(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
The 2021 NFL Draft is fast approaching and the rumors, discussions, and debates surrounding this crop of young prospects is hitting a fever pitch. I joined in the fray by recently dropping my first full league two round simulation in which I made all 64 selections for the entire league. To continue, I wanted to take the momentum from it to generate a full, seven round mock for my favorite team.
The New York Giants are an interesting case heading into 2021 because their roster seemed very one-sided in the talent department. Defensively, the team played way beyond expectations and the offense was absolutely horrendous, almost hampering Daniel Jones’ development. But in free agency, the Giants swung for the fences, acquiring a bonafide X-receiver in Kenny Golladay, a solid CB2 in Adoree Jackson, a balanced veteran tight end in Kyle Rudolph and a host of other low cost free agents that present high ceilings.
With those moves factored in, I took my shot at filling general manager Dave Gettleman’s shoes, attempting to acquire players that not only fit their scheme, but meet a special combination of talent and need. Each pick was made considering my personal big board as well, so the selections are based purely on a continuation of my full league mock.
So, enough delay. Here are the New York Giants’s 2021 NFL Draft picks via my mock draft:
Round 1, pick 11: Jaylen Waddle | Wide receiver | Alabama
When I simulated through the first round, the Giants had a tough decision to make once they were on the clock. Four quarterbacks went in the first four picks, essentially pushing down plenty of elite talent within reach. However, with Kyle Pitts, Micah Parsons, Ja’Marr Chase, Rashawn Slater and Penei Sewell all off the board, it left me with a clear choice between three exceptional prospects.
DeVonta Smith, the 2020 Heisman Winner and an accomplished wide receiver in his own right, was an enticing option here along with South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn to provide greater depth in the secondary. But, instead, I chose Waddle because of his playmaking ability. Here’s what I had to say:
“The Giants’ spending spree to add quality starters all over helps them focus on simply grabbing the best guy available here. Considering Joe Judge’s Alabama connection and the Paul Schwartz report that the Giants are infatuated with Waddle, he’s the pick here. He possesses exceptionally rare speed and change of direction ability and could be a massive upgrade as a return man, unless Big Blue is hesitant to put him in harm’s way given his previous injury. His speed is so rare, that he can maintain it throughout the entirety of his routes, which is a coveted trait. His presence would also work well to bring variance to the Giants offense to include jet sweeps, screens, or swing passes that get him the ball early and in space. Even with the addition of Kenny Golladay, this lets the Giants add to their weapons and provide depth at a position that features multiple players with injury history.”
Adding Waddle gives the Giants a scoring threat from anywhere on the field, and his jump to the NFL could be smooth with that combination of speed, agility, and consistency at the catch point. More importantly, however, is how his speed can single handedly change the offense to produce more plays in space and attack defenses horizontally more often than the Giants did last year. It’s a copycat league, and Waddle can give the Giants a similar dynamic that the Chiefs get out of both Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman.
Round 2, pick 42: Jayson Oweh | EDGE | Penn State
Simulating into the second round, the Giants could have used an offensive tackle here, but after the best players left in Liam Eichenberg and Jalen Mayfield are gone, getting a chance to grab the talented Jayson Oweh is a no-brainer. Not only is he an insane physical talent, scoring a wondrous 9.92 relative athletic score (RAS), but he boasts chemistry with the Giants as a former player under Coach Sean Spencer, the Giants current defensive line coach. Spencer was the Penn State defensive line coach for the few years prior to his NFL jump, recruiting Oweh to the Nittany Lions. Reuniting with the coach that led him to a fantastic 2019 season would only help invigorate his growth as a pro. Not to mention, Oweh’s motor and fluidity are so apparent that he’s a perfect fit for Patrick Graham’s very versatile scheme that will ask him to do a lot.
Round 3, pick 76: Trill Williams | Cornerback | Syracuse
This is a bit of a luxury pick considering the cornerback position already has its top three starters in James Bradberry, Adoree Jackson, and Darnay Holmes. But much like the receiver spot, the depth behind them is thin, and the Giants could use a CB4 that can rotate in and contribute in dime packages should they choose to run them. Williams is an impressive athlete with the competitive toughness to handle man coverage and awareness to play well in zone. He’s also a fantastic run defender for the position. In addition, he’s lined up all over the formation including on the perimeter, in the slot, and, at times, rotating into the safety position. That versatility will be coveted by Patrick Graham. However, Williams also possesses a remarkable knack for being a playmaker. In his career, he has four interceptions and three return touchdowns, including a pick-six, a fumble return, and a blocked punt. All in all, Williams seems like a Joe Judge pick: a player that hustles, does everything asked of him, competes heavily, is athletic, but also has a knack for making plays and being around the ball. He has tremendous upside and is one of my favorite sleeper draft picks in this year’s class.
Round 4, pick 116: David Moore | Offensive guard | Grambling State
It’s of the utmost importance that the Giants bolster their offensive line position and, since they didn’t do much of that in free agency, they’ll have to grab someone in the draft. On their offensive line, the Giants have a question mark on the interior. Will Hernandez and Shane Lemiuex will be competing for the starting spots with newly added veteran Zach Fulton. At tackle, the Giants have starting left tackle Andrew Thomas, with Matt Peart and Nate Solder competing for the right side. Given the lack of a clear cut starter at either guard spot, they take a young promising player here.
Moore is a gargantuan human being that’s impressively well-built for his stout body. He stands a shade under 6-2 but is 330 pounds and posted 31 reps on the bench. While his short area quickness isn’t ideal, his anchor, leg drive, and hand strength is highly evident, along with his competitive edge. He’s a people mover and has a low center of gravity that helps him halt rushes quickly. Moore could come in and immediately compete for a starting job and, at minimum, provide valuable depth. Also, #DraftHBCUplayers because Moore is another in a long line of Grambling players ready to make the NFL leap.
Round 6, pick 196: Josh Ball | Offensive tackle | Marshall
Providing a variety of depth on the offensive line is going to be a priority, and with only three legitimate offensive tackles on the roster at the moment, the Giants need to grab another lineman here as well. Josh Ball is a massive human being standing at 6-7 and 308 pounds. While that is relatively light for someone of his height, Ball is a promising developmental prospect that flashes impressive athleticism for the position. With some added weight, a focus on keeping his base and pad level consistent, and a refinement of his hand placement and punch, Ball has the potential to become a long-term starter or a solid spot starter that can contribute as a swing tackle.
Round 6, pick 201: Garret Wallow | Linebacker | TCU
Outside of Blake Martinez, there is no clear contributor as an interior linebacker next to him. Tae Crowder, a seventh-round pick last season, flashed when given opportunities, but Devante Downs and Reggie Ragland behind him do not offer consistent enough upside as reassurance if Martinez were to suffer an injury. Again, as with the offensive line, depth is a need.
Garret Wallow is an interesting study because he is a converted safety who played WILL linebacker for the TCU Horned Frogs well-known 4-2-5 defense. That experience allowed him plenty of opportunities to handle a nice mixture of run and pass responsibilities, which he showed he can handle. He’s a fluid mover in space with solid athleticism and a nice closing burst to the ball. In addition, he’s a sure tackler and a quality blitzer considering his frame. While he’s only 220 pounds, Wallow plays like a developing and growing linebacker, and hits like one too. I think his speed/coverage ability is so coveted in today’s NFL that he could grow behind Martinez and substitute inside or in the slot within the safety rotation, giving him more value. That versatility is promising for Patrick Graham’s approach to multiple looks and masking blitz packages.
Wallow is a high upside gamble who is growing his instincts for the position, but he flashes enough to warrant this pick. Plus, he has an impressive motor that will help him stick on special teams, something Judge will appreciate.