Following a rather aggressive free agency spending effort, an updated, seven-round New York Giants mock draft is going to look a lot different than it did mere weeks ago.
General manager Dave Gettleman didn’t shy away from spending despite the tighter NFL salary cap, acquiring a No. 1 receiver in Kenny Golladay and a legitimate starting cornerback opposite James Bradberry in Adoree’ Jackson.
This means New York has added flexibility entering the 2021 NFL Draft and could mean Gettleman winds up taking the best player available as opposed to reaching more so for a need.
Check out our latest, best bets as to what the Giants will do as the draft unfolds, using a mock simulation from The Draft Network as our guide.
New York Giants mock draft: Early rounds prioritize front seven
- First round, 20th pick (via CHI): Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
- Second round, 42nd pick: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
- Second round, 52nd pick (via CHI): Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
- Third round, 76th pick: Quinn Meinerz, iOL, Wisconsin-Whitewater
This couldn’t have unfolded much better for the Giants. Honestly, this happened upon first simulation — not doctored at all to skew in New York’s favor. The Chicago Bears parted with a second-round pick, and were coaxed into offering their 2022 first-rounder, in order to get up to the 11th pick and draft Alabama quarterback Mac Jones.
Chicago’s desperation is New York’s gain, because Azeez Ojulari was the target at No. 11, and he’s still on the board at 20. It’s not the best group of edge defenders coming out in 2021, and Ojulari’s evaluation is somewhat complicated by the fact that he played with two future NFL corners in Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell.
Regardless of all that, Ojulari is the bendiest, quickest and most explosive pass-rusher among those who are worthy of going in Round 1.
Some might argue in favor of Jaelan Phillips, yet his medical red flags ding him a bit. His bulkier frame also isn’t as good of a fit for the Giants’ personnel as it stands, because they have plenty of those bigger type of edge defenders. Ojulari presents an intriguing change-up to their lineup.
Moving on from there, we have a pair of second-round picks who could make big splashes as rookies in Zaven Collins and Jabril Cox. Frankly, Collins shouldn’t still be on the board, but if he is and the Giants get him, it could be one of the best picks in the entire draft because of his all-around skill set. Like Collins, Cox is phenomenal in coverage and gives attacking defensive coordinator Patrick Graham even more flexibility in dialing up pressure packages.
Finally, to cap off Day 2, we have the G-Men landing Quinn Meinerz. The small-school prospect is soaring up draft boards, and would likely be an instant starter at center or guard on the interior offensive line, where the Giants must get better to protect QB Daniel Jones and run block better for Saquon Barkley.
New York Giants mock draft: Day 3 picks to bolster roster depth
- Fourth round, 116th pick: Alim McNeill, DL, NC State
- Sixth round, 196th pick: Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas
- Sixth round, 201st pick: Camryn Bynum, CB, California
I think I’m going to have to agree to disagree with some of The Draft Network’s scouting reports and evaluations, because McNeill has absolutely no business still being on the board this late in the draft.
McNeill is uncommonly quick off the ball for his size at 320-some-odd pounds, and if you were to put him up front in the Big Apple with Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence, things could get really scary for anyone trying to block the Giants in the NFC East.
By the time the sixth round rolls around, it’s more blind luck and cautious optimism than actually hoping any of these picks bear any fruit. However, inevitably it happens every year, and Gettleman has two cracks at this round.
Unless John Ross ends up shedding his first-round bust label, it’s not like the Giants have a legitimate, speedy slot man on the roster. Darden fits that description and could also provide a spark as a punt returner.
Finally, California’s Camryn Bynum was a four-year starter for the Golden Bears and has the skill set to be an effective outside corner in the NFL. Experience may count against him and his draft stock, but he’s not a bad development option at all, especially if New York’s Adoree’ Jackson signing doesn’t work out.