New York Giants: Drafting an offensive tackle should not be a priority

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart

The New York Giants are entering the 2021 NFL Draft with a clear weakness on offense: the offensive line. The Giants’ pass-block win rate in 2020, according to ESPN, ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win-rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. So while the Giants did upgrade Daniel Jones’s weapons in free agency, fans feel like they still desperately need to fix the offensive line in front of him.

Many fans and analysts are predicting that the Giants will prioritize the offensive line in the 2021 NFL Draft. While the Giants should make it a point to add an offensive lineman or two in this year’s draft, they should focus on the interior of the line. New York is set at offensive tackle and should not make it a priority to draft one this year.

Last year, the Giants did make it a priority to draft an offensive tackle. They selected Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, then double-dipped at the position in round three with Matt Peart out of UConn. New York has already invested plenty of assets into its offensive tackles. The Giants feel comfortable rolling into the 2021 season with these two second-year tackles as their starters on each side of the line.

The Giants are confident in Matt Peart

According to Paul Schwartz of the NY Post, the New York Giants coaching staff “is high on Matt Peart, who will be given the first shot at the starting right tackle job.” Matt Peart was impressive as a rookie, albeit in a small sample size.

Peart played 150 snaps for the Giants’ offense in 2020. Ten of those snaps came in jumbo formations where Peart lined up as a tight end. 37 of those snaps came at left tackle. The other 103 snaps came at right tackle. The Giants used Peart in a versatile way and tested him out at varying positions to see where he will fit in their future plans.

Ultimately, New York decided that Matt Peart is their right tackle of the future. Peart posted a 69.7 overall Pro Football Focus grade as a rookie, allowing only 9 pressures on 84 pass-blocking snaps. He did not see any time as a full-time starter in 2020, but that will change in 2021 as Matt Peart assumes the starting right tackle position. The Giants are confident in what they have at both right and left tackle. The young duo of Matt Peart and Andrew Thomas should be the bookends on the Giants’ offensive line for a long time.

So while this is a talented and deep offensive tackle draft class, do not expect to see the Giants reach on an offensive tackle at any point in this year’s draft. They could take one as the best player available if that is how the board falls on draft night. But the Giants are unlikely to make drafting an offensive tackle a priority this year after addressing the position in last year’s draft.

Should the New York Giants draft an EDGE in round one?

The 2021 NFL Draft is less than a week away and the New York Giants are one of the biggest question marks in round one. Analysts are struggling to predict the Giants’ pick at eleven overall. New York can go a multitude of different directions; edge rusher, cornerback, wide receiver, offensive tackle, etc. Everything is on the board for New York.

But the Giants have done extensive research on one position in particular: edge rusher. The Giants are in need of a top-tier pass-rusher off of the edge to upgrade over the rotational guys like Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines. Many believe that New York will address this need in round one of the 2021 NFL Draft. But should they?

First-round EDGE prospects

There are potentially four edge rushers that could be drafted in the first round of this year’s draft. The consensus top EDGE prospect is Jaelan Phillips out of Miami. Analysts explain that Phillips would be a top-ten pick in the draft if it weren’t for some medical red flags.

Jaelan Phillips has an extensive concussion history that caused him to retire for a year (2019) before returning to the field for Miami in 2020. Phillips recorded 8 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in his breakout 2020 season. He is projected to be drafted in the second half of the first round, but considering the Giants’ need for an EDGE, Phillips makes sense for them at eleven if they disregard the concussion history.

Kwity Paye and Azeez Ojulari are two more EDGE prospects that are expected to be drafted in the first round. Many believe that Paye is the best edge rusher in this year’s draft class. However, Paye is a much better run defender than edge rusher, making his fit with the Giants questionable. It is the speedy, bendy Azeez Ojulari that makes sense for the Giants.

The Giants are looking for a dominant pass-rusher, not a run-defender. Ojulari has the potential to be a top pass-rusher with his combination of speed and bend off the edge. Azeez is another player, though, that is projected to be drafted in the second half of the first round, like Paye and Phillips. Would it be too much of a reach for the Giants to select one of these edge rushers at eleven?

Is an EDGE at eleven a reach for the Giants?

Nearly all of the first-round edge rushers in this year’s class are projected to be late first-round picks. Some consider Jaelan Phillips to be the best defender in this year’s draft class, but his concussion history is bound to push him down the board. If all of these prospects are projected to go within the last fifteen picks of the first round, would the Giants be making a mistake selecting one of these prospects in the first fifteen picks of the round?

The Giants own the eleventh overall pick in this year’s draft. Technically, drafting an EDGE at eleven that is projected to be picked between picks twenty and thirty would be a reach. But this would be a case of the Giants drafting a talented player to fill a need, rather than going with the best player available.

If the New York Giants want to draft an edge rusher and maximize their value, they should trade down to the second half of the first round. This would allow the Giants to take one of these pass rushers in their projected draft range while also adding additional draft capital via trade. New York would walk away with its new every-down pass-rusher, addressing the biggest need the Giants have on defense. They would also acquire additional draft picks to add depth and address other positional needs later on in the draft.

Trading down is the best option for the Giants if they are dead set on taking an edge rusher. However, drafting one at eleven overall would not be the end of the world. The Giants would still be walking away from the first round as a better football team by upgrading a weak position with a young player possessing a ton of potential. Overall, many fans might want the Giants to avoid EDGE at eleven, but it might be the pick that brings New York the most impact in 2021.

New York Giants: How to solve the last piece to the puzzle on offense

New York Giants, Matt Peart

The New York Giants went big in free agency, spending boatloads of money to provide quarterback Daniel Jones with sufficient weapons. The Giants signed wide receiver Kenny Golladay to a big multi-year contract. Golladay was the top wide receiver on the market and he will provide Jones with a dependable receiving option. The Giants also signed tight Kyle Rudolph to be a reliable receiving threat.

New York’s main point of emphasis entering free agency was to add playmakers for Daniel Jones. The Giants’ signal-caller is entering the third season of his career and it is crucial that Daniel Jones breaks out in 2021 to establish himself as a franchise quarterback.

Daniel Jones struggled in 2020 with a depleted group of playmakers and a poor offensive line. The Giants have fixed the playmakers. They added Golladay and Rudolph and also have Saquon Barkley returning from injury. There is also a chance the Giants add another playmaker to the mix in the 2021 NFL Draft. This is all great, but what has New York done to fix the offensive line?

The Giants have not done much to fix the offensive line. Fixing the offensive line is the last piece to the puzzle for the Giants to surround Daniel Jones with sufficient talent and have a good offense. Thankfully, the 2021 NFL Draft is full of pieces that might fit the puzzle.

Offensive linemen to target in the 2021 NFL Draft

The Giants could fix their offensive line through the 2021 NFL Draft. There is a plethora of offensive line talent in this year’s class. At the top of the class are a couple of phenomenal offensive tackle prospects, Rashawn Slater and Penei Sewell, who would be significant instant upgrades for the Giants. However, neither one of them is likely to make it out of the top ten.

At eleven overall, a realistic offensive line option for the Giants is Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC. Vera-Tucker played left tackle for USC in 2020, but he is projected to be an offensive guard in the NFL, a position of need for New York. There are a lot of interior offensive line prospects to be excited about in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The second round of the draft might be a perfect opportunity for the Giants to find a new offensive guard. Prospects like Landon Dickerson and Creed Humphrey are phenomenal centers that could move to guard in the NFL. Wyatt Davis and Quinn Meinerz are a couple more offensive guards that might fit in perfectly with the New York Giants in the second round.

The Giants also have a question mark at right tackle. Dave Gettleman and the Giants seem confident in Matt Peart heading into his second season. But, Gettleman has also said in the past that he is not afraid to draft over players. Offensive tackle prospects like Teven Jenkins and Christian Darrisaw could make sense for New York in a trade-down scenario as they solidify their other offensive tackle position opposite of Andrew Thomas.

There is no shortage of offensive linemen in this year’s draft class. Quality offensive linemen are a premium in the NFL. The Giants need to take advantage of this year’s incredibly deep rookie offensive line class and give Daniel Jones everything he needs to succeed in 2021.

New York Giants: Trade-down mock draft scenario that makes the defense dominant

new york giants, jaelan phillips

The New York Giants are preparing for an interesting 2021 NFL Draft. This year’s draft sees a plethora of talented quarterbacks set to be taken in the top ten. This run on quarterbacks could lead top-talented players at other positions to slip outside the top ten.

The Giants are sitting in a pretty spot at eleven overall. Realistically, the draft’s top non-quarterback prospects could be on the board when the Giants are on the clock. New York could stick and pick the best prospect available. Or, Dave Gettleman can elect to do what he has never done before: trade down.

According to Ian Rapoport, trading back is “already something they are internally considering.” Rapoport adds that the eleventh overall pick “will have real value.” What would it look like if the Giants traded down from eleven?

New York Giants trade-down scenario

MOCK TRADE:

  • NYG receives: 15th overall pick, third-round pick (96 overall), fourth-round pick (139)
  • NE receives: 11th overall pick

The New England Patriots are a team that has been rumored to be interested in trading up to draft a quarterback. In this mock scenario, assume that Mac Jones falls to eleven and New England is prepared to trade up in an effort to find their franchise quarterback. Multiple teams might be interested in drafting Jones, so New England makes the move to eleven to secure their quarterback before anyone else can.

The Giants move back four spots and gain an extra third-round pick and an extra fourth-round pick. According to Dan Duggan of The Athletic, this is fair and realistic compensation based on the parameters of two recent trades in reality.

The Mock Draft – What could those picks turn into?

Pick 15 – EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami

The Giants move down four spots here and address a major position of need. New York’s defense almost has it all. They have some dominant hog mollies on their defensive line. A secondary full of shut-down corners and versatile safeties. But the second level is lacking pass-rush ability.

New York needs a big-time edge rusher, and in this mock draft, they found one. The Giants are reportedly interested in multiple edge rushers, including Azeez Ojulari, Kwity Paye, and Jaelan Phillips.

Most analysts believe Jaelan Phillips would be a top-ten pick if not for medical red flags. The Miami pass-rusher is absurdly talented and athletic. Phillips recorded 8 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in his breakout 2020 season. He is projected to be drafted in the second half of the first round, but considering the Giants’ need for an EDGE, Phillips makes sense for them at fifteen overall. The Giants need an edge rusher, and if Jaelan Phillips is the top EDGE on their board, he would be a perfect fit for them in a trade-down scenario.

Pick 42 – iOL Landon Dickerson, Alabama

In this mock draft, the Giants went defense in round one. But New York has needs on the offensive side of the ball that must also be addressed. According to Paul Schwartz of the NY Post, “it will be a surprise if the Giants do not take an offensive lineman with one of their first three picks” because of their lack of depth on the interior.

Landon Dickerson is another player with medical red flags. He tore his ACL last season and has suffered other significant injuries in the past. However, when healthy, Dickerson is a dominant force on the interior of the offensive line.

Dickerson is a phenomenal run-blocker, earning Pro Football Focus’shighest run-blocking grade in the SEC last season with a grade of 92.8. Landon is also incredibly versatile, a trait Joe Judge values highly. While he might be listed as a center, Dickerson is an option for the Giants because he played multiple positions in college. Dickerson logged snaps at every position on the offensive line during his time at Alabama. He played the majority of his snaps at center, but did play over 200 snaps at right guard in 2019 and could make the transition back there in the pros.

This is a risky draft for the Giants. But it is more about the positions they are targeting. Jaelan Phillips and Landon Dickerson are both players with lengthy injury histories. However, Phillips could be swapped out with Azeez Ojulari or Kwity Paye, and Landon Dickerson could be swapped out with Quinn Meinerz, Creed Humphrey, or Wyatt Davis. Whoever the Giants rate highest at these two positions should be the selections at these picks.

Pick 76 – CB Benjamin St-Juste, Minnesota

It never hurts to have depth in the secondary. Benjamin St. Juste out of Minnesota is a cornerback that fits well in New York’s defensive scheme. He is a tall (6 feet 3 inches) corner with the size and physicality to play outside. St-Juste is aggressive in press coverage, making him a good fit for what Patrick Graham likes to do defensively.

The Giants just signed cornerback Adoree’ Jackson to a big contract. But Adoree’ is another player with an injury history. Additionally, cornerback is a position that is frequently injured. The Giants know all too well what can happen when you have a lack of depth in the secondary (see the 2020 matchup against Cleveland). Adding Benjamin St-Juste provides New York with quality cornerback depth in an outside cornerback that could develop into an eventual starter.

Pick 96 – iDL Tyler Shelvin, LSU

Again, this pick could be a number of interior defensive linemen. But Tyler Shelvin is a talented player in a weak defensive tackle class that the Giants have shown some interest in. Tyler Shelvin stated in a press conference that he has spoken with the Giants, per Usayd Koshul.

Shelvin is a solid nose tackle that could be New York’s Dalvin Tomlinson replacement. Tyler Shelvin is a phenomenal run-defender with great strength and power at the point of attack. The Giants would be finding a likely starter on their defensive line with this pick.

Pick 139 – WR Jaelon Darden, North Texas

At some point in this mock draft, the Giants should add another offensive weapon. In the fourth round, Jaelon Dardon out of North Texas provides great value for the Giants. Darden is looked at as a second-round talent to many draft analysts.

Jaelon Darden is a weapon with the ball in his hands. According to Pro Football Focus, Darden recorded the highest missed tackle rate per touch in 2020 amongst wide receivers at 31%. His missed tackle rate was higher than Kadarius Toney’s (30%). Darden is being slept on as a premier slot receiver. He recorded 16 touchdowns out of the slot (the most in college football) and 935 receiving yards (second-most) in 2020.

Sterling Shepard is set to be the Giants’ starting slot receiver in 2020. But, looking down the road, Darden might be the perfect player for New York to develop as their eventual slot receiver once Shepard’s contract expires.

Recap

The Giants turned their defense into a dominant unit in this mock draft. New York found a new starting edge rusher in round one, added depth at cornerback in round three, and secured their Dalvin Tomlinson replacement at nose tackle with their second third-round pick. The Giants did all this while improving their interior offensive line and adding an offensive playmaker to the mix. Overall, this is a trade-down mock draft scenario that Giants fans would be ecstatic about. The Giants addressed all of their biggest needs with talented players, making five selections in the first four rounds. Trading down is something the Giants need to consider in 2021 more than ever.

Why the New York Giants should target wide receivers and cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft

dyami brown, new york giants

The NFL Draft is less than two weeks away from finally taking place. The New York Giants are looking ahead to an exciting draft after a successful free agency period. The Giants retained their best free agent, Leonard Williams, while also adding two new offensive weapons and a stud cornerback.

The Giants plugged almost all of their holes in free agency and upgraded their roster thoroughly. But there are a few areas where the Giants could still improve. One of those areas for New York to improve is depth. The Giants should be able to improve their depth drastically with a loaded 2021 NFL Draft class.

The Giants made a huge upgrade at wide receiver in free agency by signing the market’s top playmaker, Kenny Golladay, as their new alpha dog receiver. They also made another splash when they signed Adoree’ Jackson to be their second starter at outside cornerback. Still, the Giants should target wide receivers and cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft. Depth is important but this year’s draft class is also loaded with talent at those positions.

Why the Giants should target WR’s and CB’s in the draft

The 2021 NFL Draft is loaded with wide receiver and cornerback talent. According to Field Yates and ESPN, there are more wide receivers (17) and cornerbacks (16) ranked inside NFL scouts’ top 100 big boards than any other positions.

Wide receiver and cornerback are two positions where depth is an absolute necessity in the NFL. Injuries at those positions are abundant, as Giants fans should be fully aware. But there is also a competitive advantage to be gained by stockpiling wide receivers and cornerbacks.

Wide receivers and cornerbacks are positions where there are multiple starters at the same position. Typically, teams start two wide receivers outside and two cornerbacks outside. WHen a team improves its primary wide receiver or cornerback, the wide receiver or cornerback that used to be the primary then becomes the secondary. Moving to the secondary role means facing secondary competition, thus creating a competitive advantage.

The Giants would be wise to gain depth at cornerback and wide receiver. But they would also benefit from having their top corner or receiver become their second-best corner or receiver to face off against lesser competition and win matchups regularly.

When considering how much talent is stockpiled at the wide receiver and cornerback positions in the 2021 NFL Draft class, it is evident that the Giants need to target those positions in this year’s draft.

New York Giants: Why trading down for an edge rusher in round one makes sense

The New York Giants are preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft. New York has set itself up nicely for the draft with a successful free agency period. The Giants made some splash signings, landing top-of-the-market wide receiver Kenny Golladay and solid tight end Kyle Rudolph, along with their new CB2 in Adoree’ Jackson.

The Giants addressed most of their needs in free agency and plugged those holes. But there is one glaring positional weakness on the defensive side of the ball that the Giants still have not fully addressed. New York does have a stable of solid edge rushers, but no singular standout option off the edge.

Many predict that New York will select an edge rusher with the eleventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, the fan base does not seem too warm to that idea. This year’s edge class is thin and filled with controversy. If the New York Giants really want to address the edge rusher position in round one, they should do so in a trade-down scenario.

Why trading down makes sense

There are talented edge rushers in this year’s draft class. However, there are not many edge prospects that are widely considered to be top-ten talents or even talents worthy of being selected eleventh overall. If New York takes an edge rusher at eleven, they’ll be “reaching” to address a significant need. But if the Giants were to trade down into the second half of the first round and select an edge rusher, they would be making a good-value selection.

There are copious amounts of benefits to trading down. If the Giant were to trade down, they would be able to select the player they are targeting at a sufficient value where the level of talent meets the overall selection. But the even greater benefit the Giants would gain by trading down is the addition of extra draft capital.

The Giants could potentially yield an extra second-round pick by trading down. The accumulation of extra draft capital could go a long way for the Giants as they fill out their roster and address any weaknesses entering the 2021 season. Trading down was instrumental for the rebuild of the Indianapolis Colts in 2018. The Giants were interested in trading down from four overall in 2020 but found no buyers. 2021 could be the year that Dave Gettleman finally trades down. And it would make sense for this to also be the year that the Giants invest heavily in the edge rusher position.

Which edge rushers could the Giants target?

There are a few intriguing edge rusher prospects in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft. Nearly all of these players have draft projections that land them past the first twenty picks. But they are still talented, first-round prospects that would make an instant impact on the Giants’ defense.

Azeez Ojulari

Azeez Ojulari out of Georgia is a draft prospect whose stock has been steadily rising in the past month. The Giants also reportedly have a particular interest in Ojulari. According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN, New York sent Chris Pettit, their director of college scouting, to scout Ojulari’s Pro Day. Raanan also reports that the Giants are “high on” Ojulari.

Kwity Paye

Jordan Raanan also reports that the Giants are interested in Michigan edge rusher Kwity Paye. Raanan was quoted saying this about Paye and Ojulari: “Those two guys I think in particular pique their interest the most… They fit what the Giants are trying to do.”

Gregory Rousseau

There is also a pair of Miami edge rushers to keep an eye on in this year’s draft. Gregory Rousseau is a prospect that has been connected to the Giants frequently. He could have been a legitimate option at eleven overall, but his disappointing Pro Day has caused his draft stock to tumble to the back end of the first round or maybe even the early second round.

Jaelan Phillips

Rousseau’s counterpart, Jaelan Phillips, is looked at by many as the best pure pass-rusher in this draft class. Many view him as a top-ten talent. However, his lengthy and significant injury history is a major red flag that caused most analysts to view Phillips as a round-two prospect. That was until his dominant Pro Day that sent him back to being a first-round prospect. If he stays healthy, Jaelan Phillips could be the steal of the draft for the Giants in a trade-down scenario.

New York Giants draft scenario: Micah Parsons or Rashawn Slater at eleven?

new york giants, rashawn slater, micah parsons

The New York Giants are gearing up for another crucial NFL Draft. The 2021 NFL Draft will kick off in a few short weeks. After months of preparation and hard work, teams will finally put their plans in motion and draft in their franchises’ future building blocks. The New York Giants hold the eleventh overall pick in the draft this year. This year’s selection for the Giants is fascinating because they can successfully go in several different directions.

The Giants filled their major needs in the 2021 free agency period. New York spent big in free agency and added two playmakers on offense in Kenny Golladay and Kyle Rudolph. Still, the Giants could draft another weapon at eleven, but now they don’t have to. They also do not have to draft a cornerback early on since they filled that hole with the splash signing of Adoree’ Jackson.

There are a couple of needs, though, that the Giants could fill at eleven. One primary need that New York did not address in free agency is the offensive line. New York’s front line was amongst the worst in the league in 2020. They need to fix the offensive line in front of Daniel Jones to allow him to enjoy his new stable of weapons. But should they reach to draft for need or take the best player available regardless of position?

There are two top-tier prospects that can heat this debate to a boil. One of the draft’s top offensive tackles, Rashawn Slater, could potentially be available at eleven overall. But the draft’s top defensive prospect, linebacker Micah Parsons, could also be available for the Giants. What happens if both of those players are on the board? Do the Giants draft the best player available, or do they draft to fill a crucial need?

The best player available: Micah Parsons

Micah Parsons – a former top-five lock

Entering the pre-draft process months ago, Micah Parsons was a top-five lock and potentially a top-three talent in this year’s draft class. In fact, if at this time last year someone asked a Giants fan, “would you rather have Rashawn Slater or Micah Parsons in next year’s draft?” many fans would have responded with, “Who is Rashawn Slater? Micah Parsons could be a generational talent, so he is the pick for sure.”

Now the debate is much less black and white and a lot more gray. Some fans say “Rashawn Slater, not even close,” and others say “Micah Parsons, no debate.”

Neither one of these players played in 2020. They both opted out of the COVID-riddled 2020 collegiate season. But one player’s draft stock (Slater) has risen tremendously in the past year, and the other player’s draft stock (Parsons) has slid and taken a bit of a hit. This time last year, Parsons was never expected to fall outside the top five, and Slater was not even expected to be a top-ten pick. Now, many believe Parsons will fall outside of the top-ten, and many have a tough time envisioning a world where Slater is not a top-ten pick. Why is that?

The conversation around positional value

The reason for Parsons’s and Slater’s swap in draft projection is simple: positional value. Offensive tackles are a premium. An NFL offense is only as only good as its offensive line. An elite offensive lineman can transform an offense. But does an elite linebacker do that for an NFL defense? In some cases, sure.

But when you are the New York Giants who have a young quarterback entering his third season on a rookie contract, you want to know what you have in him before you pay him. It has been tough to evaluate Daniel Jones due to the lack of playmakers around him and the poor offensive line in front of him. In theory, solidifying the offensive line would allow the Giants to get a good look at Daniel Jones and decide if he is or is not the future of the franchise.

The Giants already have a top-notch defense. Micah Parsons could propel New York’s defense to be arguably the best unit in the league. But, unless the Giants see significant progress from the guys on the roster or hit on an offensive line prospect in the later rounds, their biggest weakness will still be their biggest weakness in this scenario.

Micah Parsons’s “red flag”

Granted, there is another factor at play other than the positional value with Micah Parsons. He had some off-the-field question marks regarding a hazing scandal at Penn State. But most scouts and analysts seem to have moved on from those allegations, and most seem to believe it will not be a problem in the NFL. Parsons himself explained that he was a 17-18-year-old kid when the hazing happened.

Now, Parsons is a 21-year-old young man and father that has presumably aged and matured past those freshman shenanigans. But this murky history could hold teams back from drafting Micah Parsons.

Micah Parsons – the best linebacker prospect since Luke Keuchly?

NFL Draft scouts and analysts love to make player comparisons. Last summer, before the 2020 NCAA and NFL seasons kicked off and before everyone dove deep into this year’s draft class, Micah Parsons was getting insane player comparisons.

Brad Kelly, an acclaimed NFL Draft analyst and offensive coordinator for Portsmouth, declared Micah Parsons as the best linebacker prospect since Luke Keuchly in March of 2020. Pro Football Focus made the same comparison in August of 2020. Last summer around Micah Parsons, the consensus was that he is a truly rare and special (maybe even generational) defensive talent. Now he is barely even a top-ten pick. That is confusing, considering Micah Parsons did not play in 2020 but still showed up and dominated his Pro Day.

Micah Parsons ran a 4.36s 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. His relative athletic score was a 9.59 out of 10 with elite speed grades, great size grades, great explosion grades, and good agility grades. Micah is a freak athlete. He is also a near-perfect linebacker prospect.

According to Pro Football Focus, Micah Parsons missed only 11 tackles on 188 attempts in his career and improved his missed-tackle rate from 2018 to 2019. Also from PFF, “on 127 career pass-rush snaps, the Penn State linebacker has racked up 29 pressures and a 91.4 pass-rush grade.”

Micah Parsons is a rare talent. He has the rare blend of size, speed, and athleticism, combined with elite instincts, tackling, pass-rushing, and playmaking ability. If the Giants are trying to draft the best player available, they are drafting the next Luke Keuchly, and they are spending the eleventh overall pick on a home-run selection in Micah Parsons.

Drafting for need: Rashawn Slater

If the New York Giants are drafting for need, they are taking the best offensive lineman on the board and never looking back. Penei Sewell is widely considered to be the best offensive lineman in this year’s class. But Rashawn Slater is deemed to be a close second, and, in some rare cases, he is the top offensive lineman on some draft boards.

The Giants’ lowly 2020 offensive line performance

The Giants’ pass-block win rate in 2020, according to ESPN, ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win-rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. So while the Giants did upgrade Daniel Jones’s weapons in free agency, they still desperately need to fix the offensive line in front of him.

When the value of talent meets the importance of the need in the first round of the draft

The Giants need an upgrade on the offensive line. Whether that be at right tackle or offensive guard, the Giants need to add some talent to their front line more than any other position. 2021 is the year of Daniel Jones. New York needs to evaluate how he plays when he has sufficient talent around him. The painful truth is that the Giants’ talent on the offensive line is insufficient. Changes need to be made.

Rashawn Slater would be that massive upgrade on the Giants’ offensive line. He would be the talented player to fill that enormous need for the Giants. Slater was a dominant left tackle at Northwestern that deleted Chase Young in pass protection during their 2019 matchup. But in his 2018 freshman season, Slater played right tackle and was excellent on that side of the line, too.

Rashawn Slater and the importance of versatility

If the Giants drafted Slater, they have a plethora of options in front of them, thanks to Rashawn’s positional versatility. He is naturally an excellent left tackle, but the Giants just drafted their left tackle in 2020 with Andrew Thoams. Potentially, Thomas could make the switch to right tackle, and the Giants could plug in Rashawn Slater to protect Daniel Jones’s blindside. But Slater’s distant history at right tackle in 2018 could make him the day one starter at right tackle.

New York feels confident in its current starting tackles, though. They love Andrew Thomas and feel confident in Matt Peart’s potential as a future starter. On the interior, though, the Giants are expected to roll out former fifth-round pick and eight-game starter Shane Lemieux alongside the former starting guard who was benched for Lemieux, Will Hernandez. That is kind of scary, especially considering Lemieux is a clear work in progress.

Rashawn Slater was an excellent left tackle in college and deserves a chance to start outside in the NFL. However, he is pretty severely undersized for an offensive tackle. Many believe that Slater will find more success playing guard in the NFL. The most significant need on the Giants roster is at offensive guard. If he is there at eleven, the Giants could draft Rashawn Slater and get a day-one starter and a massive upgrade at offensive guard. Rashawn Slater is the top pick for the Giants to fill their most significant need, even if he is not the top talent on the board at eleven.

Rashawn Slater – the second-best player available?

While Micah Parsons would be the best player available if he is on the board at eleven, the argument could be made that Parsons and Rashawn Slater’s talent gap is not that wide. Just like Parsons, Slater is a guy with All-Pro potential. Some might even argue that Slater is the best player available, though the consensus would seem to indicate that Parsons is the higher-grade prospect between the two.

But Slater and Parsons might have relatively similar prospect grades. Not to say that Rashawn Slater is a potentially generational offensive tackle talent, but he is potentially an elite offensive lineman and long-term starter at the next level.

During Rashawn Slater’s dominant 2019 season that saw him lock up Chase Young, Slater produced a 90.0 PFF grade and allowed just five pressures over 11 games in his final season at Northwestern in 2019. According to Pro Football Focus, Slater was one of just five offensive linemen in 2019 with a grade of 87.0 or better in both run-blocking and pass-protecting. He allowed just five pressures on 355 pass-blocking snaps as a 20-year-old true junior. Slater also allowed only one hit on the quarterback, and no sacks surrendered all season.

Rashawn Slater could step in and fix the Giants’ pass-protection issues overnight. Slater could have an impact on the Giants’ offensive similar to the impact that Tristan Wirfs had in Tampa Bay last season. Wirfs was an undersized rookie near-All-Pro right tackle for the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. Slater could be that athletic, undersized tackle that exceeds expectations in 2021.

The decision?

Realistically, the Giants cannot go wrong in this scenario. With one pick, New York lands the best defender in the draft class and tries to fix the offensive line in round two. Micah Parsons transforms New York’s defense, aiding in run support and boosting their pass-rush. The Giants potentially have the best defense in the NFL next season while the offense makes strides and the team is hopefully looking at their first playoff berth in years.

The other scenario is pretty, too. Drafting Rashawn Slater gives the Giants long-term security on the offensive line. Andrew Thomas and Rashawn Slater hold down the fort for the next decade. New York gets to evaluate Daniel Jones properly as the offense takes a huge step forward and goes from a weakness to a potential strength.

Maybe Rashawn Slater is the better long-term choice. Maybe Micah Parsons makes the Giants a contender overnight. Of course, the draft is a crapshoot, which is why many teams go “best player available” with every pick. But this crapshoot aspect also leads teams to think, if it is so hard to hit on a pick, we might as well try to hit on a player we need.

Either one of these players would be looked at as home-run selections for the New York Giants. Micah Parsons and Rashawn Slater are both worthy of being the number eleven overall pick in the draft. The Giants are in a great position and have the chance to leave fans happy no matter whom they select in the first round.

My opinion:

To me, the easy pick is Micah Parsons. He is a talent that you do not pass up. I’m going best player available and looking to land one of the interior offensive linemen in round two. This is a deep draft class for offensive linemen. But no class is ever deep in potentially generational defensive talent. Parsons would be a rare find and a true weapon in Patrick Graham’s defensive scheme. For me, if he is on the board at eleven, Micah Parsons is the pick, no questions asked.

Fans’ opinions:

The fanbase is split on this decision, but seemingly leaning towards Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern. I asked the question on Twitter: Rashawn Slater or Micah Parsons? I received over 100 responses. It seems that the consensus among fans is to fill the most significant need with Rashawn Slater. The most frequently given reason is Daniel Jones’s development. Fans are sick and tired of seeing their rookie quarterback get beat up game after game. Rashawn Slater is the fan selection because fans want to see Daniel Jones get a fair chance in 2021.

Personally, I can respect this opinion and still stan firmly with my own. As I said, the Giants cannot go wrong at eleven. If these two prospects are on the board, they would both be home-run selections, and I cannot wait to see what happens at the end of the month. The New York Giants are one step closer to turning this thing around and becoming a playoff team once again.

New York Giants: Cornerback prospects to target in the later rounds

New York Giants, thomas graham

The New York Giants are gearing up for the 2021 NFL Draft after a successful free agency period. The Giants made a few splash signings in free agency. One key signing that the Giants made was that of Adoree’ Jackson, a talented cornerback that could help make the Giants’ defense one of the top units in the NFL this season.

But the Jackson signing was a case where the Giants took a chance on a talented player with the potential for excellence, but the same amount of risk that brings the potential for disaster. Adoree’ has dealt with significant injuries over the past couple of years. But now he is healthy and the Giants are confident he can remain healthy and return to form.

Regardless, the Giants should look to add more depth to their secondary. It never hurts to have extra defensive backs on the roster. Cornerbacks and safeties are injured pretty frequently and New York knows all too well the struggles that can come from starting backup cornerbacks on Sundays. To prepare for that scenario, the Giants should target some solid cornerback prospects in the later rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Cornerback prospects to target in the later rounds

Tay Gowan

The Giants love tall, physical cornerbacks with the speed and length to matchup on the outside. Tay Gowan out of UCF fits that bill perfectly. At his Pro Day, Gowan was listed just under 6 feet 1 inch, 186 pounds, and flew in the 40-yard dash at 4.41 seconds.

Gowan’s speed and athleticism are noticeable on tape. However, there is not much tape to watch. This is why Gowan could be overlooked and fall to the later rounds of the draft. Tay Gowan opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to COVID-19 concerns. But in 2019, he was phenomenal. Tay has allowed the second-lowest passer rating allowed in single coverage since 2019 with a rating of 26.6 (PFF).

We had the opportunity to speak to Tay Gowan on Fireside Giants. Check out that exclusive interview here.

Thomas Graham Jr.

The Giants love drafting Senior Bowl standouts. Oregon cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. stood out as one of the best prospects at the Senior Bowl this year. Graham is a day two or three cornerback prospect for the Giants to target this month.

Graham Jr. is another prospect that opted out of the 2020 season. Mike Renner of PFF mentioned how many of the opt-out players at the Senior Bowl looked rusty. But according to Mike and every other talent evaluator in Mobile during the Senior Bowl, Thomas Graham Jr. was not one of those players. Graham did not look rusty at all.

Thomas Graham Jr. locked down all the top wide receiver prospects at the Senior Bowl. In his career at Oregon, Graham racked up 183 tackles, 40 Passes Defended, 8 Ints, and 10.5 TFL. He was an exceptional talent on Oregon’s defense.

Benjamin St-Juste

Benjamin St-Juste is another big-bodied outside cornerback that would make a nice addition to the Giants’ defense in the middle rounds. St-Juste is freakishly built for a cornerback, 6-foot-3, 205 pounds with an insane 80 1/4 wingspan.

This lengthy cornerback out of Minnesota has all the physical tools to be an elite press-man cornerback in the NFL. He has the size, length, and strength to succeed as a boundary cornerback. He is not an elite athlete, but he is a technical cornerback that the Giants could develop into a capable player outside.

Benjamin St-Juste is another player that stood out at the Senior Bowl. His 2019 season was an impressive campaign that saw Benjamin break up 10 passes and total 45 tackles. St-Juste is a physical cornerback and a textbook tackler. If he is available for the Giants in the later rounds, Benjamin St-Juste seems like a player that could fit nicely into Patrick Graham’s defensive scheme.

New York Giants: Offensive playmakers to target in the middle rounds

New York Giants, Amari Rodgers

The New York Giants spent big in free agency this offseason to give quarterback Daniel Jones a competent stable of offensive weapons. New York gave Kenny Golladay a massive contract to be the Giants’ new alpha dog receiver. They also signed Kevin Rudolph to be a reliable tight end with the ability to make plays in the red zone.

But many get the sense that the Giants are not done adding playmakers this offseason. With three weeks until the 2021 NFL Draft, many still believe that the Giants will spend their first-round pick on an offensive weapon if the right one is on the board. But even if New York goes another route in round one, there are plenty of options on offense for them to consider adding in the middle rounds.

Mid-round offensive playmakers

Dyami Brown

UNC’s Dyami Brown is an intriguing option for the Giants to consider. This 6-foot-1, 185-pound wide receiver has drawn comparisons to Giants route technician Sterling Shepard. Dyami Brown is a dynamic outside wide receiver that racked up over 1,000 receiving yards in back-to-back seasons for the Tar Heels.

Brown’s draft stock has him projected to go in the second or third round of the draft. Dyami to the Giants in round three would be an absolute steal if he falls to them. But taking him in round two is a safe bet. Primarily playing the X receiver role in college, Dyami Brown is an outside, vertical threat that has elite upside. He does not have any slot experience, but his skill set of great route running and physicality could translate and allow him to thrive in that role at the next level.

Dyami Brown is a playmaker. He hauled in 20 touchdowns over his final two collegiate seasons. Per Pro Football Focus, Brown averaged 3.11 yards per route run last season, 14th among 68 qualifying draft-eligible wide receivers. Dyami is an intriguing wide receiver prospect that could turn the New York Giants’ offense into a dominant machine.

Brevin Jordan

Miami tight end Brevin Jordan had a disappointing Pro Day that could cause him to slip in the 2021 NFL Draft. But on film, Jordan is one of the more explosive tight ends in this draft class. Brevin Jordan has elite abilities after the catch with the ball in his hands. According to PFF, Jordan racked up 845 yards after the catch in his collegiate career.

Brevin is an undersized tight end that is a dynamic matchup weapon. But his Pro Day left a lot to be desired as Jordan’s RAS score came back at a lowly 4.52 out of 10. This is concerning considering many viewed Jordan as more “big athlete” than an actual tight end.

Brevin Jordan’s disappointing Pro Day could indicate a few things. It could indicate a fall in draft stock, causing him to slip and be a solid value selection for the Giants in the later middle rounds. But it could also indicate that Brevin is not the athlete many thought he was, or that he was not able to keep himself in shape and train properly for his Pro Day. If Jordan does have athletic or training problems, he could struggle to make it in the NFL. But there was enough electric play by Brevin Jordan during his collegiate career to make him a valuable mid-late-round pickup for any NFL team.

Amari Rodgers

The New York Giants cut veteran Golden Tate this offseason to save salary cap space. In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Giants could replace Golden Tate with his clone in Amari Rodgers. The two wide receivers have a near-identical playing style, a style that Daniel Jones greatly enjoyed playing with during his 2019 rookie season.

Golden Tate was a YAC king with a shorter body and a stocky frame. Amari Rodgers is in many ways the same. He has a running back build paired with quality route-running skills and an impressive catch radius for his size. Amari Rodgers thrived in 2020 as the primary receiver in Clemson’s explosive offense, racking up 1,020 receiving yards and 7 receiving touchdowns.

Amari Rodgers’s draft stock has hovered around the third or fourth round. Despite finding great success in an SEC offense, many have questions regarding Amari’s frame and how his skill set will translate to the NFL. Some have suggested that Amari moves to running back at the next level. But as a low-cost player for the Giants to take a flier on in the middle rounds, it is hard not to see the young Golden Tate similarities and fall in love with Amari Rodgers’s fit in New York.

Who should start at right tackle for the New York Giants in 2021?

New York Giants, Matt Peart

The New York Giants appear to have a position battle brewing on their offensive line. New York has its projected left tackle of the future in first-round pick Andrew Thomas. But on the other side of the line, the Giants have a giant question mark at right tackle.

In 2020, that position was manned by stop-gap journeyman Cam Fleming. Rotated into that position was also rookie offensive tackle Matt Peart out of UConn. With Fleming no longer on the Giants’ roster, many have assumed that Peart will take over the starting job.

But the Giants have a familiar face returning to the lineup as a potential starting offensive tackle. Nate Solder opted out of the 2020 season but will return in 2021 and compete at right tackle along with Matt Peart. It will likely come down to a camp battle between Peart and Solder. But the possibility remains that New York adds another right tackle candidate to the mix in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Matt Peart

The New York Giants selected Matt Peart in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Peart saw limited playing time in his rookie season, playing just 15% of the Giants’ offensive snaps (150 snaps). But Matt Peart looked good during his time on the field with the Giants.

Matt Peart finished the 2020 season with a respectable 69.7 overall Pro Football Focus grade. He allowed only 2 sacks on the year and recorded an elite performance in Week 6 against Washington (89.7 PFF grade). Peart also surrendered 0 pressures in the Giants’ second matchup with the Washington Football Team.

Matt Peart flashed a lot of potential as a rookie. Albeit, he did not see the field that much. But when he was on the field, Peart’s play was impressive. Dave Gettleman also stated that he feels comfortable going into 2021 with Matt Peart as the starting right tackle. If Matt Peart can build on his rookie season with more playing time in 2021, he could solidify himself as a long-term starter at right tackle for the Giants.

Nate Solder

Veteran offensive tackle Nate Solder has not played right tackle since his rookie season in 2011. In 2012, Solder made the switch to the left side of the line and never turned back. In 2018, the Giants paid him a historically large contract to be their starting left tackle. Solder never lived up to that contract, opted out in 2020, and is now looking to play a new role with the Giants in 2021.

Nate Solder will compete for the right tackle job this season. His contract numbers have been reduced significantly this offseason and the Giants want to see him remain with the team in an undetermined role. Solder could potentially win that right tackle job. But it is possible that he gets pegged into the role of a swing tackle.

Of course, the Giants could add a new offensive tackle to their roster before the season begins. The 2021 NFL Draft will take place at the end of this month and New York could land themselves a new right tackle to add to the competition. It will be interesting to see how the right tackle position shapes out for the New York Giants in 2021.