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
- 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.
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.