The Athletic's Dane Brugler reveals 7-round mock draft
Well folks, we are exactly two weeks away from the start of the 2021 NFL Draft festivities.
Over the last few months, we have seen many NFL analysts release their predictions for how the first round of the draft will play out. However, most mock drafts we've seen stop after the No. 32 pick in the opening round.
The Athletic's Dane Brugler has been a respected draft expert for many years, and just this week he released his one and only 7-round mock draft.
In the first round, Brugler believes the Giants will boost Daniel Jones' protection with the addition of USC OL Alijah Vera-Tucker.
As Brugler writes, "If the Giants want Daniel Jones to succeed, continuing to upgrade the offensive line with this pick will be attractive. There is no such thing as a "safe" prospect in the NFL Draft, but Vera-Tucker is viewed by many around the league as having low bust potential and a high floor. Personally, I would go Jaylen Waddle here, which is another realistic possibility."
Vera-Tucker showed great versatility during his time with the Trojans, playing 12 games at right guard, 13 at left guard and six at left tackle. He earned Second-Team All-Pac-12 honors in 2019 before being named First-Team All-Pac-12 in 2020. He was also awarded the Morris Trophy as the conference's top offensive lineman this past season.
After improving the O-line in the first round, Brugler has the Giants adding a talented pass rusher with the 42nd overall pick in Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau.
Rousseau only played one full season for the Hurricanes, but the 6-foot-7 edge rusher certainly made it count. He racked up 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss to go with two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one pass defended. His 15.5 sacks were the second-most in the country behind only Ohio State's Chase Young.
Rousseau's awards for the 2019 campaign include ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, Freshman All-American, First-Team All-ACC and Second-Team All-American.
Here is how Brugler predicts the Giants will spend their final four draft picks following the selections of Vera-Tucker and Rousseau:
3rd Round Pick (No. 76): Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa
4th Round Pick (No. 116): Cornell Powell, WR, Clemson
6th Round Pick (No. 196): Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech
6th Round Pick (No. 201): Monty Rice, LB, Georgia
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.
NFL Network's Bucky Brooks on Giants' potential draft plans at WR, OL
The Giants have used plenty of assets on the wide receiver and offensive line positions over the last 12 months.
In the 2020 NFL Draft, the Giants used first-round (Andrew Thomas), third-round (Matt Peart) and fifth-round (Shane Lemieux) picks on offensive linemen. Then just last month, the Giants made a big splash in free agency by signing wide receiver Kenny Golladay to a multi-year deal, in addition to signing the speedy John Ross.
Despite these recent moves, the Giants have been connected to some of the top wide receivers and offensive linemen in many mock drafts.
NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks joined Giants.com's John Schmeelk on the Giants Huddle podcast recently to discuss some of the Giants' possible plans for the upcoming NFL Draft. While a few of the top wide receiver prospects are projected to be selected in the Giants' range, Brooks believes this year's class is so deep that teams might be better off waiting until after the first round to dip into the WR pool.
"With the wide receivers, I think we're at a unique time with wide receivers," Brooks said. "I think these guys are really good, but I've also seen in the league a bunch of second rounders come through and have an impact. But Ja'Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, they all can shine and thrive. But I think you can also look at that next tier with Rashod Bateman and some of those guys that are in that group, Elijah Moore. They might also shine.
"A lot of it comes down to going to the ice cream shop and being able to pick what flavor ice cream do I want to fit in my offense and how much do you value the position. Do you value it where 'I need to go and get a first-round pick to be able to do it'?"
LSU's Ja'Marr Chase is widely considered to be the top receiver in the draft and unlikely to still be on the board when the Giants are on the clock at No. 11. Ditto for Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, who Brooks referred to as "such a difference-maker" and ranked above the top three receivers. However, two Alabama teammates could be available when it's the Giants' turn to pick- Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith.
Waddle (ankle) played in just six games last season, but the explosive playmaker caught 28 passes for 591 yards and four touchdowns.
In addition to his strong receiving numbers throughout his time at Alabama, Waddle was also a dynamic weapon on special teams. He finished his Crimson Tide career with 38 punt returns for 733 yards (19.3 avg.) and two touchdowns, along with nine kick returns for 214 yards (23.8 avg.) and an additional touchdown.
While both Alabama receivers would certainly add something special to the Giants' receiving corps, Brooks sees one as a better fit in Big Blue's offense.
"Jaylen Waddle, one, is a little thicker. He also is more explosive in terms of dynamic with the ball in his hands," he said. "I will be honest, the Giants haven't had the same kind of juice on the outside in the passing game since Odell Beckham Jr. was traded away. You need to have someone who can be a catch-and-run specialist, someone who can make and generate a big play. I think Jaylen Waddle gives you a little more of that."
Louis Riddick breaks down Giants' possible draft plans
ESPN analyst Louis Riddick joins Giants.com's John Schmeelk to discuss the team's potential plans for the 2021 NFL Draft in the latest episode of the Giants Huddle Podcast.