DeVonta Smith expected New York Giants to select him at 11 – what happened next was great for everyone

New York Giants, Devonta Smith

The New York Giants patiently waited at 11 for Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith to fall. However, the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys executed an interdivisional trade that sent Smith to Philadelphia, an unprecedented move that felt targeted at the Giants.

According to Smith himself, there were two teams he anticipated going to, and the Giants were one of them.

Appearing on Chris Long’s “Green Light” podcast, Smith anticipated being pursued by two teams — the Panthers and Giants:

“I thought Carolina was going to draft me,” Smith said. “That’s who I thought. I knew of course the Giants, but it was all about, you have to get to 11. I knew if I was there at 11, I was for sure going to the Giants.”

It was clear that the Giants were in the mix for Smith at 11, but what they ended up gaining instead was not only far more valuable, it also makes an instant impact on offense. Landing Kadarius Toney with a 20th overall pick, Gettleman and Co. added a receiver who tallied 1,145 yards at 11 scores last year. In addition, he has dropped just three passes over four seasons and generated a 35% missed tackle rate, the highest of any receiver in this past draft class.

The New York Giants should be ecstatic with their haul:

Toney is an exceptional talent that can blow the top off the defense at any moment and make tacklers miss in the open field. His shifty attributes and quality background make him a perfect fit for a Giants offense looking to add another element and weapon for a quarterback Daniel Jones.

The front office did plenty to help provide Jones with more weapons to increase their offensive production this year, but the OL still remains a question. Smith, on the other hand, didn’t look too excited to take his talents to Philly, despite having his former quarterback Jalen Hurts on the roster.

The Giants didn’t only add an instant playmaker on offense, they also gained a first, fourth, and fifth-round pick to utilize. They will have the Chicago Bears first and fourth-rounders next year, which could end up being extremely valuable as they have the second hardest schedule in the NFL and are in flux with their quarterback situation. They are expected to start Andy Dalton in 2021 and ease Justin Fields in, which could end up biting them in the butt in the win-loss category.

At the end of the day, everybody walked away happy, as Philadelphia got a premium receiver who is arguably the best college pass catcher in college history, and the Giants walked away with future draft capital and an exciting player in Kadarius Toney.

New York Giants: SEC coach claims Giants really wanted DeVonta Smith

New York Giants, Devonta Smith

The New York Giants walked away from the NFL Draft with a new weapon, but it wasn’t the one that was expected. Instead of DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle, they ended up trading down and selecting Kadarius Toney. However, according to one SEC defensive coordinator who spoke with ESPN, the Giants were really interested in Smith.

Coaches expected the SEC’s top three receiver prospects — Waddle, teammate DeVonta Smith and Chase — to go in the top 10. An SEC assistant said the Miami Dolphins would take Waddle or Smith, if available, and an SEC head coach said Philadelphia “got a steal in DeVonta,” likening the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner to former Eagles star DeSean Jackson. An SEC defensive coordinator added, “The Giants wanted DeVonta bad. They were pretty livid when Philly moved in front of them.”

Smith was the player mocked to the Giants in a number of mock drafts in the weeks before the event. The two time national champion is coming off a Heisman winning college season, and is expected to make an instant impact in the NFL.

However, the Eagles trading up to take him before the Giants means that New York will have to face Smith within the division.

It’s not all bad for the Giants, though. From the looks of it, their actual first round pick Kadarius Toney was a steal and the team still comes away with more versatility on the offense than they started with.

The matchups between Philadelphia and the Giants this year will be especially interesting, in part because of their draft results. We’ll have to wait to see which receiver does better head to head, but one look at a highlight reel shows that Toney shouldn’t be counted out.

New York Giants: Drafting Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith only makes Darius Slayton better

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

The New York Giants are pondering who to select with the eleventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. An argument has risen on Giants Twitter based on the team’s reported interest in top prospects. Fans are debating, should the Giants take one of the draft’s top wide receivers or one of the draft’s top cornerbacks?

One of the arguments against drafting a wide receiver with the eleventh overall pick is that the Giants already have a competent receiving corps. New York signed Kenny Golladay as its top receiving option this offseason. Opposite of him will be Darius Slayton in his third season. The dependable Sterling Shepard will move back into the slot.

On paper, that is a solid receiving trio. Behind the top three are a couple of quality depth options in John Ross and Dante Pettis. Fans are arguing that Darius Slayton is a quality secondary outside receiver, which is why the Giants should address a different position of need with their first draft pick. However, I will make a counterargument. Drafting an elite wide receiver talent at eleven overall will serve to maximize Darius Slayton’s talents and give Daniel Jones and the Giants’ offense all the tools possible to find success in 2021.

How Darius Slayton benefits from the Giants going receiver at eleven

There are two elite wide receiver talents that the Giants are reportedly interested in at eleven overall. Alabam wideouts Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. Devonta Smith was this year’s Heisman Trophy winner and is an elite talent that shattered records in 2020 at Alabama. Jaylen Waddle is considered by some to be the best wide receiver in this year’s draft class thanks to his game-breaking speed and rare athletic traits.

Darius Slayton is currently projected to be the Giants’ number two receiving option as their “Z” receiver. If the Giants were to draft Waddle or Smith, they would move into that number two role opposite of Golladay while Shepard continues to hold down the slot. This means Darius Slayton would fall to number four on the Giants’ receiver list.

Some view that as a negative for Big Play Slay. I think that this influx of additional receiver talent would benefit Darius Slayton and the Giants’ offense as a whole. Having four talented, starting-level receivers on the roster would allow the Giants to run more 14-personnel and four or five receiver sets. This would stretch opposing defenses’ secondaries thin, forcing a team’s fourth-string cornerback to be tasked with guarding Darius Slayton, a potential WR2 on some teams.

It is difficult to find depth at the cornerback position, similarly to wide receiver. But the pick of a wide receiver at eleven would give the Giants tremendous depth at the position to roast opposing secondaries lacking cornerback depth. Darius Slayton is likely talented enough to toast most fourth-string cornerbacks in the NFL on a play-by-play basis.

How Daniel Jones benefits, too

Additionally, having so much wide receiver talent on the roster and on the field at the same time makes life a whole lot easier for Daniel Jones. The Giants’ receivers struggled to gain separation and make plays for Jones in 2020. With such an influx in talent in 2021, that problem would dissipate and Daniel Jones would enjoy slinging the rock to a group of playmakers that could outmatch nearly any secondary in the NFL.

New York Giants Draft Rumor: Eagles looking to leap-frog Big Blue for stud wide receiver

New York Giants, Jaylen Waddle

The best thing the New York Giants can do in the 2021 NFL draft is remain patient with the 11th overall pick. Ultimately, there could be as many as five quarterbacks off the board in the top 10 selections, which would allow one of the best non-quarterback prospects in the draft to fall to Big Blue, so sitting pretty and letting the draft unfold in front of them is the most efficient process.

However, while the Giants should sit still, other teams are active, and the latest to be rumored to make a move are the Philadelphia Eagles.

Per Ben Standig of The Athletic:

As for the trade market, the Eagles are exploring a move into the top 10 despite having just dropped from No. 6 to No. 12. Having acquired a first-round pick in 2022 from the Dolphins, the Eagles could move up and still net more assets.

If one of the top receivers falls to the 9-10 range, the Eagles could pounds and steal a desired pick from the Giants. After already trading back from 6 to 12, they gained a first-round draft pick in 2022 and would likely have to give up far less to move up a few spots and get their receiver of choice. They would walk away winners in that scenario, potentially landing Jaylen Waddle out of Alabama, who is considered by some as the top pass catcher in the draft class.

Having to deal with Waddle for the next few years, if not more, would be tough for the Giants, who just signed Adoree Jackson to fill their vacant CB2 position. He is on a three-year, $39 million deal, a lofty contract despite his riddled injury history.

The Giants have a defense capable of mitigating Waddle’s influence on a contest, but keeping him out of Philadelphia would be an ideal scenario. If he did fall to the Giants at 11, he would be an easy selection, with Tyreek Hill speed and incredible potential.

If Philadelphia did, in fact, jump ahead of the Giants, Waddle’s teammate DeVonta Smith might fall instead. He is another receiver who is considered a homerun selection, despite his lack of size. Smith is arguably the best receiver in college history, finishing 2020 with 1856 yards and 24 total touchdowns. Smith is not only a stellar receiver, but he is as clutch as they come, completely dominating Ohio State in the National Championship game this past year.

No matter how you look at this scenario, the Giants walk away winners, it’s just a matter of who they will have to face in the future in the NFC East. There are rumors that Washington could move up and grab a quarterback, so for now, we just have to take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

New York Giants: Passing attack and O-line improve in PFF two round mock

New York Giants, Devonta Smith

The outlook is unclear for the New York Giants going into the draft after they addressed some of their big needs in free agency, but Pro Football Focus sees the franchise focusing on the offense when the time comes. The Giants have of course already added a premier weapon in wide receiver Kenny Golladay, but a team can never have too many threatening receivers, and there is a chance the Giants will be able to take one of the best players in the college game with the 11th pick.

That player is the current Heisman winner DeVonta Smith, who could fall due to his National Championship injury and LSU star Ja’Marr Chase being the preferred prospect. The two round mock draft sees the Giants managing to land him at an undervalued spot.

DeVonta Smith’s reported weight (170 pounds) shouldn’t keep the Giants from pulling the trigger on the Heisman Trophy winner if he falls into their laps at No. 11 overall. And while the team did just break the bank for former Detroit Lions receiver Kenny Golladay, Smith is an instant upgrade over Darius Slayton or Sterling Shepard — one who will benefit from playing a rotational role split between the outside and the slot.

Similar to Miami’s situation with Tua Tagovailoa, New York needs to do everything it can to see if Daniel Jones can be “the guy” for the franchise before making the decision to either move on from him or offer an extension. Adding Smith is a step in that direction.

Taking a look at round two

There’s been a lot less talk and discussion about which player the Giants will take in the second round, but that will be important too. If the mock draft is accurate, the player that the Giants will settle for in round two is Alabama center Landon Dickerson.

This is of course a pick that would have a chance of improving the offensive line right away by giving competition to Nick Gates, who doesn’t look like the long term option at the spot. He came into the league as an undrafted free agent, after all. Gates has overachieved to get in the spot he’s in, but at the end of the day, the Giants would benefit from someone with a higher ceiling.

Joe Judge was notably a former part of the staff at Alabama. It won’t be surprising if the Giants end up taking at least one player from the Crimson Tide in the draft, considering how Judge has already brought over some of the hallmark cultural aspects of college football’s top dynasty.

Even if the Giants don’t take Smith, that player may end up being Dickerson, who recently showed off with cartwheels that he’s over an ACL injury that might have raised questions for scouts.

New York Giants: The Draft Network names wide receiver as number one need

New York Giants, Devonta Smith

Going into the NFL Draft as well as free agency, the New York Giants have more than one need they need to fill before they can take a step forward. They did nearly make it into the playoffs in 2020, but a lot of luck was involved for them to stay in the race and the Giants can’t count on that again this year. However, while their need to add talent is clear, it’s not so clear just where that talent needs to go.

We can, however, get some idea of which areas the Giants might be looking at just from looking at the tape last season. The Draft Network, one of the better outlets breaking down draft prospects every year, did just that and came up with a list of positions the Giants need to address – receiver was at the top of it.

Taking a look at the options

Without a true No. 1 receiver, Jones and the entire New York offense struggled to put together drives all year in 2020. Filling that role in free agency or the draft could boost Jones’ performance and confidence, in turn benefiting the entire Giants offense.

Kenny Golladay is a great fit here in free agency, and after trade deadline rumors linking him with the Giants, it’s likely New York is continuing to look at Golladay as one of their options.

Golladay has been a thousand yard receiver for the past couple years when he’s been healthy, but his availability is in question. It looks like the Giants have the highest chance of picking up a playmaker through the draft, where there’s a number of highly rated receiver prospects such as Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle.

It’s likely that one or two of these players will be off the board by the time the Giants pick at number eleven overall, but considering the depth at the position in this class, they have a chance to get a quality playmaker that will help Daniel Jones regardless. Assuming, of course, the Giants go the orthodox route and take a receiver – under Dave Gettleman, you never quite know if they’ll take the expected path, after all.

New York Giants: CBS Sports mock draft predicts DeVonta Smith falling to 11

New York Giants, Devonta Smith

There’s a lot of reasons why the New York Giants would want DeVonta Smith, but they may have a hard time getting the receiver at their current spot. Smith is the current Heisman winner and one of few receivers to pull off the accomplishment, and the Giants look like one of the best fits for him in the NFL – but other teams seem likely to take the Alabama receiver first.

CBS Sports, however, has predicted a different course. Their latest mock draft has the Giants taking Smith at number 11, after LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase is the first receiver off the board.

The Giants have a lot of needs — edge rusher, cornerback, offensive lineman, tight end — but it’s hard to pass up on the best player in college football. Smith is an out-of-this-world talent whose only shortcoming is that he’s undersized. His slight frame didn’t limit his effectiveness during his Alabama career and he gives Daniel Jones an immediate downfield threat in New York.

What are the odds Smith is available?

At first it seemed like there was little chance Smith would fall to the Giants following his Heisman campaign. After the National Championship Game, there might be more of a chance than there was earlier. Smith was injured in that game with a dislocated finger, and while it doesn’t sound like the most serious injury, he did undergo surgery for it.

In the grand scheme of things, though, it’s unlikely the Giants would have a chance to acquire a better receiver. Injury or no injury. It’s doubtful it would deter the Giants from taking him if available, but may give an edge to Ja’Marr Chase in the prospect rankings and prevent Smith from being the first receiver picked.

Smith is one of the best weapons the Giants could add this offseason to help Daniel Jones and it looks like the team has good odds of selecting him if he’s available. While it’s not a sure bet that Smith will be around where the Giants are picking, it’s not entirely impossible either and some mock drafts still see things going that way.

New York Giants could find desired receiving threat in second round of 2021 NFL Draft

new york giants, terrace marshall

The New York Giants will be in the market for a wide receiver this offseason. Both general manager Dave Gettleman and co-owner John Mara promised to add playmakers to the offense this “roster-building” season. New York will certainly be targeting a receiving threat in free agency or the draft if they are not able to sign a top-tier playmaker.

Many Giants fans are in consensus agreement that their team needs to spend their eleventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on a wide receiver. While the position is certainly a great need for New York, they should not feel like it is first round or nothing at wide receiver. There are a few enticing receiving options for the Giants to consider in the second round.

Second-round wide receiver targets

There are a few talented wide receivers that the New York Giants could target in the second round of the draft. The 2021 is a class loaded with premium wide receiver talent. This gives the Giants more opportunities to find their playmaker.

There are three wide receivers who are seemingly locked in as top-fifteen draft picks; Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, and Ja’Marr Chase. But outside of this big three, there are other exciting receiver prospects that could be available down the line.

Terrace Marshall Jr.

The LSU wide receiver getting all the buzz leading up to the draft is Ja’Marr Chase. Chase was dominant in 2019, totaling an insane  1,780 receiving yards with 20 receiving touchdowns. But Chase was also playing alongside another playmaker in the LSU receiving corpse.

Terrace Marshall Jr. played that complimentary, WR2 role in LSU’s offense in 2019. As the secondary receiver, Terrace recorded 671 yards and 13 touchdowns. Moving into a more expanded role in 2020, Marshall was legit, racking up 731 yards and 10 touchdowns in only 7 games.

Marshall averaged more than 100 receiving yards per game as the primary target in LSU’s 2020 offensive attack. Terrace has something that the receivers on the Giants’ roster do not have: size. New York’s tallest starting receiver is Darius Slayton at 6 feet 1 inch, 190 pounds. Terrace Marshall is 6 feet 3 inches, 200 pounds. Marshall could be a solid big-body outside wide receiver option for the Giants, something they are currently lacking in their offensive scheme.

According to Joe Marino of The Draft Network, Terrace Marshall Jr. “offers terrific size, physicality, hands, ball skills, run after catch ability, route-running skills, and overall technical-refinement.” Terrace would be a perfect fit for the Giants if they go wide receiver in round two.

Rondale Moore

The Giants could go a totally different route, though, at wide receiver in the second round. Rondale Moore is another excellent talent, but with a totally different playing style. Rather than being a big-bodied, physical wide receiver like Terrace Marshall Jr., Rondale Moore is an explosive, speedy option in round two.

Playing at Purdue for the last three years, Rondale is listed at only 5 feet 9 inches and has drawn comparisons to elite Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Moore has reportedly ran a 4.33s forty-yard dash at Minnesota, giving him elite speed downfield.

Moore is a tough sell in round one, though, for good reason. Rondale is explosive and has elite athletic traits. But he has not been able to stay healthy throughout his collegiate career. Moore has dealt with lingering lower-body injuries since 2018 and missed the majority of the 2019 season. In 2020, Rondale opted out, then back into the season, but played in only three games. There has not been a lot of clarification as to the reason why he missed so much time in 2020. Moore could be injured, or could be healthy. He is likely injured, but there has been no confirmation.

Rondale Moore is interesting because he has an extremely high, atrium ceiling. But he also has a terrifyingly low, Mariana Trench floor. Will Rondale Moore ever be able to stay healthy and reach his potential? That is the crucial question. He has all of the elite athletic traits that creative playcallers dream about. But Moore’s inability to stay on the field might keep teams from taking a chance on him early on in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Drafting Rondale Moore would add another element currently foreign to the Giants’ offense. The Giants do not have a guy with game-breaking speed like Moore possesses. He is truly electric and could change the way New York’s offense attacks if they decide to take a chance on this risky round two prospect.

New York Giants: Xavier McKinney high on Alabama teammates as prospects

New York Giants, Devonta Smith

There’s a connection between the New York Giants to Alabama through head coach Joe Judge and multiple players, and it might grow further with this coming draft. That’s because there’s a number of players from the national champion Crimson Tide that might end up as Giants.

That includes a pair of receivers as well as another player in the secondary that could join ex-Alabama and current Giants safety Xavier McKinney once again.

The big name being thrown around in connection with the Giants is Devonta Smith. The wide receiver won the Heisman this season and, while he left the field injured, had three touchdowns in the National Championship. Smith has been mocked to the Giants before, but it’s debatable whether he’ll fall enough for the Giants to take him at number eleven.

Another name at receiver to memorize is Jaylen Waddle. The receiver is another member of the Alabama offense and while he missed time with injury and only played in 6 games for his junior season, he still registered 591 yards and 4 touchdowns. This class of receivers has been called a deep one. If the Giants don’t get Smith, it’s possible they end up with a player like Waddle.

As a former college teammate of both, McKinney is confident about their prospects in the league.

What did McKinney have to say?

“They’re talented as everybody can see. Those are guys that work hard. They do what they need to do for the team to be able to help the team win. That’s what I like a lot about those two guys just being out there playing with them. When we played those harder games, they always showed up to play,” McKinney said of the two Alabama receivers headed to the draft. “Like I said, they’re talented guys and I can’t wait to see how things go on the next level for them.”

The Giants have a need at the position after Sterling Shepard hasn’t been enough as their sole number one receiver and Darius Slayton hasn’t stepped up to the plate either. In fact, Slayton somewhat regressed since his first year.

He did have slightly more yards, but only 3 touchdowns compared to 8. He was targeted more but the ball didn’t get to him more than it did last season, with only two more receptions compared to 2019. And with Slayton having more of a role in the offense and starting more games compared to 2019, those stats don’t look good on him.

Few believed at first that Devonta Smith will be available at the time the Giants pick. However, his injury in the national championship may change that. If other teams are more wary, the Giants might be able to fill their need for less than Smith’s true value.

A player in the secondary for the Giants

Another player from Alabama that might be on the radar for the Giants is Patrick Surtain. Surtain is on the defensive side of the ball rather than the offense, specifically playing the cornerback position. Like many players to come out of Alabama, he has a reputation for discipline and holds the accomplishment of not allowing more than 60 yards in coverage in a single game last season.

The Giants have one high level cornerback in James Bradberry, but the secondary would receive a big boost from having another one playing on the other side of him. That player could be Surtain, who is predicted to be one of the first corners off the board.

“That’s another one of those guys where he comes to work every day, he prepares how he should and he’s another talented corner,” McKinney said about his former teammate in the secondary. “It’s a guy that I love to play with when we were at ‘Bama. I thought he did a lot of things well. He’s a really talented corner. He’s one of the best technicianists that I’ve gotten to actually witness at corner. That’s my guy.”

Of course, some Giants fans might be nervous about drafting a cornerback in the first round given the team’s track record. The Giants will have some regrets at the position from taking Eli Apple and DeAndre Baker in the first round and having both those players off the team within a relatively short time span. In the case of Baker, he was only on the team for one year before the Giants moved on from him.

But with this prospect coming out of Alabama, a team known for it Patriots-like system and discipline, it seems less likely the Giants will find such problems with Surtain. After all, we’ve seen the products of that system work out for the Giants so far. When McKinney, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Joe Judge can all trace roots back to there, it must be doing something right.

New York Giants: 3 wide receivers to keep an eye on during the National Championship

New York Giants, Devonta Smith

The Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes are playing on Monday night in the National Championship Game. This is the last time NFL teams will see these players play in a live game before they go through the NFL Draft process. The New York Giants need a No.1 wideout to be paired up with Daniel Jones. All Giants players and fan’s eyes will be glued to the T.V., watching hopefully one of their future playmakers on the outside.

Here are three WRs, the New York Giants could be interested in:

DeVonta Smith, Alabama

DeVonta Smith is arguably the best wideout in college football and will easily be the best wideout you see on Monday. Most draft analysts expect Smith to be off the board when the Giants pick, but what happens if Smith falls or if the New York Giants trade up?

The 6-foot-1 wideout out of Alabama has incredible hands but would need to bulk up some at the NFL level. He needs to balance his height with the cornerback’s strength to get off press coverage. Besides Smith’s weight, Smith is a perfect prospect. Smith excels at creating separation, which the Giants need the most on offense. Smith is also a fantastic route runner with perfect footwork.

This is the player that all Giants fans would be thrilled to get in April.

Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

Jaylen Waddle is a name you might not have heard of, but he is in that DeVonta Smith tier of wide receiver. Waddle has been hurt for most of the season, which is why you have not heard his name much.

Waddle is not a big body receiver (5-foot-10), which the New York Giants are looking for, but he is lightning fast. The Giants lack separation on the outside, Waddle best attribute is his speed. Waddle can stretch the field or catch one short and take it to the house. Defense’s have to be aware of Waddle at all times; he reminds me a lot of Odell Beckham Jr.

Waddle is expected to be drafted in the top 15 in April, maybe to the New York Giants.

Chris Olave, Ohio State

Alabama has been breeding wide receiver talent, but Ohio State has a receiver that can find his way in the first round.

After Ja’Marr Chase, Waddle, and Smith, there is a drop off of wideout talent, but Olave is in that next tier. The Giants could trade down in the draft and get Olave later, but should they?

Olave is 6-foot-1, 187 pounds, the perfect size for an outside receiver. The biggest issue with Olave is his route running, which the Giants’ biggest need is for the wideouts to get separation. Olave has the speed, strength, and athleticism to get a consistent receiver at the next level in the NFL.

Olave is expected to go in the late first round or top of the second round.