Giants land Alabama playmaker in latest PFF mock draft
With the 2021 NFL Draft a little over two months away, we have fully entered mock draft season.
Between now and April 29, draft experts will be taking their best shots at predicting who the Giants will take with the 11th overall pick in this year's draft. With no combine this year, college Pro Days will hold a lot more importance over the next few months, as they will serve as the only chance teams have to evaluate prospects on the practice field.
In their latest mock draft, Pro Football Focus predicts the Giants will select an explosive playmaker with their first pick in the form of Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.
An ankle injury forced Waddle to miss just over half of the 2020 season. In six games, he caught 28 passes for 591 yards and four touchdowns, earning a selection as Second-Team All-SEC.
In his dominant sophomore campaign in 2019, Waddle reeled in 33 passes for 560 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games. He also averaged 24.4 yards on 20 punt returns with a touchdown in addition to one kickoff return touchdown on only five attempts. The 5-foot-10 receiver was named First-Team All-SEC and SEC Special Teams Player of the Year.
Waddle was also named SEC Freshman of the Year in 2018 after registering 45 receptions for 848 yards and seven touchdowns as well as 16 punt returns for 233 yards (14.6 yards per return) and a touchdown.
As PFF's Austin Gayle writes, "Waddle is arguably a better receiver prospect than Henry Ruggs III was coming out of Alabama in 2020. An explosive, dynamic athlete, Waddle ranks inside the top five in yards per route run (3.64) and yards after the catch per reception (11.5) over the past two seasons."
View photos of Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.
Mock Draft Tracker 6.0: New names enter mix
The 86th annual player selection meeting will take place in Cleveland from April 29 to May 1. Below is a look at draft experts' latest projections for Big Blue:
Pick: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Analysis: "At 6-foot-6, Pitts has the size/speed traits to line up out wide, in the slot or next to an offensive tackle. And he showed off his ability after the catch by averaging 17.9 yards per reception with 12 touchdowns. Pitts is not a traditional tight end, but he's a skilled offensive threat. And with Evan Engram on the roster, too, the Giants would have two of the most athletic -- and versatile -- tight ends in football."
Pick: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Analysis: "The Giants are all in with Daniel Jones and now they need to give him some weapons on the outside."
Pick: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Analysis: "The Giants could enjoy a fantastic duo at tight end -- Pitts is versatile enough to play with [Evan] Engram and be moved around the formation -- and provide quarterback Daniel Jones with a playmaker."
Pick: Gregory Rousseau , EDGE, Miami
Analysis: "Rousseau is an intriguing option for the Giants given his athleticism, length and sack production."
Pick: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Analysis: "The Giants need pass rush help but bolstering the offensive line may take priority. Andrew Thomas got better as the year progressed, but Vera-Tucker proved in 2020 that he can play either guard or tackle and excelled while doing it."
Pick: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Analysis: "Slater was a guard in high school but played both tackle spots for the Wildcats and could settle in opposite 2020 first-rounder Andrew Thomas."
Pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Analysis: "Surtain is about as NFL-ready as it gets at the position, and his 88.6 coverage grade in 2019 was the second-highest in the country. While there are numerous other needs on the roster, a corner across from James Bradberry is a big one, as well."
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah recently updated his ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft.
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