The New York Giants went into the 2021 NFL draft with their eyes on Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith with the 11th overall pick. As they waited patiently for arguably the best WR in college history to reach their selection, other pass-catchers were flying off the board left and right, as Jaylen Waddle went to Miami and Ja’Marr Chase to the Cincinnati Bengals. However, Smith was on the board with the 10th overall pick; Giants felt strongly they would land the Alabama stand-out receiver.
However, the Philadelphia Eagles leapfrogged the Giants with an inter-divisional trade, including the Dallas Cowboys. They proceeded to select Smith and leave the Giants stranded in the water, but that mightâ€™ve been the best thing they couldâ€™ve done for a Big Blue squad in dire need of future draft capital and a contingency plan for quarterback Daniel Jones whether they knew it or not.
Jones has had his fair share of struggles at the NFL level, seeing his touchdowns drop from 24 to 11 in 2020 under coordinator Jason Garrett. He did experience an improvement in ball security, but Jones is nowhere near being considered a franchise quarterback until he can prove consistent production on the field.
The Giants provided him with a WR1 in Kenny Golladay, a new TE in Kyle Rudolph, and various playmakers, including John Ross and Kadarius Toney, their 20th overall selection. They also have Saquon Barkley preparing to make a return from a torn ACL, so there is no excuse for Jones to struggle unless the offensive line provides them with minimal time in the pocket. However, I expect them to be a bit more efficient, simply based on the fact that more playmakers will draw more attention and force defenses to play cover-2 and drag LBs and safeties out of the box.
The New York Giants walked away WINNERS:
What the Giants did trading back with the Chicago Bears was exactly what they needed to do, adding a first/fourth-round pick for 2021 and a fifth-round pick this year. In fact, I would go as far as the claim they accidentally put a contingency plan in place for Jones if he doesnâ€™t take the developmental jump they seek in his third year as a pro.
They now have two first-round selections next season, and the Chicago Bears are working through their quarterback situation and donâ€™t plan to start Justin Fields right away. In addition, they have the second hardest schedule in the NFL, so that first-round pick could be even more valuable if they lose a plethora of games.
The Giants would walk away with a heist, offering an opportunity to replace Jones if need be without restarting a rebuild, but also spending draft capital they have now instead of future picks, which would hurt their chances at adding adequate depth.
It took nine drafts for general manager Dave Gettleman to see the value in moving back, and even if it wasnâ€™t his preferred method, he put himself in an incredibly advantageous position moving forward.