Not surprisingly, in the wake of the Giants signing first WR Kenny Golladay, and then CB Adoree Jackson, two of the top free agents on the market, earlier this week, we’ve had a bunch of emails asking who we think the Giants will now be taking with the 11th pick overall at the 2021 draft, now just 37 days away. And the simple answer, at least at this time, is who knows. Certainly the Giants added a couple of dynamic play makers at positions of need, but in many ways there are now almost more options for them with their early picks.
One of the themes of the questions we’ve received is do these signings put the Giants in a position where they can now simply take the best player available. Possibly. Even certainly, if a blue-chipper were to somehow slide to #11, although in that scenario we always like to ask ourselves ‘if a guy you thought was a top 5 pick is still available at #11, was he in fact a top 5 guy?’ Thinkabout it!
More than likely what the Giants do at #11 (and beyond) is come down to what in fact do they want to do. Here are the options:
Do the Giants want to add another impact receiver? Certainly, signing Golladay was a huge get and a receiver corps with him, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and John Ross at WR, Even Engram and Kyle Rudolph at TE and Saquon coming out of the backfield would be pretty good. However, when John Mara and Dave Gettleman talked in their post-season presser about goals for this season they talked about wanting to give QB Daniel Jones some weapons – plural – to the offense. And adding a big-play receiver like either of Alabama’s Devonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle has the potential to turn a pretty good group into something that could be downright scary. However, if both are taken before the 11th pick, there still will be some very good options at the position in the second, and maybe even the 3rd and 4th rounds. WR note: there is a bit of a buzz around the league that Waddle may very well be taken before Smith such that if either is available at #11 it could very well be Smith rather than Waddle who has been the favorite to be the Giants’ pick in most mocks out there.
Do the Giants want to add another cover corner? With the signing of Adoree Jackson, the Giants on the other side of the field opposite Pro Bowler James Bradberry, now have arguably one of the best 1-2 combinations at corner in the league. However, most teams like to have as many as 4-5 decent corners a) for depth and b) because other teams run so many 3- and 4-receiver sets, and right now there is a big drop-off to the Giants second-tier corners. The Giants may also be thinking that it may be unsustainable to keep the big contracts of both Bradberry and Jackson past the next couple of seasons and it would be nice to have another cost-controlled option at the position for the next 4-5 years. And like the situation at WR, if the Giants don’t take a corner at #11, there should be several fairly good options in the second round. CB Note: Alabama’s Patrick Surtain had a really good pro day performance to likely wrap up a top ten grade, whereas Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley’s stock likely may take a bit of a hit after it was announced he’ll need back surgery, although its not considered to be a particularly invasive procedure. It should also be noted that this appears to be related to an old injury that teams will have known about for some time. At the same time, a number of other corners have moved into that ‘riser’ category including Eric Stokes of Georgia and Northwestern’s Greg Newsome.
Do the Giants want to address the offensive line? We mentioned in a post the other day that the Giants appear to be reasonably comfortable with their OT options at least for 2021. After having invested the better part of their 2020 on the OL, they want to see what they’ve got. Andrew Thomas is a lock at LT for next fall, while Matt Peart will be given every opportunity to win the job at RT with veteran Nate Solder in reserve. Same at C where Nick Gates looks to be established again, at least for the upcoming year. On the other hand, the OG situation is a lot dicier, such that it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise if the Giants took a plug and play OL like Rashawn Slater of Alijah Vera-Tucker with the 11th pick and plugged him at one OG spot having addressed WR and CB in free agency. The good news along the OL, though, is that is a direction the Giants are considering there will also be some quality options in the second round where guys like Wyatt Davis of Ohio State or Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood have the experience in big-time programs to come and play early.
Do the Giants want to address the pass rush? The Giants did make a minor move with the signing of former Vikings’ DE Ifeadi Odenigbo who could help. However, every time we do a mock draft and get to #11 we spend a long time thinking about Miami DE Greg Rousseau. He’s a hard guy to grade because he only played one year of big-time college football and was moved all over by the Hurricanes such that there isn’t a ton of tape out there of him lining up as a true DE, but 15.5 sacks are still 15.5 sacks in any football language. Indeed, he’s a super athletic kid who came to Miami as a receiver and reminds people of a young Jason Pierre-Paul and if the Giants wanted add a potentially transformative type edge to the defense, ERs with that kind of size and speed just don’t come along all that often. The other factor to consider with the DEs is that unlike the situations at WR, CB, and the OL in which there will be quality options in the second round, you can likely get DEs that can come in and compete for playing time in the second, but you’ll get one that really upgrades your defense at #42 if you’re really lucky.
Bottom line is that in all likelihood, and again everything else being equal, the players that the Giants select with their early picks this year will be players at the positions the Giants want to address. And in all likelihood we really won’t know until April 29th and May 1st. Its not rocket science, and arguments about this guy or that position are just so much howling at the moon!