EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – On the eve of their rookie minicamp, the Giants today announced they have signed half of their six-player 2021 draft class.
The list includes the team's second-round selection, outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari of Georgia, and the two sixth-round choices, running back Gary Brightwell of Arizona and cornerback Rodarius Williams of Oklahoma State.
Ojulari, 6-4 and 230 pounds, was the 50th overall pick in the draft. He played in 27 games with 23 starts in three seasons at Georgia, where his totals included 71 tackles (41 solo), 19.5 tackles for loss, 14.0 sacks, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one pass defensed. As a redshirt sophomore in 2020, Ojulari started all 10 of Georgia's games and was a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which is presented to the nation's top defensive player. He was voted 2nd-team All-SEC by the league's head coaches and the AP after finishing with 31 tackles (22 solo) and leading the conference with 12.5 stops for loss, 8.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.
Brightwell, 6-1 and 218 pounds, was chosen No. 196 overall. He played in 40 games with seven starts at Arizona. After playing slot receiver as a freshman, Brightwell switched to running back and had 245 carries for 1,305 yards (5.3-yard avg.) and nine touchdowns. He also recorded 19 receptions for 121 yards and one score. Brightwell averaged 17.2 yards on five kickoff returns and recorded eight tackles (seven solo) on special teams. As a senior in 2020, he started all five of Arizona's games and was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention after leading the Wildcats with 88 carries for 390 yards and one touchdown. Brightwell also caught 13 passes for 53 yards.
Williams, 6-feet and 195 pounds, was the 201st overall selection. He set an Oklahoma State record with 48 consecutive starts (2017-20), the longest streak among all FBS defensive backs in his senior season. Williams totaled 168 tackles (137 solo), 5.5 stops for loss, two interceptions, 31 passes defensed and one forced fumble. In 2020, Williams started the first nine games of the season before missing the final two in order to rehabilitate an injury and prepare for the NFL Draft. He earned second-team All-Big 12 honors. Williams led the Cowboys with seven pass breakups and tallied 18 tackles (13 solo), with one stop for loss and one forced fumble.
The three draft choices who have yet to sign their contracts are wide receiver Kadarius Toney (first round, Florida), cornerback Aaron Robinson (third round, Central Florida) and outside linebacker Elerson Smith (fourth round, Northern Iowa).
View photos of the New York Giants 2021 NFL Draft Class.
The Giants also announced they have signed three rookie free agents: offensive linemen Brett Heggie of Florida and Jake Burton of Baylor and defensive end Raymond Johnson III of Georgia Southern.
Heggie, 6-4 and 310 pounds, played in 41 games with 31 starts – 15 at left guard, 12 at center and four at right guard. He started each of his final 24 games, including all 12 last season at center.
Burton, 6-6 and 312 pounds, played at Baylor as a graduate transfer last season and started eight games at right guard. He previously spent four years at UCLA, where he played in 29 games, including starts at right tackle in 23 of 24 games in 2018-19.
Johnson, 6-3 and 270 pounds, played in 50 games with 47 starts at Georgia Southern and started all 38 games the previous three seasons. He was credited with 150 tackles, including 36.0 for loss and 16.5 sacks. As a senior in 2020, he had career-high totals of 14.5 tackles for loss (second in the Sun Belt Conference) and 5.0 sacks among his 38 tackles.
*With COVID protocols remaining in place, approximately 22 players are expected to attend the rookie minicamp, a much smaller number than usual. The on-field work will emphasize individual drills.