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.

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.