New York Giants interested in cornerbacks at 11, would it be a mistake?

new york giants, jaycee horn

With just a few days remaining until the 2021 NFL draft, the New York Giants remain patient and sturdy with the 11th overall pack. While other teams continue to maneuver around them, it seems as if they will wait until draft day to make any big decisions, but don’t expect the rumors to stop anytime soon.

The Giants have been connected to a variety of different positions, ranging from wide receiver to pass rusher. They have sent plenty of front office personnel to evaluate the edge rusher’s in this draft class, and according to Dave Gettleman and Chris Pettit, they seem enamored by several who they believe are worthy of taking in the first round.

While this very well could be a smokescreen, there are other reports that indicate the Giants are intrigued by this cornerback class. Some believe they could even spend the 11th overall pick on Alabama’s Patrick Surtain or South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn. Upper management has spoken with both corners via a zoom call to round out their evaluations.

Would drafting a corner be the most efficient way to utilize the 11th overall pick? Probably not.

Considering they just signed Adoree Jackson to a three-year, $39 million deal, spending draft capital, especially premium selections on the position, might be a bit inefficient. The defense, which ranked in the top 10 in points allowed per game in 2020, added even more talent to the secondary plus more experience. The offense, on the other hand, ranked 31st in points per game and had one of the worst passing attacks in the NFL last year.

Quarterback Daniel Jones saw his touchdowns drop from 24 to 11 in just one season, indicating a step backward with Jason Garrett taking over as the offensive coordinator. With a lackluster offensive line and sluggish weapons to utilize, the Giants spent upwards of $70 million upgrading the wide receiver position, adding Kenny Golladay and John Ross to the unit.

The argument to make is whether using the 11th overall pick on a corner or wide receiver makes more sense. I would argue giving Jones as many weapons as humanly possible is the priority, as the defense will likely be a top 10 unit once again, and the offense needs to take a drastic step forward.

Of course, the most beneficial selection would be a premium offensive lineman, but there is a significant drop off in talent after Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater, who are both projected to go in the top 10 picks. Nonetheless, Slater is a potential option at 11, and if he is available, the Giants might be walking away with one of the most versatile and talented linemen in the draft. He can play both right tackle and right guard, offering them an instant plug-in player option to start the 2021 season.

Alternatively, using the pick on a receiver like Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith might be the most beneficial move, as Sterling Shepard has an out in his contract after 2021 in which the Giants can save a bit of cash and elevate the receiver they draft this year to his position as WR2. Logically, that would make the most sense if they can move on from Shep, saving a bit of money while also upgrading the position with one of the top playmakers in this year’s draft class.

Drafting a quarterback in the early rounds would be a mistake, as he likely wouldn’t even be starting unless they feel comfortable utilizing Horn or Surtain in the slot, which is possible. However, I would not overlook Darnay Holmes, who I believe is going to take a big step forward next season after gaining some experience in 2020 and working on his craft the past few months (according to his trainer Brian Walker.)

New York Giants: 3 plug and play guards to target in the 2nd round

new york giants, wyatt davis

It doesn’t matter how many offensive weapons Daniel Jones has if his protection on the offensive line is inadequate. The New York Giants still have a lot of work left to do to solve one of their biggest weaknesses, and after cutting their best lineman in Kevin Zeitler this off-season to free up money, they have to solve this hole in the NFL draft, whether it be in the first or second round.

While I believe the Giants will let the first round unfold in front of them, they could have an opportunity to select a premium lineman like Rashawn Slater or even Alijah Vera-Tucker. However, there are a few options in the second-round that could be plug-and-play starters on day one of the 2021 season.

While the drop-off is quite significant, these players have solid upside it might just like that elite talent that Slater and penne so will bring to the table. Not every starter in the NFL needs to be an All-Pro, though, as even an above-average player who slides under the Pro Bowl is still an adequate starter.

If you put it into perspective, Zeitler was easily the Giants’ best lineman and was nowhere near being a Pro-Bowl guard last season; we just need a young player to replicate his efficiency and hold down the right guard position. Now, it all depends on what type of value the Giants want to give up to solve the spot, and we know that Dave Gettleman had never drafted an OL in the first round prior to taking Andrew Thomas 4th overall last season.

Three iOL the New York Giants can target in the 2nd round:

1.) Wyatt Davis

The first option that makes a ton of sense for the Giants is Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis. Davis has pro comparisons to David DeCastro, as a strong and powerful interior lineman who excels on the strong side of the play. The Giants don’t run a ton of counters, so if they are using a power gap scheme or outside zone, Davis should be adequate. As a powerful guard, he has a similar feel to Will Hernandez, operating in the trenches to create space for his running backs but also fend off pass rushers.

The problem with Davis is that he isn’t the most agile lineman, which might be a problem for the Giants if they require their guards to pull across the line of scrimmage to hit the crack blocks. If that is the case, Davis might need a bit of refinement and time to adapt his game, but he has a solid player with upside at the NFL level.

2.) Landon Dickerson

Landon Dickerson is an interesting player, as he hosts a problematic injury history, including a torn ACL and multiple lower-body issues. Coming out of North Carolina, Dickerson was considered one of the top offensive tackle recruits before moving to the inside with Alabama. He was most recently invited to the Senior Bowl but did not participate due to injury, which is still a major concern. The problem with Dickerson, he’s an incredibly talented player and a fantastic person, so despite the injuries, a team will take him in the second round, and he will be an adequate player when available.

He has a solid frame to hold it down in the interior and will easily make the transition to guard if the team wants to move him there. As a vocal leader and superior athlete, I believe he will have a successful career if he can remain healthy, and that might be a risk the Giants are willing to take.

3.) Creed Humphrey

Creed Humphrey is another option the Giants are likely considering, as a left-handed center coming out of Oklahoma. Humphrey is a 6’4″, 302-pound interior lineman, and one of the things I like about him the most is that he is another fantastic leader that diagnoses plays well the line of scrimmage. While Lance Zierlein of NFL.com doesn’t believe he’s a fantastic athlete, he has a high football IQ and is in the right place at the right time. He’s able to finish blocks and has a nasty streak, which is something the Giants prefer and their linemen.

While Humphrey might not be a star of the NFL level, he will be adequate and hold it down and run blocking and pass protection. Zierlein coins him a safe selection rather than a star player, but having three years of experience and two years as a team captain should convince an NFL team that he’s capable of being a valuable player in the trenches.

2 players the New York Giants can’t go wrong with at 11

new york giants, rashawn slater, micah parsons

The New York Giants have a unique opportunity to find an elite prospect with the 11th overall pick, and it is one they cannot make a mistake with, based on their current needs and trajectory after spending over $200 million in free agency.

General manager Dave Gettleman already claimed that they need an instant playmaker from whoever they select at 11, whether that be an offensive threat or defensive weapon.

There are two realistic players who could be on the board for the Giants, as a minimum of six elite non-quarterbacks who would normally go in the top 10 selections will drop to the Giants based on this year’s number of quarterbacks.

Two players the New York Giants can’t miss on at 11:

1.) Rashawn Slater

Some analysts are comparing Rashawn Slater to All-Pro offensive guard Zack Martin, who currently plays for the Dallas Cowboys. Martin was a previous offensive tackle at the college level, and Slater closely mimics his frame and build, paired with his elite athleticism. With the expectation that he could move inside to guard if the Giants landed Slater, they would not only gain a potential All-Pro level talent but arguably an upgrade at right guard over Kevin Zeitler.

The Giants let Zeitler walk this free agency to save cap space, and replacing him with Slater would not only give them a fantastic supplement, but a player you can also move out to tackle if need be on the right side. In this scenario, the Giants would have an extremely young offensive line, with most of them on rookie contracts. That would give them a serious advantage moving forward in building out the rest of their team, and with their quarterback also on his rookie deal, their spending spree this off-season is justified.

Some of Slater‘s strengths include positional flexibility, functional strength, above-average athleticism, and fantastic footwork in space. He would not only be a hammer of a pulling guard in the Giants’ power gap scheme but would also thrive in pass protection. His transition to the NFL will likely go seamless, but if he makes the move to the interior, it could take him a few games to gain his sea legs.

2.) Micah Parsons

Of course, arguably the best defender in this draft class is none other than linebacker Micah Parsons. Parsons is a fantastic athlete with the ability to play outside linebacker as a pass rusher but also man the middle of the field as the MIKE.

He is one of the most refined run-stopping linebackers I’ve ever seen on film, using pass rush moves at the second level to shed blocks on tight ends and guards. With fantastic football instincts, sniffing out end-arounds, and sideline to sideline speed, his qualities are translatable to the NFL level.

Minus the allegations against him dating back to college, it would be extremely difficult for the Giants to pass on Parsons at 11 if he were there, even if Slater was on the board. However, positional value still exists, and it would tell you that drafting Slater would be the smarter move over Parsons, despite the linebacker having some of the best film some analysts have seen at the position in quite some time.

The New York Giants could be in love with Jaelan Phillips, but he comes with major concerns

new york giants, jaelan phillips

By all indications, the New York Giants feel strongly about this year’s pass rush class. While most believe that the 2021 NFL draft has a weak presence at edge rusher, the Giants have spent plenty of resources sending front office personnel to evaluate the options available with the 11th overall pick. In fact, they might be trying to eye a trade down, gaining value while also adding one of the best pass rushers on the board to their defense.

During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, general manager Dave Gettleman stated that he has considered trading down in the past, despite history telling us otherwise. He simply said that the value presented was not worth making a move, which forced him to stay put and make his original selection.

However, if the Giants really are enamored by one specific pass rusher in this class, there are two options that make the most sense. The first is Georgia stand-out Azeez Ojulari, who is a bit undersized but fits the Giants’ scheme to perfection as an outside linebacker. Alternatively, Miami’s Jaelan Phillips is also a stud who can play in the five tech and as a stand-up outside linebacker in the 3-4r base scheme.

Phillips is quite an incredible prospect but comes with serious baggage that could influence where he is drafted in just under a week. At 6’5″ and 258 pounds, Phillips is a former five-star recruit who has suffered a significant number of concussions, including ankle and wrist injuries. At one point, he accrued as many as four concussions in one season, which forced him to retire from football, but once he returned to health, he joined Miami and completely dominated in 2020. He posted 45 tackles, 15.5 for a loss, and eight sacks.

What would the New York Giants be getting in Phillips?

Phillips was not only one of the best edge rushers in college football, but minus his concussion issues, he might be a top 10 selection this year. With his versatility and ability to adapt to any scheme, he makes the most sense for the Giants, who love to get creative and utilize base packages and nickel formations. In the nickel, the Giants would use four down linemen, two linebackers, and five defensive backs. While a player like Ojulari might thrive as a stand-up pass rusher, Phillips can do both, making him more advantageous as an every-down pass rusher.

While I do believe he would be the ideal fit for the Giants’ scheme, especially with a reliance on man coverage next season after the acquisition of Adoree Jackson, the concussions represent a major concern. There is a belief that a few more concussions could result in him developing serious headaches, which could make his future in the NFL problematic. We’ve seen what concussions can do to players in the past, especially with sterling Shepherd, who was forced to miss months of football.

If the Giants evaluate Phillips and find that his medical checks out clean, he wouldn’t be as much of a risk at the NFL level, especially after learning better fundamentals and ways to avoid taking shots to the head. I do think he has the most upside of any pass rusher in this draft class, but ideally, he would be acquired in a trade-back scenario, not at 11, especially with elite prospects on the board with a minimal injury history.

Giants News: DeVonta Smith showing New York love, Daniel Jeremiah speaks out on Gettleman trade back

New York Giants, Devonta Smith

As we grow nearer to the start of the 2021 NFL draft, the New York Giants have done a phenomenal job keeping the media running in circles. Dropping smokescreens daily, the Giants have been linked to players like Patrick Surtain, Jaelan Phillips out of Miami, DeVonta Smith out of Alabama, and so many more.

Ultimately, nobody has any real idea what the Giants might do in the draft, and usually, there are whispers of who they are enamored by days before. It is nice to see some mystery behind the scenes, as the Giants sit in an advantageous position with the 11th overall pick. Considering multiple quarterbacks could go in the top 10 picks, the Giants will have their fair share of elite prospects to choose from, which would suggest taking a best player available approach.

One player who the Giants reportedly like is Devonta Smith, who set records last year in college football and is considered arguably the best college receiver of all time. Last season, he posted 1856 yards and 23 touchdowns through the air, six of which came in the postseason.

Smith was seen in New York at the Knicks game on Tuesday evening, sporting a Yankees had to go along with his attire. It is clear he loves New York, and the Giants would be lucky to have him.

Despite signing Kenny Golladay and John Ross this off-season, adding a player like Smith would be a major boost for quarterback Daniel Jones. Not only can Smith play as an “X” receiver on the outside, but can also serve a purpose in different alignments, which the Giants can get creative with.

Sterling Shepard has just one year left on his deal before the team has an out in his contract, so they could execute his contract option if they draft Smith, who would take over his role with even more potential.

Trade back rumors haunt the New York Giants:

The Giants have been mocked as trade-down candidates for the 11th overall pick lately. If a quarterback falls to them, we should anticipate a Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge inquiring about the possibility of moving back, depending on what talent is available and the value they can receive. However, NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah believes that there’s a better chance of a right turn happening in NASCAR than Gettleman moving back in the draft.

Gettleman has never moved back in his career, having been a part of eight drafts as a general manager. We shouldn’t expect this one to be any different, according to Jeremiah, despite other analysts believing they have considered this internally.

I would have to side with Jeremiah on this one, as the Giants will have their choice of top prospects with so many quarterbacks going in the first 10 selections. Adding an instant playmaker on day one is more beneficial than moving back and taking a prospect with upside but some concerns.

New York Giants are mulling idea of doing the impossible…trading down

New York Giants, Joe Judge

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has never traded back in the NFL draft, and that is a sample size spelling eight NFL seasons. However, the 2021 draft offers an opportunity to not only acquire more draft capital but also pick a playmaker in a trade down scenario.

We have gone through several trade back scenarios, where the Giants find themselves in a position to snag the best pass rusher available in a weak class, but the value they can add might not be worth passing on an elite talent like Micah Parsons or even one of the top receivers on the board.

The Giants have sent plenty of front office personnel to evaluate the edge rushers this year, including Gregory Rousseau, Jaelan Phillips, Azeez Ojulari, and many more. While they could be considering one of those options in the second round, depending on if any drop, one NFL analyst believes the Giants could realistically trade back, despite not having a history of doing so.

According to NFL Analyst Ian Rapoport:

The Giants are slated to pick No. 11 in the NFL Draft, and trading back is already something they are internally considering, I’m told. That spot will have real value. … How rare would a trade down be? GM Dave Gettleman has never traded down in the 1st round in 8 drafts as a GM

Trading back could return some great value for the New York Giants:

The idea of walking away with more draft capital and plugging multiple holes sounds good in theory. However, passing up in an elite talent at 11 would be difficult to do. There’s an argument to be made the Micah Parsons might be more influential than any of the pass rushers in the first round this year. As a potential generational talent who can do many things, including rush the passer and stop the run at an elite level, the value might be too much to pass on. Ultimately, the Giants can let the draft come to them and remaining patient, waiting to see if any quarterbacks fall and teams are looking to trade up.
The 11th overall pick is actually an advantageous one this year, with multiple quarterbacks expected to go in the first 10 picks, opening up the possibility for several elite players to fall right into Big Blue’s lap.
Again, Gettleman has never moved back in a draft before, and I wouldn’t expect a change in strategy at this point in his career. However, after adding Joe Judge and more forward-thinking personnel behind the scenes, their methodologies might be in flux.

2 players the New York Giants should avoid in the 1st round of the NFL Draft

New York Giants, Gregory Rousseau

There are a few positions in the 2021 NFL draft that are considerably week. The New York Giants simply can’t reach on a player who won’t offer a significant impact on day one with the 11th overall pick. With an expected 4-5 quarterbacks to go in the first 10 picks, the Giants will have their choice at a bevy of elite options, so there are a few players in specific positional groupings that should be avoided at all costs.

Two players the New York Giants should stay away from in the 2021 NFL Draft:

1.) EGDE Gregory Rousseau

To start, Miami pass rusher Gregory Rousseau is the number one player on the list to avoid for the Giants at 11. Former NYG vice president Marc Ross seems to think the Giants will select him with the 11th overall pick, but based on his track record and being fired by the Giants several years ago, we can make the assumption he’s not in the know.

Rousseau is an interesting prospect, nonetheless, as he posted 15.5 sacks in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. He forced four fumbles and posted 19.5 tackles for a loss and 34 solo tackles. The problem with Greg is that a majority of his socks came from the zero technique as an interior pass rusher, which won’t fly at the NFL level with bigger and stronger offensive lineman.

Rousseau simply doesn’t have an established position, with a little experience on the edge and no experience at outside linebacker, which the Giants utilize in their 3-4 scheme.

Selecting him would be purely based on speculation and upside, and after a disappointing Pro Day, he is dropping like a fly on draft boards. Some even have him in the second round as an athletic upside with potential. His minimal bend around the edge and lack of size make him inadequate for the interior on the defensive line, and as an edge, he simply doesn’t have to production or experience to be worthy of the 11th pick.

2.) EDGE Kwity Paye

It is no surprise that two edge rushers are the two players the Giants should stay away from in the draft. While Kwity Paye has tons of potential and has a play style like Jadeveon Clowney, he’s not going to be an elite pass rusher on day one. While he might be a strong run defender, he is a down lineman who plays in the four-point stance, so he would only play in nickel packages for the Giants, which would already slash his snap count considerably.

As stated above, the Giants have an opportunity to select an impact player on day one and trying to find a suitable position for Paye might be difficult. While he does have a bit of experience at OLB, he’s not refined in the category, and based on his experience and potential there alone, might even be a second-round pick for the Giants. For a team that runs a 4-3 base defense, he would be a fantastic selection with upside, given his functional strength and strong hands.

New York Giants still have a major problem and the draft offers a solution

Rashawn Slater, New York Giants

The New York Giants had the 32nd ranked offensive line in pass-blocking efficiency in 2020 (PFF), and yet they still found a way to make their OL worse this off-season. By cutting veteran right guard Kevin Zeitler, not only did they lose their best lineman, but they created a massive hole at a position of strength.

It seems as if the Giants feel confident that Andrew Thomas can hold down the left tackle spot, Will Hernandez will likely start at left guard, Nick Gates at center, and a combination of Nate Solder and Matt Peart at right tackle. Most would say this isn’t an adequate unit, especially one worth investing optimism in, but as Dave Gettleman said in a recent press conference, “eventually you have to play the kids.”

Ultimately, signing Kenny Golladay, John Ross, and even investing more draft capital on an offensive playmaker won’t matter if the offensive line can’t protect quarterback Daniel Jones. Referencing the Buffalo Bills, who saw massive improvements in pass and run blocking last year, Josh Allen enjoyed a significant increase in passing efficiency. The Giants desperately need Jones to show a similar developmental leap, but they must protect him at all costs if they want to do so.

You can make one interesting argument, the return of Saquon Barkley and addition of Kenny Golladay should draw attention from defenders and coordinators, which will mitigate their ability to send extra blitzers to overwhelm the OL. While that schematic difference could play a meaningful part, the Giants can’t roll with Shane Lemieux as a starter in to begin the 2021 season and feel comfortable.

With their problems on the line, targeting a player like Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater or even USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker would make optimal sense.

“I would not count out the Giants drafting an offensive lineman (at No. 11),” Mel Kiper said in a recent interview, per Big Blue View. “You’ve gotta fix that spot or Daniel Jones is going to have no chance, even though you’ve got some receivers now with (Kenny) Golladay coming in, you could add Jaylen Waddle, you could add a lineman, could add a linebacker like Micah Parsons. They have some needs they have to address in this draft, it’s doing to be interesting to see how they attack it.

“I really want to see what they do to get this offensive line fixed and get this offensive line to play at a high level because to me that holds the whole key to what kind of year the Giants have.”

Luckily, if the Giants elect to go BPA in the first round, there is an unusual girth of 2nd round guards available that can offer instant starters with upside. They simply aren’t considered elite talent but rather slightly developmental with experience and upside.

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.

Giants to host former Patriots corner Jason McCourty on a free-agent visit

new york giants, jason mccourty

While the New York Giants signed cornerback Adoree Jackson to a three-year, $39 million deal, it seems as if they’re looking to further bolster the position. With issues at CB2 in 2020, the Giants are trying to ensure their unit remain strong even if injuries arise.

Recently, the team waived Ryan Lewis, who spent 2020 with the Giants before going down with an injury. Now, they expect Sam Beal to make a return and compete with Isaac Yiadom for an active roster spot. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the Giants are hosting former Patriots corner Jason McCourty for a visit.

McCourty is a seasoned veteran who has spent 12 years at the NFL level and will be 34 this year. He played at all 16 games last season with the New England Patriots, starting in 11, earning 42 tackles and three passes defended.

While the veteran defensive back was a bit spotty in coverage last year, he can serve a depth role with the Giants and considering he has a home in New Jersey, the partnership would make sense.

Current Giant Logan Ryan played with McCourty back during his time with Tennessee, and head coach Joe Judge knows McCourty from when he coached the special-teams unit and helped as an assistant on Bill Belichick’s coaching staff.

A low-cost signing would make a lot of sense for the Giants, allowing them to pass on Patrick Surtain in the 2021 NFL draft and maybe take a flyer in the mid-rounds to develop. McCourty is coming off a two-year, $10 million deal with New England but will likely make far less than the $5 million average he made during the duration of that deal. A one-year, $2 million contract seems reasonable for both parties.