It’s officially draft season, folks. The NFL Draft is two weeks away, and rumors for every team are buzzing around like a hive of bees. While the New York Giants aren’t in the “blockbuster moves” kind of rumor mill, their name has been next to several different players in mock drafts.
There have already been trades shaking up the top 10. The 49ers traded picks with the Dolphins to move all the way up to the third pick, and will likely draft their franchise quarterback. The Dolphins then traded back into the top 10 in a deal with the Eagles for the six spot. The top four picks can potentially all be quarterbacks this year.
This leaves New York in a surprisingly solid spot. If the top four picks are all signal callers, the Giants essentially have the 7th overall pick in terms of non-QB prospects on the board.
The Giants are looking to have a solid draft following a quietly good free agency period. There are still holes to be filled, and if done properly they all can be addressed in this deeply talented draft class.
Pretty much all of the names connected to New York in mock drafts are all solid choices. Let’s take a look at three prospects the Giants could take at 11.
Rashawn Slater, Offensive Tackle
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Rashawn Slater would be a phenomenal add to the Giants’ offensive line. The 6’4, 304 pound tackle out of Northwestern is exactly the type of “hog mollie” Dave Gettleman craves on his team.
Slater opted out of the 2020 season, but put up two solid seasons for the Wildcats in 2018 and 2019. He spent time playing both tackle positions, and even faced off against top talents like Chase Young, whom he played excellent against.
Rashawn Slater v. Chase Young pic.twitter.com/90NhjjPsLI
— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) March 31, 2021
Slater is athletic, smooth in the trenches and just loves to block. His smaller wingspan makes scouts think he would serve better as a guard, but to me this just shows he is a versatile guy New York can utilize across the entire line.
The current Giants offensive line has some promising talent, but is nowhere near complete. Slater would be a great addition to a young group with the likes of Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux.
The New York Giants haven’t had a complete offensive line from left to right since the 2011 Super Bowl. If they really want to establish a complete, solid group, they need to follow the path of the Cowboys and Saints from the last decade. Keep drafting o-lineman even when you think you don’t need any more.
If Gettleman takes Slater at 11 and drafts a few more “hog mollies” in the middle rounds, the Giants will have a solid group of guys to work with and develop in the trenches.
Let’s just hope Slater makes it out of the top 10.
Micah Parsons, Linebacker
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Micah Parsons is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft.
The 6’3, 246-pound linebacker out of Penn State is one of the fastest linebackers in the draft. An all-over-the-field kind of guy who ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at his pro day.
Parsons is a beast.
He is already in NFL-ready physical shape, so he has the potential to provide impact to a defense right out the gate. While Parsons isn’t a prototypical edge rusher, his quickness off the edge in the linebacker spot is something the Giants need.
Outside of Blake Martinez, the Giants linebacker group is a question mark. Parsons would plug in and start right away.
Giving Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham an athletic weapon like Parsons has unlimited benefits. Adding Parsons to an already young and athletic Giants defense gives it the ability to turn into a juggernaut. He will provide impact in more ways than one.
Some consider the 11th pick a reach for Parsons. However, combine the uncertainty of this draft due to all the 2020 opt-outs (including Parsons) and the fact that Gettleman never trades back in the first round… and Parsons is a fine pick at 11.
This would be the first linebacker New York has taken in the first round since Carl Banks in 1984.
And Parsons would be a great one at that.
One of Devonta Smith/Jaylen Waddle/Kyle Pitts
The reality is, if Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, Ja’Marr Chase, or Kyle Pitts falls to 11, the Giants will be VERY lucky and shouldn’t hesitate to take whichever is available.
Having more than 1 of them on the board is even better obviously.
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) March 5, 2021
Let me start with this: These players will most likely not wind up on Big Blue.
In fact, they might not even make it out of the top 10. New York doesn’t need one of these prospects. They brought in Kenny Golladay, John Ross and Kyle Rudolph to add to the likes of Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Evan Engram.
But… let’s dream for a minute.
In all honesty, can you imagine one of these three talents joining the Giants offense? They would immediately be a top five offensive core on paper in the NFL.
Everyone always talks about how Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes have a wagon worth of athletic weapons to throw to. There is only one football, but having that many weapons makes it really hard for a defense to stop you.
So if you are the Giants, why not build your own version of that for Daniel Jones?
Devonta Smith is a long, fast athletic wide-out who just won the Heisman Trophy. He racked up 117 catches for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2020. Imagine that on the Giants. Golladay and Smith line up out wide with Shepard in the slot, Slayton going deep and Rudolph or Engram over the middle. Oh, and Saquon Barkley is in the backfield.
How on Earth does a defense game plan for that?
The same thing applies for Waddle. Waddle tends to get overlooked due to a 2020 injury and the unreal season his teammate Smith put up. In just six games, Waddle caught 28 passes for 591 yards and four touchdowns.
Waddle possesses everything you want in a modern-NFL wide receiver.
And lastly, there’s Kyle Pitts, a Red Zone nightmare. The 6’6, 246-pound Pitts is without a doubt the top red zone talent in the draft. In only eight games, he caught 43 passes for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Florida Gators. He averaged 18 yards a reception, and seemed unstoppable at times during games.
Imagining him running a route over the middle and Daniel Jones finding him in the back of the end zone is a beautiful sight.
How can you possibly worry about covering Golladay, Barkley, Smith/Waddle/Pitts, Shepard and Slayton all at the same time?
Exactly, You can’t.
Again, this is just a pipe dream for those offensive-minded fans out there. I don’t expect any of them to escape the top 10, but if one of them do and Slater is off the board… it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Gettleman snagged one of them at 11.
The Giants should address the offensive line with the 11th overall pick. In fact, they should prioritize the entire draft around the offensive line. With the weapons the Giants now have on offense, a solid o-line to protect Jones is the only thing keeping the Giants away from the playoffs.
Slater is likely the top one to be available, as I don’t see Penei Sewell dropping all the way to 11. After improving the defense and signing Golladay in free agency, o-line is the top priority.
That being said, Parsons is another great option the Giants can go with. And giving Daniel Jones another elite pass-catcher to throw to wouldn’t be the worst thing either.
There are other options I didn’t even mention, as this is a really deep draft class. And as all NFL fans know, anything can happen on Draft Day. However, these are the top options I think Big Blue is considering when their name is on the clock.
This is the first year in a while where there are multiple players the Giants can wind up drafting with their first pick, and I will be happy with pretty much any of them.
The New York Football Giants have the opportunity here to add top talent to what should already be a division-winning roster. Buckle up Giants fans, Draft Day is going to be good one.
Lifelong sports fan fulfilling a childhood dream. I’ll talk sports all day. Passion and hot takes are my thing… there’s always a story. Yankees. NY Giants. Knicks. Texas Longhorns. Yes… being a Knicks fan is rough, but my time will come (hopefully). Senior at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.