New York Giants: Micah Parsons is Peter King’s projected pick for Big Blue

new york giants, micah parsons

Headed into the final stretch before the draft, one of the top defensive prospects linked to the New York Giants is Micah Parsons. The Giants don’t take linebackers in the first round very often, but they have a tendency to make good picks when they do take a leap of faith on one. A lot of people think Parsons deserves to be the player that breaks their streak of not spending their first pick on this position. And some analysts think this is an actual possibility.

One of the ones mocking Parsons to the Giants is Peter King, who released his final mock draft and made the bold prediction that the Giants will take Parsons over DeVonta Smith, Rashawn Slater, or any other player on offense.

Last Giants’ first-round linebacker: Carl Banks, 1983. Okay, so once every 38 years a linebacker comes out who’s worth it. The Giants always do a good job disguising their intentions, and this year they’ve been particularly good. Three things I’ve heard: Joe Judge loves DeVonta Smith; the organization likes cornerback Jaycee Horn a lot; and Dave Gettleman loves Parsons. If you can get past some of the immature pockmarks on his résumé, there is so much to love. Easily the best linebacker in the draft, with the ability to be a top edge player and double as a sideline-to-sideline presence. Now, he’s only a one-year starter, didn’t play football last year, and the Giants will have to be comfortable with the fact he’s had maturity issues. Smith or Horn could easily be the pick here—Parsons is my best guess—but 4.36-in-the-40 linebackers are quite rare.

The pros and cons of taking Parsons

There’s both good sides and bad sides to this potential pick. The good side is that Parsons is one of the best physical prospects available and, while he’s not the most experienced college player, was definitely a standout at that level for the time that he did play.

The Giants would be able to find a spot for him to make an impact immediately. And in terms of defensive prospects, Parsons is probably the best player available when the Giants pick – if he is still on the board by then.

The main problem that will be brought up is character concerns. Parsons has been involved in controversy, including an unclear situation at Penn State where one transfer accused several former teammates of hazing. That list of players included Parsons, but it also included Panthers defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and the Carolina organization hasn’t apparently had a problem with him.

Worries about character concerns come out a lot for players entering the draft, and many great players in the past have been targeted by doubts about their character before being drafted. Many times, unless there’s something a bit more substantial, it’s best to not worry too much about it. This might just be one of those times.

Parsons, after all, passes the eye test in this area. He’s not a Johnny Manziel or a John Rosen – a player whose behavior in public or with the press foreshadows clashes with teammates. He’s not even an Eli Apple, whose mom’s social media antics could have been foreseen from a mile away.

So if the Giants do take Parsons? Don’t worry too much about the ‘character concerns’ reports. They’re pretty vague so far and seem to paint a similar picture to the usual rumors that come out every year at about this time – rumors that aren’t always accurate, or supported by those who have more experience with the player up close.

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.

New York Giants: Red flags may affect top linebacker prospect’s odds

new york giants, micah parsons

If the New York Giants go for a defensive player with the number eleven overall pick, Micah Parsons is in the mix to be the one. Parsons, of course, has risen on draft boards off the back of his impressive 2019 season where he was a consensus All-American as well as a First Team All-Big Ten linebacker. But despite those impressive accomplishments, and his promising skillset, off the field concerns may hurt his chances of being taken by the Giants.

Parsons has been involved in incidents dating back to his high school days and was also one of the players named in the hazing controversy around Penn State’s football team, of which the truth is still unclear.

Last year, former PSU defensive back Isaiah Humphries came out accusing his former teammates of hazing him and the situation is apparently behind his transfer to California. In addition to current NFL defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, Parsons was also among the players named.

Gross-Matos has found success in the league despite being named in the controversy. But will Parsons be able to do the same?

New York Post says Giants are cautious

According to the New York Post, the Giants have some concerns based on Parsons’ off the field history.

“The Giants are hoping another team takes him, so they don’t have to decide,” a talent evaluator told the outlet.

Another source, a scout, would go into more detail and compared Parsons to a past Giants player with a notorious reputation – Odell Beckham Jr. But overall, the scout had a positive outlook on the player.

“There’s some [concern] because he comes off like Odell Beckham with high-maintenance stuff – like a quarterback playing linebacker. But I’m not worried about Parsons like I was worried about [DeAndre] Baker… He’s going to be a rock star, like an LT. He’s going to play early, he’s going to have success, he’s going to be sitting court-side. Nothing is going to stand in the way of football for Micah.”

The scout said that the red flags shouldn’t stop a team from drafting Parsons.

A bad history for the Giants

The Giants have had a bad track record during the second half of the 2010s when it comes to picking players that will keep their head down and not cause problems. The team released previous first round pick DeAndre Baker due to his off the field legal problems, though that looks like a mistake in hindsight due to Baker being cleared of wrongdoing. They also picked up Aldrick Rosas as a free agent and watched him turn into the starting kicker, only to end up letting him go after his own legal troubles.

Considering personality problems also played into high draft picks Eli Apple and Ereck Flowers not panning out, it’s understandable that the Giants might be nervous when it comes to the character of their pick this year.

With that being said, the Giants shouldn’t rule out Parsons completely. There are, after all, other reports coming out of Penn State that the character issues are overblown. And having already addressed some spots on the offense, the Giants might find Parsons is the best available talent on the defensive side by the time they make their first pick.

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.

The top prospects that the New York Giants cannot pass on at eleven overall

The New York Giants have set themselves up to have an abundance of options with the eleventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. New York used to have a couple of glaring needs to address with their first-round pick. Before free agency, nearly everyone assumed that the Giants would add an offensive playmaker or possibly an outside cornerback in the first round. After the Giants signed Kenny Golladay and Adoree Jackson, that assumption changed.

Now the Giants can simply select the best player available at eleven overall. Or they could address a different position of need. They are no longer pigeon-holed into selecting a wide receiver. Yet, they still could, if they wanted to, in theory.

There might be some wide receiver prospects that the Giants cannot pass on at eleven overall. But there are prospects at other positions that are also “must-draft” prospects if on the board for the Giants. These “must-draft” prospects are few and far between and also unlikely to fall to eleven. But if one of them does, the Giants know what they need to do.

Must-draft prospects at eleven overall

There are a couple of quarterbacks that no team can pass on. But the Giants are not in a position to draft them, so let’s move on to the realistic “must-draft” options at eleven.

The premiere protector

Penei Sewell is very unlikely to drop to eleven. The Oregon left tackle prospect has been given the “generational prospect” tag by some scouts and seems like a top-five lock. However, he has dropped to eleven in some rare mock drafts. And it is not completely outside of the realm of possibilities that he falls outside the top ten. A team could value Rashawn Slater above Sewell, causing Sewell to drop a few extra spots. Plus, there are a bunch of offensive weapons that will likely go in the top ten. And there are about four quarterbacks expected to be drafted in the top ten. So it is possible that Sewell can be the forgotten man that gets pushed down the board. If Penei Sewell falls in the Giants’ laps at eleven, they sprint to the podium with his name on their draft card.

The offensive weapons

Speaking of those offensive weapons, there are a couple of playmakers that the Giants should not pass up on to draft a position of need. Wide receiver is no longer a pressing need, but if the Giants have the ability to draft the likes of Kyle Pitts, Jaylen Waddle, or Ja’Marr Chase, they have to pull the trigger.

Kyler Pitts has the potential to be a Hall of Fame tight end. Jaylen Waddle is the top wide receiver prospect on The Draft Network’s board, due to his game-breaking speed and ability to separate on routes. Ja’Marr Chase just blew everyone away with his sub 4.38s 40-yard dash time to match his NFL-ready skillset as an outside receiver. For these reasons, these three players are unlikely to be available at eleven. But if they are there, they would be incredible additions that would transform the Giants’ offense.

The dynamic defender

The Giants have a clear need at edge rusher on their roster. However, there are no top-ten locks at the position in this year’s draft class. There is a defender in this class, though, that is an obvious top-ten talent. But he is not a top-ten lock. Micah Parsons is an incredible linebacker prospect that has fallen down draft boards due to some off-the-field rumors and allegations.

Micah Parsons has elite pass-rushing and run-stuffing ability as an off-ball linebacker. He might not be a stud in pass coverage, but given his athletic ability, he has room to grow in that regard with limitless potential. Parsons could be a prospect that turns the Giants’ defense into a top-five unit in the league. He might be a player that gets skipped over due to the off-the-field concerns, but if those boxes are checked off then his talent is too good to pass up at eleven overall.

What the New York Giants’ 2021 defense could look like post NFL Draft

new york giants

The New York Giants are well on their way toward one of the best defenses in football next season, especially after the acquisition of CB2 Adoree Jackson.

In 2020, the Giants had one of the best units in the NFL, ranking ninth in points allowed per game despite a massive hole at the second corner position and a severe lack of a pass rush. Injuries to Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines kept them out for nearly the entire campaign, so coordinator Patrick Graham had to compensate for their loss.

With Carter and Ximines expected to return in 2021, the Giants will have a semblance of a pass rush and potentially elite cornerback paired with James Bradberry. If they can remain healthy, the Giants will be in great shape moving forward, and that’s not even considering who they land in the 2021 NFL draft (mock).

New York Giants’ top players on defense post-NFL-Draft:

DL: Leonard Williams

DL: Dexter Lawrance

DT: Danny Shelton

OLB: Lorenzo Carter

OLB: Oshane Ximines

MLB: Blake Martinez

MLB: Micah Parsons (11th overall pick)

CB: Adoree Jackson

CB: James Bradberry

CB: Darnay Holmes

CB: Julian Love

S: Logan Ryan

S: Xavier McKinney

S: Jabrill Peppers

In this theoretical scenario, the Giants select Micah Parsons out of Penn State with the 11th overall pick. During his Pro Day, Parsons ran an insane 4.39 40-yard yard dash at over 240 pounds. He is an athletic unicorn at his size and possesses the skills to be an elite run-stopping linebacker and potential pass rusher at the next level. Despite opting out in 2020, teams have seen enough from him to justify him being a top 10 pick, who could easily slip to the Giants at 11 with so much great talent in this year’s draft. During his last season of production, he posted 109 tackles, 14 for a loss, 5.0 sacks, five passes defended, and for forever fumbles.

At the end of the day, Parsons is a player most teams would build a foundation around, and the Giants already have a stellar unit that would only take a step forward with his presence. With upside as a pass-coverage linebacker, Parsons has the versatility and position-less nature to fit perfectly in Graham’s scheme.

With elite corners, a trio of safeties that brings a dynamic style of play to the football field, and the return of a few adequate pass rushers, the Giants could be looking at the best defense in football, and that is something management will be considering heavily when the 11th pick occurs in just under a month.

New York Giants: Reviewing an incredibly difficult decision with the 11th overall pick

Rashawn Slater, New York Giants

With teams maneuvering around the New York Giants in the 2021 NFL draft, they have a fantastic opportunity to sit pretty at 11 and pick the best player available. Co-owner John Mara recently stated that the Giants don’t necessarily have to take a receiver or a cornerback after signing Kenny Golladay and Adoree Jackson, which opens the door for many different prospects to be considered.

The Giants could look to a player like Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern to bolster their offensive line, or they could provide Daniel Jones with another elite weapon like Jaylen Waddle or Kyle Pitts, given they’re on the board. Even the defense could be a focal point, with players like Micah Parsons or even a pass rusher.

At the end of the day, the Giants have an opportunity to secure a premium prospect that will make an impact on day one, and with the expectation that four quarterbacks will be off the board in the top 10 picks, there will be a stud available at 11. Let’s take a look at two players the Giants could consider, upgrading either side of the ball significantly.

Micah Parsons Vs. Rashawn Slater:

During Parsons’ Pro Day at Penn State, he answered a lot of questions about his athleticism. Running a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, Parsons proved he has elite straight away speed, with the ability to play as a sideline to sideline linebacker.

“I feel like I really helped myself,” Parsons said. “I think a lot of people had me like 4.5, 4.6 maybe. But I think I’m the fastest linebacker in this draft, and I really showed people how good I can move. I think a lot of people slept on that. They knew I was fast, but I don’t think they knew I was that fast.”

While Micah opted out of the 2020 season, his 2019 tape tells the entire story. Securing 5.0 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, and four forced fumbles, Parsons is capable of stopping the run at an elite level but also rushing the passer with above-average moves for an MLB. Pairing him with Blake Martinez, the Giants’ current starting MLB, would be devastating for opposing offenses.

Parsons is ultimately a player you build around, a foundational piece that lays the groundwork for the future. Adding him to a defense that recently acquired Adoree Jackson and is already considered a top 10 unit would be incredible. If the Giants really believe that defense wins championships, this should be an easy decision for them, as they can always find an offensive guard in the second round and a receiver in the third, given how deep this current draft class is.

Alternatively, Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern could be an efficient move, considering the Giants cut starting RG Kevin Zeitler, saving $12 million in cap space. This move left a gaping hole in the OL, and Slater is capable of playing on the interior and also kicked outside at tackle.

His versatility makes him an elite prospect and one that has been shooting up the draft boards as of late. Premium offensive linemen are often selected in the top 15, but with so many talented players in this draft and the lack of information, Slater could fall to the Giants at 11, giving them an opportunity to secure a position of need but also add a player with All-Pro potential.

Slater does have smaller arms, indicating he could be a better fit at guard, but the Giants can do what they please with him. This brings up the best player available complex, as the Giants could argue that Slater would fill a big need, and Parsons is much more of a luxury pick.

Personally, I believe Parsons has generational upside and the potential to make the Giants’ defense one of the best in the NFL, if not THE best. Slater hasn’t played in over a year, and most of his hype is based around his tangible traits and some solid film. He might take a bit of time to refine, and with the lack of information out there, the connection the Giants have with Parsons, and their own coaching staff with Spence Chaos makes more sense in my eyes. Of course, Micah’s off-the-field issues are something to consider, and I would rely on the Giants’ coaches to determine the severity and implications of those actions.

New York Giants 2 round mock draft: Best player available always a safe move

new york giants, micah parsons

The New York Giants have done a phenomenal job this free agency period, solving several holes on the roster. Finding a true and tried wide receiver one in Kenny Golladay and a premium corner in Adoree’ Jackson will ultimately fuel improvements across the board, especially on solid contracts that will prove to be minimal once the salary cap expands exponentially in 2022.

Free agency is best utilized when trying to solve specific holes, and since the cap decreased significantly this season, teams were forced to release quality players that otherwise wouldn’t hit the market in a normal off-season.

Looking ahead to the NFL draft in a month, the New York Giants are in a great position to find a fantastic player in the first round and add high upside talent in a second. Let’s take a look at an interesting mock draft that could end up taking their defense to the next level and providing a bit of support on offense.

Two round New York Giants mock draft:

Round 1 (11): LB Micah Parsons

While there are a few red flags surrounding Micah Parsons, including an investigation that is ongoing with Parsons being mentioned by name in a harassment lawsuit, his draft stock doesn’t seem to be dropping because of it.

Parsons is an elite defense of talent, bringing elite speed and strength to the linebacker position. During his Pro Day, he ran a 4.35, indicating impressive agility and speed. The Giants like to have connections with players, especially with COVID-19 limiting their interactions. His connection with defensive line coach Spence Chaos could be an indication that the Giants will consider him if he falls to 11. Parsons has stated his relationship with Chaos as positive, indicating that he helped him through the transition process to the NFL. With that being the case, the Giants could be looking at him with keen eyes, especially with head coach Joe Judge attending Penn State’s Pro Day.

Parsons did opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, but his addition to the defense would be extravagant. Adding a player who can rush the passer as an outside linebacker but also play middle linebacker at a high-level is exciting. If he is there at 11, you could argue he’s the best player available and one the Giants shouldn’t think twice about. However, the team will do their due diligence and look into his background, which could raise some concerns. If all checks out clean, I can’t imagine him being low on the Giants’ draft board.

Round 2 (42): OG Wyatt Davis

The Giants did very little to add offensive line talent this off-season, but drafting Ohio state guard Wyatt Davis in the second round might cover up some concerns. Davis is a plug-and-play right guard on day one, and he would immediately provide some competition alongside Shana Lemeiux and newly signed C/OG Zack Fulton. As a bully in the trenches, Davis is a sound pass blocker and solid run blocker in power schemes. Leading the charge in front of Saquon Barkley would be fantastic, and while he might need a few months to adapt to the Giants’ game, he could be a long-term solution at RG post-Kevin Zeitler.

New York Giants keeping an eye on Penn State’s standout draft prospects

Micah Parsons, new york giants

The 2021 NFL Draft is just around the corner. The draft will take place in about a month and teams are doing their due diligence on prospects. The New York Giants were one of the teams represented today, doing their due diligence, at Penn State’s Pro Day. Pro Days are ever more important this year with no official NFL Scouting Combine.

There are two key Penn State prospects that the Giants could target early in the 2021 NFL Draft. Linebacker Micah Parsons and edge rusher Jayson Oweh are both athletic freaks on the defensive side of the ball that could fill positions of need for the Giants next month.

Micah Parsons and Jayson Oweh dominate Pro Day

What is in the water at Penn State? It seems like every year one of college’s top football programs, Penn State, turns out freakish, superhuman athletes. This year, those two athletes are Micah Parsons and Jayson Oweh, two defenders that dominated at their Pro Day today.

Micah Parsons is one of the top prospects in the 2021 draft class. He was once considered to be a top-ten lock, but some off-the-field allegations have pushed him down draft boards. But Parsons’s insane measurables at his Pro Day might have shot him back up those same draft boards.

Parsons came in at 6 feet, 3 inches, 246 pounds. He has ideal size to play linebacker at the next level. But his game-changing 4.39s 40-yard-dash speed caught everyone’s attention today. Parsons also had a 39.5″ vertical leap and a 134″ broad jump. Micah Parsons is a specimin.

But so is his teammate, Jayson Oweh. The Penn State edge rusher ran an even faster 40-yard-dash than Parsons. The 6 foot, 5 inch, 257 pound pass-rusher looked like a mini cooper during his 40-yard-dash, clocking in at 4.36s. Oweh put up vertical leap and broad jump numbers identical to Micah Parsons’s.

Of course, everyone is advised to take these Pro Day 40 times with a grain of salt. But one thing to take note of is the Giants’ front-row viewing of these Pro Day performances.

Joe Judge at the Penn State Pro Day

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge was in attendance, “front and center,” at Penn State’s Pro Day today. The Giants are reportedly interested in a few Penn State prospects, such as Oweh, Parsons, and tight end Pat Freiermuth. But Judge’s interest in Micah Parsons has been discussed heavily after he got an “up-close” look at Parsons’s workout today.

The New York Giants have not drafted a linebacker in round one of the draft since 1984 (Carl Banks). Will 2021 be the year the Giants finally take a linebacker in the first round? With Micah Parsons drawing significant interest from the Giants’ brass, it very well could be.

The Giants also have a clear-cut need on the edge of their defense. Jayson Oweh is an intriguing prospect for New York to consider. He had 0 sacks in 2020 and was not productive on the stat sheet. But Oweh is a freak athlete that could make for an exciting, high-ceiling prospect that Patrick Graham could groom into an elite edge rusher.

The beauty of the Giants’ 2021 offseason is that they have left every option open going into the 2021 NFL Draft. New York addressed its biggest needs: cornerback and wide receiver. Now, they can get creative in the NFL Draft. The Giants could still add an offensive playmaker. But they could also take a chance on one of Penn State’s potentially game-changing defenders in round one. The Giants’ options are limitless.

Why the New York Giants might draft defense at eleven overall

Micah Parsons, new york giants

The New York Giants are entering another crucial roster-building offseason. The biggest point of emphasis for the GIants’ front office this offseason is to revamp the offense. New York’s offense was pitiful in 2020 and they need to fix that to find success in 2021.

This has led many fans and analysts to speculate that the Giants will spend their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on an offensive weapon. The Giants hold the eleventh overall pick in this year’s draft. This puts the team in perfect position to draft a top-tier wide receiver or tight end. But there are reasons to believe that the Giants could go defense with their number eleven pick in April.

Contingent on free agency

The Giants have a plethora of weaknesses on their roster. Ideally, fans would like to see the Giants add another talented cornerback to the mix and improve the pass-rush. Additionally, the Giants need to find their new offensive weapon. The Giants had interest in trading for Kenny Golladay back in October, so it is likely that they will pursue a wide receiver in free agency.

If the Giants do land one of those big-name free agent wide receivers, they could look to fill another one of those needs in the draft. The top of this year’s draft class features some prominent defensive prospects.

Deep wide receiver class

The Giants might not need to spend their first-round pick to get an offensive weapon. The 2021 NFL Draft class is loaded with wide receiver talent. There are prospects that will be available in the second and third rounds that have the potential to be quality starters in the NFL.

New York needs a new primary wide receiver for Daniel Jones to rely on in the passing game. If the Giants are unable to acquire one in free agency, it is likely that they will draft one in the first round, but it is not necessarily a guarantee. There are some very talented defensive prospects that the Giants could consider at eleven, before drafting a talented receiving option in the second round.

Micah Parsons, Caleb Farley, Gregory Rousseau, and other defenders might be enticing options for the Giants in the first round. Parsons is a rare linebacker prospect that could revolutionize the Giants’ defense. Farley is an intriguing cornerback option that could fill a huge hole in New York’s secondary. And Rousseau is a talented pass-rusher that could fill another need for the Giants on defense.

Taking one of these players in the first round would open up the possibility for the Giants to take a second-round wide receiver prospect. The electric Rondale Moore could be available in round two, as well as the human-joystick Kadarius Toney. This is a year where a team could realistically find a number one receiver in the second round. This could allow the New York Giants to draft a defensive prospect in round one.