Giants News | New York Giants – Giants.com

2021 NFL Draft Position Preview: QB/RB/TE

_1920x1080

The 2021 NFL Draft is now just one week away.

There was no Combine this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, thus putting added importance into the college pro day circuit. It served as the only opportunity for prospects to showcase their skills and athleticism to NFL teams prior to the start of the draft.

Leading up to April 29, Giants.com will be breaking down the top prospects at each position according to NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 draft prospect list.

Next up are the quarterbacks, running backs and tight ends.

Current quarterbacks on the roster: Daniel Jones, Mike Glennon, Joe Webb, Clayton Thorson

Current running backs on the roster: Saquon Barkley, Devontae Booker, Elijhaa Penny, Jordan Chunn, Taquan Mizzell, Sandro Platzgummer

Current tight ends on the roster: Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo, Cole Hikutini, Nakia Griffin-Stewart, Rysen John, Nate Wieting

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Height/Weight: 6-foot-6, 213 pounds

2020 stats: 10 games, 3,153 passing yards, 69.2 completion percentage, 24 touchdowns, five interceptions, 203 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns

Accolades: Second-Team All-ACC (2018), CFP National Champion (2018), CFP National Championship Offensive MVP (2018), ACC Football Rookie of the Year (2018), 2x First-Team All-ACC (2019, 2020), ACC Offensive Player of the Year (2020), ACC Player of the Year (2020), AP Third-Team All-American (2020), 3x ACC Champion (2018, 2019, 2020)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 1

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Lawrence is a tall, long and athletic quarterback. He has a long delivery, but he still gets the ball out quickly and it explodes out of his hand. The Clemson offense features a lot of quick screens and quick hitters. He showed excellent touch and placement on those throws. He can really drive the ball down the field when called upon and he also has the ability to layer the ball (over linebackers/under safeties) in the middle of the field. His overall accuracy is excellent at all three levels. He does need to improve his pocket awareness. He doesn't always feel back-side pressure and needs to speed up his clock versus front-side pressure. Outside of his final game with the Tigers (College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Ohio State), I was impressed with his decision-making. He is a dangerous runner because of his build-up speed and toughness. Overall, Lawrence is ready to start right away and he has the tools to ultimately emerge as a top-five player at his position."

ESPN's Todd McShay: "Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect I've seen come out of college since Andrew Luck was drafted by the Colts in 2012. Lawrence's intangibles are high-end, and I love his huge arm and the mobility he brings at his size. He'll need a little refining with his pocket presence, but this kid is the real deal. He had 24 passing touchdowns, 3,153 yards through the air and a 69.2% completion percentage while throwing only five interceptions in 10 games this past season. He also had eight scores on the ground. Lawrence is recovering from surgery on his non-throwing shoulder but is expected to be ready for NFL training camp this summer."

ESPN's Mel Kiper: "Lawrence is the clear top prospect in this class. He's going No. 1 to the Jaguarsand will get a chance to lead the turnaround of that franchise alongside coach Urban Meyer. He has everything NFL teams want in a starting quarterback, from size to arm talent to the ability to process reads and make the right throw. Lawrence finished his Clemson career with 108 total touchdowns (18 rushing) and just 17 interceptions across three seasons. With no combine this year, he's going to work out for teams on Friday and then have surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder. He should still be ready for the 2021 season and I'm excited to watch him at the next level."

Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner: "The best quarterback prospect we have ever scouted. There may not be one singular thing Lawrence hangs his hat on, but he's got the fewest weaknesses of any quarterback we have ever graded."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A three-year starter at Clemson, Lawrence had full command of the offense in offensive coordinator Tony Elliott's shotgun spread scheme while setting protections and running the show. After becoming the starter as a freshman, he went 34-2 in his 36 starts for the Tigers, including three straight playoff appearances (won the 2018 national title). He finished his career No. 3 in passing yards (10,098; 65 yards behind Deshaun Watson) and tied with Watson for No. 2 in passing touchdowns (90). From his feet to his eyes to his delivery, Lawrence is quick in everything he does (too fast at times), playing with composed urgency and the body type that should hold up to the violence of an NFL season. The Clemson "quick game" offense helped simplify things for him and his consistency needs continued development, but he is an accurate passer with the creativity and decision-making to execute at a high level. Overall, Lawrence is a generational talent with the physical (size, athleticism, arm talent) and mental (processing speed, intangibles) traits to become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He projects as the clear No. 1 player in the class and an immediate, scheme-diverse starter."

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: "Refined and polished for his age, Lawrence is the ultimate prototype for today's brand of franchise quarterback. He has great size. He also possesses elite pocket-passing qualities paired with dual-threat athleticism that makes him an unpredictable weapon on every down if play-callers are willing to expand their playbooks for him. While he's fairly polished with his approach from the pocket, he has better improvisational talent than many of the quarterbacks who have come up through the quarterback camp circuits from a young age. He has the arm and eyes to make all the throws and to create explosive plays from outside the pocket. There are some areas of concern, though. Lawrence's poise, decision-making and accuracy all took a hit in 2020 when he was forced to work under pressure. His performance against Virginia Tech showed there is still room for improvement with how he processes his options against the blitz. There were times when he looked encumbered by his play-action-heavy, shotgun offense. Getting away from that system could help him post-snap. He's generally a smooth operator, with an abundance of experience and tape against high-level competition over three seasons. His body of work should give NFL teams a clear view of who he is and the type of player he could become. Lawrence has an extremely high ceiling and a floor as a very good player who will start for a long time."

Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Height/Weight: 6-foot-6, 245 pounds

2020 stats: 8 games, 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns

Accolades: 2x First-Team All-SEC (2019, 2020), Unanimous All-American (2020), John Mackey Award (2020)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 2

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Pitts is a long, lean tight end prospect with excellent speed, ball skills and production. He has lined up inline, flexed in the slot and split out wide. He runs routes like a wideout. The former Gator has burst off the line, sets up defenders and explodes out of the break point. He beat upper-echelon SEC cornerbacks on a weekly basis. He builds speed to separate down the seam and tracks the ball naturally down the field. Pitts has an enormous catch radius. He uses his speed to pile up yards after the catch. He showed tremendous improvement as a blocker in 2020. He fits up, doing his best to wrestle and stay attached. He will fall off at times, but the effort is there. Overall, Pitts is a unique talent with the ability to take over a game. He is the definition of a mismatch player."

ESPN's Todd McShay: "Pitts sets up as a versatile matchup in the NFL with great size, a big catch radius and the hands to produce. In only eight games this season, he had 770 receiving yards on 43 catches and found the end zone 12 times, tied for the third-most scores in the FBS. The junior amassed 170 yards and four end zone trips in the Gators' opener in September, and he piled on three TDs in November's meeting with Kentucky. And he went over 120 yards on seven catches in each of his final two games. Pitts flashes as a route runner and possesses above-average separation skills for a tight end. He has some speed to be a threat downfield, and he figures to be a real coverage problem for opposing defenses in the NFL."

ESPN's Mel Kiper: "Pitts is going to be a matchup nightmare at the next level. Don't think of him as just a tight end, though. He'll line up out wide and in the slot, too, and he has the speed to run by defensive backs. Pitts finished the season with 12 touchdown catches in eight games while averaging 17.9 yards per reception. He has a huge frame, of course, but he high-points the football well and has soft hands. A smart offensive coordinator will feed him targets just like a No. 1 receiver. Because of the demand for quarterbacks in this draft, Pitts could fall out of the top 10, but he's a top-10 talent."

Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner: "As rare as Sewell is for an offensive tackle prospect, Pitts might be even rarer for the tight end position. You just don't see 245-pounders move the way he can. Pitts earned a 96.2 PFF grade last year, shattering the single-season grade record for a college tight end."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A two-year starter at Florida, Pitts lined up mostly detached (slot and outside) while also seeing inline snaps with his hand on the ground in head coach Dan Mullen's scheme, which requires versatility from the tight ends. He leaves Gainesville as the most productive tight end in school history, setting a Gators record for receiving yards (1,492) at his position. Described as a "unicorn" by the Florida coaching staff, Pitts is what a twitchy big man looks like, using his natural reflexes, flexible movements and athletic ball skills to be a cheat code as a pass-catcher. Although he lacks the body power to sustain or drive block, he is a willing and competitive contributor as a blocker. Still, he should be evaluated more as a weapon than a traditional tight end. Overall, Pitts boasts special athleticism to separate in coverage and the elite pass-catching skills to be a mismatch playmaker similar to Darren Waller. He projects as a unique "move" tight end and one of the best talents in this draft."

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: "While the player comparison for the purposes of this scouting report is Darren Waller, Pitts may have the traits and talent to create mismatches similar to those created by Calvin Johnson and Tyreek Hill. His rare blend of size, athleticism and ball skills are reminiscent of Megatron's. His ability as a pass-catching tight end could force defenses in his division to alter the way they construct their roster. He's a tough matchup for most linebackers and too big for most cornerbacks. He offers offensive coordinators the ability to align him all over the field and, like Waller, can become a highly targeted, highly productive pass catcher from the tight end position. He puts in effort as a blocker but with limited success. That's not what makes him special, though. Along with Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, Pitts has a chance to become the biggest game-changer in the 2021 NFL Draft."

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah updated his ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft for the final time before the start of the draft.

Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 214 pounds

2020 stats: 12 games, 3,692 passing yards, 73.5 completion percentage, 33 touchdowns, three interceptions, 254 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns

Accolades: Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award Co-Recipient (2020)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 4

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Wilson has average height and a lean/narrow frame for the quarterback position. He's an excellent athlete and generates several wow plays in every game I've studied. Wilson has a dynamic throwing motion. He carries the ball low but once his hands separate, the ball comes out in a hurry with a high level of RPMs. He's extremely accurate from a variety of platforms and arm angles. He makes some incredible throws while fading away with both feet off the ground, and he can drive the ball to the boundary from the far hash. He also uses his quickness and creativity to buy time to let his targets uncover. He's effective on designed QB runs, but that part of his game will need to be limited at the next level due to his lack of size. My only real concern with Wilson is durability. He's already been through shoulder surgery (after his freshman season) and he doesn't have an ideal frame. If he can stay healthy, his upside is enormous."

ESPN's Todd McShay: "Wilson navigated his Cougars to an 11-1 record by completing 73.5% of his passes (second in the country) for 3,692 yards (third in the country), 33 touchdowns (third) and three interceptions. If that weren't impressive enough, Wilson also had 10 rushing TDs. He threw for 425 yards and three scores in the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl. I love Wilson's competitiveness and toughness in the pocket, and he has a high-end ability to extend plays. His deep-ball accuracy is also outstanding."

ESPN's Mel Kiper: "How the quarterbacks are ordered after Lawrence will depend on the team. Some will like Fields over Wilson, others will reverse it, and others could like Trey Lance or Mac Jones more. It's a fascinating quarterback class. Wilson has a stellar arm and can climb the pocket to find the open receiver. He was too inconsistent in 2019, bordering on reckless, but he was the opposite last season. He threw 33 touchdown passes (up from 11 in 2019) and only three picks. He also had 10 rushing scores and showed off his athleticism to manipulate the pocket. Wilson shows anticipation on throws. He's the complete package."

Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner: "Call him a one-year wonder if you want, but he earned an impressive 78.8 passing grade as a true freshman before injuries derailed his sophomore campaign. This past season, his 95.5 passing grade was the highest in the country. His off-platform arm talent and special throws make him an elite quarterback prospect."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A three-year starter at BYU, Wilson was productive in former offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes' RPO-based, heavy play-action scheme. He did a little bit of everything, including traditional-I, five-wide and option plays. Although the competition was underwhelming, he produced dynamic tape in 2020 and broke Steve Young's BYU record for single-season completion percentage (73.5) while accounting for 43 total touchdowns. A quick-minded player, Wilson competes with the creativity and ball-handling skills to make plays as a passer. He shows a natural feel for placement and touch. While he can be quick to bail and allow his mechanics to break down, he thrives moving the pocket and improvising. Overall, Wilson doesn't have an ideal body type, but his natural accuracy, off-platform skills and ability to make great spontaneous decisions translate to any level of football. He will compete for NFL starting reps as a rookie."

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: "Ascending quarterback prospect who possesses the swagger and arm talent to create explosive plays inside and outside the pocket. The gunslinger's mentality and improvised release points are clearly patterned off of one of his favorite players, Aaron Rodgers. However, his play is a little more reminiscent of a blend between Jake Plummer and Johnny Manziel coming out of college. As with Manziel, too much of Wilson's work comes off-schedule due to inconsistent anticipation and a desire to hit the big play. But like both Manziel (at Texas A&M) and Plummer, he's mobile with the ability to extend plays and hit the chunk play. Wilson's sophomore year tape shows troubling decision-making, so NFL teams will need to balance his 2019 and 2020 production in the evaluation process. He's put in a lot of work to get to this point and has the potential to become a good pro. However, he might need to play with a more disciplined approach to reach his ceiling."

Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 224 pounds

2019 stats: 16 games, 2,786 passing yards, 66.9 completion percentage, 28 touchdowns, zero interceptions, 169 rush attempts for 1,100 yards (6.5 avg.) and 14 touchdowns

Accolades: First-Team All-MVFC (2019), MVFC Offensive Player of the Year (2019), Jerry Rice Award (2019), Walter Payton Award (2019), 2x FCS Champion (2018, 2019)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 7

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Lance has a thick/sturdy frame for the quarterback position. He only started 17 games at North Dakota State, but there is plenty to get excited about. He split his time between under center and in the shotgun. He plays with excellent patience and poise, taking what the defense gives him. He rarely puts the ball in jeopardy (he didn't throw an interception until his final collegiate game). He shows the ability to change ball speed and trajectory underneath, while also displaying the velocity to fit the ball into tight windows on intermediate throws. His deep-ball accuracy needs to improve, though. He has a bad habit of sinking his weight before he throws, which impacts his placement. He is very strong in the pocket, routinely shrugging off rushers and creating plays. He is ultra-competitive on designed QB runs, displaying build-up speed and power. Lance is going to need time to develop, but I'm going to bet on his skill set, competitiveness and decision-making."

ESPN's Todd McShay: "Lance has size and toughness at quarterback. He played only one game in 2020, a win against Central Arkansas in which he completed half his passes for south of 150 yards. But he shined in 2019, when he didn't throw a single interception, picked up 1,100 rushing yards and produced 42 scores in all. He has only one career game of 300-plus passing yards, and we never saw him in action against an FBS foe. But the third-year sophomore is effective dropping from under center and selling play-action, and his downfield touch is strong, despite some inconsistent placement on shorter throws."

ESPN's Mel Kiper: "Lance is a huge wild card in this draft. But the more you watch his 2019 tape, the more there is to like about him. He got a one-game showcase in 2020 and he was just OK in that game against Central Arkansas, but as I wrote before it was played, I wasn't going to overreact to one game against an FCS opponent. He ended his college career with only 17 starts -- all wins -- and none of those came against FBS opponents. We do know that he's a phenomenal talent, though; he had 42 total touchdowns (28 passing) and zero interceptions last season for the FCS champs. He threw for 2,786 yards and ran for another 1,100. With no combine, there are going to be a lot of eyes on his pro day. The other thing to note: Lance was born in 2000 -- he's going to be 20 when he gets drafted in April. He's not a finished product by any means."

Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner: "Lance has physical tools for days, and he's already been exceptional at taking care of the football. As a redshirt freshman, Lance produced a 1.7% turnover-worthy play rate. For context, Trevor Lawrence's turnover-worthy play rate was 3.6% last season."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A one-year starter at North Dakota State, Lance was a dual-threat quarterback in the Bison read-based scheme. He followed in the footsteps of Easton Stick and Carson Wentz, who were both NFL draft picks. A late bloomer at the high school level, Lance had one of the most impressive statistical seasons in college football history in 2019 (42 total touchdowns, zero interceptions), but that is the only full season on his 17-start (all vs. FCS competition) college resume. A unique talent, Lance has the athleticism, arm talent and make-up to be a playmaker. While he takes care of the football, there were too many one-read-and-run plays on film and NDSU relied on the run game as the bread-and-butter of their offense (In his 17 career starts, Lance averaged 18.6 pass attempts per game while the team averaged 45 rush attempts). Overall, Lance is an unprecedented evaluation and will require time as he adjusts to the speed and complexities of the NFL, but his physical traits, poise and intelligence are a rare package for his age and meager experience. He should compete for NFL starting snaps during his rookie season."

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: "One-year starter who dazzled in 2019. Lance is mature for his age, but will be just 20 years old at the time of the 2021 NFL Draft. He's a rare dual-threat quarterback in that he's tasked with setting his own protections and reading the full field. Coaches rave about his football IQ and film work. They believe he will come into the league more football savvy than most of the quarterbacks in this draft. Tape shows very average arm strength but velocity should improve with better lower-body drive. While his recognition of coverage danger is a plus, he's currently more of a "yellow light" quarterback who needs to find a "green light" risk-taking mentality to become a playmaking talent in the NFL. An offensive coordinator willing to blend his run/pass talent with a play-action attack could get the most out of Lance, who should become a good NFL starter."

View photos of every player projected to the Giants in mock drafts just days ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 227 pounds

2020 stats: 8 games, 2,100 passing yards, 70.2 completion percentage, 22 touchdowns, six interceptions, 383 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns

Accolades: 2x First-Team All-Big Ten (2019. 2020), Second-Team All-American (2019), Big Ten Champion (2019, 2020), Big Ten Championship MVP (2019), 2x Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year (2019, 2020), 2x Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year (2019, 2020), Chicago Tribune Silver Football (2020)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 8

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Fields has good size, excellent arm strength and remarkable athleticism for the quarterback position. He has produced monster numbers both passing and rushing in the Buckeyes' spread system. He is at his best when he throws on time and in rhythm. The ball jumps out of his hand and he can deliver it accurately at all three levels. When the defense takes that initial target away, he's had issues quickly aborting that opportunity, which has made him late on throws and also resulted in sacks. He has shown flashes of quickly getting deeper in his progressions (see: 2021 Sugar Bowl vs. Clemson), but that part of his game is still a work in progress. He's dynamic as a runner. His first step is explosive and he pulls away from defenders with ease. He's also incredibly tough, as evidenced by his performance after getting drilled in the semifinal game against the Tigers. Overall, I think Fields has a chance to be special, but it's going to take some time for him to speed up his clock in the passing game."

ESPN's Todd McShay: "Fields starred in 2019 with 41 touchdown passes and only three interceptions, and he really progressed under Buckeyes coach Ryan Day. In 2020, he had 22 passing touchdowns, a 70.2% completion rate (seventh best in the FBS) and 2,100 passing yards in eight games. He is very accurate throwing downfield and throws effectively off-schedule and off-platform. There is some zip on his ball too, and he displays a quick release. Fields is mobile in the pocket and rushed for five scores. There might be some consistency concerns, but he is dynamic and grades out as a good NFL starting QB, as his 91.7 Total QBR (second in the nation) might suggest."

ESPN's Mel Kiper: "Fields had an up-and-down season, but I believe in his talent. He looked outstanding in some games and mediocre in others. He lit up a really good Clemson defense in the College Football Playoff semifinal, throwing for six touchdowns and completing 78.6% of his passes. He didn't have a great national title game, but the Alabama defense harassed him all game. Overall, he had 22 touchdown passes and six picks in eight games and ranked second overall in Total QBR (91.6). The Georgia transfer needs to get better at going through his progressions, but that can come in time. He's still young -- he started only 22 college games. Before the season, I said I wanted to see Fields improve as a decision-maker in the pocket and on off-platform throws, and though he has improved there, he needs to take a bigger step forward at the next level."

Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner: "You name it, Fields has it. Even with the "bad" on tape this year, Fields still earned his second consecutive passing grade over 92.0. Add in his 4.43 speed, and it's easy to see how his ability can open up a playbook."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A two-year starter at Ohio State, Fields was one of college football's best players the last two seasons in Day's multiple spread offense. With Jake Fromm blocking him at Georgia, he transferred to Columbus in 2019 and needed only 21 games to reach No. 2 in Ohio State history in career passing touchdowns (67). He twice earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors. Fields has had the spotlight on him for a long time and he hasn't wilted while displaying the confidence and competitive toughness that teammates rally behind. He shows excellent tempo when the play is on-schedule, but he must speed up his target-to-target progression reads and improve his urgency when the initial target is taken away. Overall, Fields' decision-making is more methodical than spontaneous, but he has high-ceiling traits with his athleticism, accuracy and intangibles. He projects as a high-end NFL starter if he can quicken his reads and process."

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: "Like Dak Prescott before him, Fields enters the league with dual-threat capabilities but is more of a pocket passer with the ability to extend plays or win with his legs when needed. He was up and down in 2020, but a bounce-back performance against Clemson -- including an impressive second half after suffering an injury -- said a lot about his toughness and leadership. He sees the field fairly well inside the Buckeyes' quarterback-friendly offense but needs to become a full-field reader and prevent his eyes from becoming transfixed on primary targets. He sticks open throws with accuracy and velocity thanks to a sturdy platform and good drive mechanics. He's also comfortable throwing into intermediate holes of a zone. A slower operation time and a lack of a twitchy trigger will require him to work with better anticipation and pressure recognition pre- and post-snap. He takes more sacks than coaches will be comfortable with but he also digs his way out of holes and creates explosive plays. Fields operates with a quiet confidence and has experience overcoming adversity. He should continue to improve and become a solid NFL starter within a couple of seasons."

Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

Height/Weight: 5-foot-10, 215 pounds

2020 stats: 12 games, 168 rush attempts for 914 yards (5.4 avg.) and 14 touchdowns, 48 receptions for 588 yards and two receiving touchdowns

Accolades: Third-Team All-ACC (2017), 3x First-Team All-ACC (2018, 2019, 2020), CFP National Champion (2018), ACC Championship Game MVP (2018), 2x ACC Offensive Player of the Year (2018, 2019), 2x ACC Player of the Year (2018, 2019), 2x Consensus All-American (2018, 2020)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 20

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Etienne is a compact, muscled-up running back with outstanding burst and balance. He's at his best as a one-cut runner, putting his foot in the ground and exploding up the field. He isn't overly elusive in the hole, but he hits it at full speed and absorbs contact while keeping his balance. He has plenty of speed to capture the edge on outside runs. He rarely loses a foot race once he gets into the open field. He is very valuable in the passing game, too. He has a great sense of timing and spacing in the screen game. He also possesses the ability to run away from linebackers on seams and angle routes. He has even flashed the ability to split out wide and run double moves. He improved in pass protection in 2020. Etienne doesn't have elite vision or wiggle, but his speed is real and it's spectacular when given a runway."

ESPN's Todd McShay: "Etienne has above-average speed with an explosive second gear when he hits daylight. He is a real home run hitter in space, breaking off 19 plays for 20-plus yards this season. I like his contact balance too. Etienne has 70 career rushing touchdowns, including 14 in 2020 (tied for seventh in the country). He bested 1,600 rushing yards for the second straight season in 2019 before gaining 914 through 12 games this past year. Etienne also had 588 receiving yards in 2020, better than the totals in his other three seasons combined, showing massive improvement on that front."

Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner: "With 4.4 speed, Etienne is one of the best home run threats at the position in recent college football history. He racked up 85 runs of 15-plus yards in his Clemson career. He also reinvented himself in the passing game as his career went on and led all backs in the country with 588 receiving yards in 2020."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A three-year starter at Clemson, Etienne was the lead back in offensive coordinator Tony Elliott's shotgun spread scheme, leading the Tigers in rushing each of his four seasons in college. He leaves Clemson with numerous ACC records, including rushing yards (4,952), total touchdowns (78) and points scored (468). A speed slasher, Etienne uses his deceiving run strength and deadly start-stop suddenness to force missed tackles, bursting past defenders or powering through them. He has matured as a pass catcher to be more than simply a screen target, but he must improve in pass protection to stay on the field in any situation. Overall, Etienne has room to develop his feel between the tackles, but he is an assertive ball carrier who creates chunk plays due to his immediate acceleration, explosive strides and contact balance. He projects as a home run hitter in an NFL backfield with the upside to be more."

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: "Rampaging, loose-hipped runner who wins with force and speed. Etienne's scheme will create favorable boxes for him to run into at times, but his contact balance and overall will to avoid being tackled has earned plenty of tough yardage. He has average size and runs with long strides and a frenetic pace that hampers his quick-cut control and fluidity at times. However, he has home-run speed in the open field and runs with fury and pop to finish near the goal line. He's a greatly improved pass-catching option but needs to step up consistently in pass protection. His tools for creating yardage stand out during games and that same presence should be on display as a dangerous pro back."

View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands.

Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 232 pounds

2020 stats: 13 games, 251 rush attempts for 1,466 yards (5.8 avg.) and 26 touchdowns, 43 receptions for 425 yards and four receiving touchdowns

Accolades: Second-Team All-SEC (2019), First-Team All-SEC (2020), Unanimous All-American (2020), Doak Walker Award (2020), 2x CFP National Champion (2017, 2020), 2x SEC Champion (2018, 2020), SEC Championship Game MVP (2020),

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 21

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Harris is a big, smooth running back who posted outstanding production during his Alabama career. He is very patient to let holes develop before sliding through the line of scrimmage on inside runs. He has tremendous contact balance, routinely absorbing a hit and finishing runs. He doesn't have the juice to really stretch to the boundary on outside runs, preferring to quickly get his shoulders squared and turn upfield. He is sneaky elusive in space, though, and can drop his shoulder to run through tacklers. He's an excellent pass catcher out of the backfield. He runs clean routes and has the ability to high-point the ball down the field. He's aware and dependable in pass protection. Overall, Harris isn't a home run hitter, but he's a very skilled runner with excellent value in the passing game. I see similarities to former Chicago Bears star Matt Forte when he was coming out of college."

ESPN's Todd McShay: "Harris has great size and good speed, and he has shown excellent ball security. He is strong on contact and slippery between the tackles. I was previously a bit concerned he danced too much, looking for the home run, but Harris was decisive in his final season at Alabama. His 26 rushing touchdowns ranked No. 1 in the country this past season, and his 1,466 rushing yards were No. 3. He looks improved in pass protection too and remains underrated as a pass-catcher."

ESPN's Mel Kiper: "What I like most about Harris -- and it's why he's my top-ranked running back -- is his receiving ability. He caught 70 passes over the past two seasons and had 11 receiving touchdowns. He can be a three-down back in the NFL. The downside about him is that he had a whopping 718 touches at Bama, including 460 carries over the past two seasons. He has taken a lot of punishment. He has stayed healthy so far, and he finished the 2020 season with 1,466 rushing yards and 26 rushing scores. He also led the FBS with 47 carries of at least 10 yards. All he does is produce and he could be a late first-round pick in April."

Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner: "Harris had an incredibly productive Alabama career with rushing grades of 91.8, 89.8 and 90.1 the past three seasons. He also established himself as one of the best receiving backs in the country, with only three career drops on 83 catchable targets."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A two-year starter at Alabama, Harris was the lead back in former offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian's offense, sharing the backfield with Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs as a sophomore before becoming the clear starter his final two seasons. The 2017 Alabama recruiting class included numerous five-stars like Tua Tagovailoa and Jerry Jeudy, but Harris was considered the prize of the group and he didn't disappoint, steadily improving each year and setting school records for career rushing yards (3,843) and total touchdowns (57). Harris has the quick, graceful feet of a much smaller back to elude pursuit, showing improved decision- making and on-field maturity as a senior in Tuscaloosa. Although he doesn't have his home run juice, he compares favorably to Matt Forte with his athletic cuts, natural instincts, reliability as a pass catcher and toughness to wear down defenses. Overall, Harris is not a proven big-play threat, but he skillfully toggles between patience and power to press holes and maximize each run. He projects as an NFL starter due to his reliable skill set as a rusher, receiver and upside as a blocker."

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: "Plus-sized runner who elevated his game and draft stock with a well-rounded performance in 2020. Harris showed improved short-area creativity and elusiveness to go with his trademark physicality. Creates additional yardage with both wiggle and power, but he lacks desired top gear to change games in a flash. He handled a heavier lift in 2020, with almost 300 total touches in 13 games. Harris' value as a third-down option out of the backfield and as a personal protector should not be underestimated after his performance in his senior year. His running style could shorten his career, but he's a tough, three-down runner who can immediately upgrade a running game."

Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina

Height/Weight: 5-foot-10, 212 pounds

2020 stats: 11 games, 157 rush attempts for 1,140 yards (7.3 avg.) and 19 touchdowns, 25 receptions for 305 receiving yards and three touchdowns

Accolades: Second-Team All-ACC (2020), Second-Team All-American (2020)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 26

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Williams is a thick, compact running back with outstanding vision, power and quickness. He is quick to find/attack the hole with a bounce in his step on inside runs. He has tremendous lateral quickness to make defenders miss in tight quarters. He runs with a low pad level and accelerates through contact. Williams has the burst to get the edge on outside runs and he's elusive once he gets into the open field. He is effective as a checkdown option in the passing game and flashes some route polish on angle routes in the middle of the field. He has reliable hands, although you will see some double catches. He is aware in pass protection and can squat and absorb blitzers. Overall, Williams is a complete player and could emerge as the best running back in the 2021 class."

Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner: "Williams has rare contact balance. His 76 broken tackles on 157 carries this past season produced easily the highest broken tackle rate we've recorded for a single season. Not even 21 years old, Williams is still an ascending player."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A part-time starter at North Carolina, Williams shared the workload with Michael Carter under offensive coordinator Phil Longo, playing more of the thunder role to Carter's lightning. Both running backs enjoyed remarkable 2020 seasons and finished their careers as the only players in school history (minimum 300 rush attempts) to average better than 6.0 yards per carry. Williams is an incredibly strong runner with a stout stiff-arm to dump defenders, leaving broken tackles all over the field. A linebacker-turned-running back as a senior in high school, he still has plenty of room to improve his run tempo and patience, especially when the run design isn't there. Overall, Williams can be an inconsistent decision-maker at the line of scrimmage, but he creates for himself through balance and power at contact and forces defenders to be near perfect with their technique to get him on the ground, similar to a more compact version of Leonard Fournette."

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: "Big, broad bully back who runs with an exciting blend of animosity and feel as a future every-down starter in the league. With just 366 carries under his collegiate belt, Williams hasn't seen much tread come off the tires, but teams might speculate that his running style could lead to some in-season wear and tear. He's a terror behind his pads, creating yardage by battering and discarding tackle attempts. He sees the front fairly well and has above-average hips and the creativity to add to his rush total with more than just power. He lacks run-away speed for the long touchdowns but runs with above-average vision and contact balance to succeed at a high rate near the goal line. He tends to trust the blocking scheme and keep his runs on track but can recalibrate when needed. Williams is best-suited to gap, power and inside zone rather than flowing wide, where he lacks one-cut quickness. He will drop passes from time to time but has the route-running and protection toughness to take over as a three-down RB1 fairly early in his career."

The Giants hold the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. View photos of notable players selected in that spot.

Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 217 pounds

2020 stats: 13 games, 4,500 passing yards, 77.4 completion percentage, 41 touchdowns, four interceptions

Accolades: First-Team All-SEC (2020), Consensus All-American (2020), 2x SEC Champion (2018, 2020), Manning Award (2020), Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (2020), Davey O'Brien Award (2020), 2x CFP National Champion (2017, 2020)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 32

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Jones has average size and athleticism for the quarterback position. He's operated out of the shotgun and pistol, showing incredible accuracy, efficiency and poise. He is a high-effort thrower, with slightly above-average arm strength. He's at his best on touch throws, where he can anticipate and place the ball on the proper shoulder of his target. He shows toughness to hang in versus pressure, although he rarely faced it with an elite offensive line protecting him. He isn't much of a threat as a runner and he lacks the twitch to consistently escape and buy extra time. Jones should become a starting NFL quarterback, but his lack of twitch and athleticism will limit the playbook with the way the game is trending."

ESPN's Todd McShay: "I really like his touch and ball placement, and he anticipates really well, leading receivers and throwing them open. Jones also processes quickly and has really fast eyes in getting through progressions. In the pocket, he has poise and toughness, and though he isn't a dangerous runner, Jones has a good feel for how to extend plays -- all while keeping his eyes downfield. In 2020, he completed a nation-leading 77.4% of his passes, and he gained 4,500 yards through the air (first) and threw 41 touchdowns (second) with four interceptions. His 96.1 Total QBR was the best in the FBS."

ESPN's Mel Kiper: "How about Jones' rise in 2020? We weren't even sure he'd be Alabama's starting quarterback last summer. McShay and I had a fun debate about Jonesin November. Read that piece for more thoughts. In short: He just keeps improving. I have been so impressed by his deep-ball accuracy and ability to stand in the pocket and make throws under pressure. I didn't see him as a potential first-round pick last year, when he took over after Tua Tagovailoa's injury, but he made the case in 2020, and he could go in the top 10. Jones ranked first in the FBS in Total QBR (96.1), yards per attempt (11.1), passing first downs (202) and completion percentage (77.4%). And he won a national title. Yes, he had elite playmakers around him, but I'm a believer in his talent. He can make every throw."

Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner: "Jones produced the second-highest passing grade in college football last season at 94.8, but he also benefitted from the easiest situation of any quarterback in the college game. His underneath accuracy is his calling card, which can still be a pathway to success in the NFL. He was the most accurate quarterback in the country on passes thrown under 10 yards downfield in 2020, per our ball-placement charting."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A one-year starter at Alabama, Jones was a prolific passer in former offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian's spread scheme. After backing up Tagovailoa in 2019, Jones won the starting job in 2020 and led Alabama to the national championship. He set a new NCAA single-season record for completion percentage (77.4%) and became the first player in school history to reach 4,500 passing yards in a season. Jones is an especially challenging evaluation because he played in a near- perfect situation in Tuscaloosa with an elite offensive line, running game, pass-catchers and play-calling, which makes it tough to evaluate him independent of his surroundings. However, he still had to make the reads and the throws and he displayed advanced-level poise and anticipation. Overall, Jones doesn't have elite level mobility or arm strength, but he is good-enough in those areas and he is poised, hyper competitive and doesn't make mistakes. He projects as a high-floor NFL starter."

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: "Jones has above-average accuracy and a season full of eye-catching production. He displayed nice improvement as he grew into the position from 2019 to 2020. His accuracy and ball placement stand out and he throws a very catchable football with consistent touch on it. He's not much of an improv player but can hurt defenses with his feet once he leaves the pocket. The tape shows too much predetermined decision-making about where he wants to go with the football rather than letting the coverage and his progressions speak to him. While the production looks great, he has clearly benefited from a wealth of riches up front, in the backfield and at wide receiver. He has a tendency to play with some panic when pressure gets after him and could struggle when things aren't optimal around him. Jones has good backup to low-end starter potential."

Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 251 pounds

2019 stats: 4 games, 23 receptions for 310 yards and 1 touchdown

Accolades: Second-Team All-Big Ten (2019), First-Team All-Big Ten (2020), Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year (2020)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 46

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Freiermuth is a big tight end with toughness and strong/reliable hands. In the passing game, he plays inline, on the wing or flexed out. He is a one-speed route runner, but he has a good feel for setting up defenders and using his big body to wall them off when the ball is in the air. He attacks the ball and flashes the ability to make special one-handed grabs. He is physical and fights for extra yards after the catch. He doesn't offer much top speed or wiggle. He fights to stalemate at the point of attack in the run game, but he will fall off at times. His willingness is apparent. Freiermuth isn't a dynamic athlete, but he has a good feel for the position and should be a steady, reliable starter."

Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner: "Freiermuth was the focal point of the Nittany Lions offense this past season before going down with a shoulder injury. He racked up 310 yards in four games with 23 catches on 37 targets. At nearly 260 pounds, he is a jumbo-sized target at the position."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A three-year starter at Penn State, Freiermuth lined up on the wing, in the slot and inline in former offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca's scheme. He caught a pass in 29 consecutive games (all but his college debut) and ranked third in the FBS among tight ends (prior to his injury) with 77.5 receiving yards per game in 2020, passing Mike Gesicki for the most touchdown catches by a tight end in Penn State history. While not sudden, Freiermuth is an athletic mover with strong hands and a fearless demeanor, dealing with inaccurate passers who often made him work for his catches. As a blocker, he delivers strong pop at contact, but doesn't consistently drive or generate movement, giving defenders a chance to shed and get by him. Overall, Freiermuth doesn't have the overwhelming traits, mainly as a blocker, to live up to the "Baby Gronk" moniker given to him in college, but his athletic, competitive and dependable play style is why he projects as a high-floor NFL starter."

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: "Big, athletic tight end with the potential to be a combo player at the position, helping as a run blocker and pass catcher. Freiermuth needs to tighten up his technique as a run blocker but his foot quickness and agility led to some splashy recoveries and block finishes that foreshadow his future potential. He's athletic and has good build-up speed down the seam to attack the second level. However, he's average in separating underneath. Will need to do a better job of accessing his basketball background and putting a body on defenders to "block out" and create space for the throw. He'll need to have his season-ending injury vetted, but he has Day 2 talent for teams looking to bolster their 12 personnel package or add production from their Y tight end."

NYG_PSL_2021_LINKEDIN_BANNER

2021 Season Tickets on sale now

Related Content

Advertising