writes. “With the Steelers and Colts selecting at the top of Round 2, no one believes it’s possible Schmitz makes it to the Jets in the middle of the round.”
Essentially, if the New York Giants want to draft John Michael-Schmitz, they’re going to have to make the pick in the first round. Schmitz would step in as a day-one, impact starter for the Giants.
Round 2: WR Rashee Rice lands in New York with the 57th pick
The Giants have been doing their homework on the top wide receivers in this year’s draft class. If New York foregoes the opportunity to draft a wide receiver in round one, they could target Rashee Rice out of SMU in the second round.
Rice is a dependable WR with reliable hands and the physicality to beat press coverage and make contested catches. He may not be the fastest wideout (4.51s 40-yard-dash), but Rice displayed elite explosiveness at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine with a 41″ vertical jump and a 10′ 8″ broad jump.
At 6-foot-1, 204-pounds, Rice is the outside wide receiving talent that’s missing from New York’s offense. Before declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft, Rice dominated the American Conference in his senior season, piling up 96 receptions for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns for SMU.
In year one, Rice’s versatility and appeal to all levels of the field should give him the opportunity to be a top-four option for an NFL offense. By year three, Rice has the makings of an impact starter that is a featured component of his offense.Joe Marino of The Draft Network on Rashee Rice
Round 3: Giants bolster defense with LB Daiyan Henley
Despite taking a splash-signing in free agent LB Bobby Okereke this offseason, the New York Giants still have a need for depth at the position. In the third round of this mock draft, the Giants select Washington State LB Daiyan Henley.
Henley is an explosive linebacker prospect with traits to develop into an impactful starter. As a converted wide receiver, Henley has sideline-to-sideline speed and range to lockdown tight ends in pass coverage.
In the final season of his collegiate career, Henley totaled 106 total tackles,12 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and one interception for Washington State. He also added four sacks to the stat sheet, demonstrating an ability to blitz up the middle – a trait highly valued by Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale.
Henley has the tools and traits to be something special in the right defensive scheme. His athleticism and coverage ability could give the Giants’ defense the element it has been missing. Henley would be an exciting selection for New York in the third round.