Giants select two Alabama stars in NFL.com's first three-round mock draft
With the Super Bowl officially over, we can now put the 2020 campaign behind us and look to the offseason.
Free agency will kick off next month, and then before we know it, the 2021 NFL Draft will be around the corner.
As it currently stands, the Giants have each of their own picks in the first three rounds of this year's draft- No. 11, No. 42 and No. 76. Of course, how the team chooses to use these picks will depend partly on what areas of the roster they address in free agency. But that isn't going to stop draft experts from trying to predict the team's selections.
NFL.com's Chad Reuter released his first three-round mock draft this week, and it in he predicts the Giants will use their first two picks on both the Offensive and Defensive MVPs of Alabama's CFP National Championship win over Ohio State.
At No. 11, Reuter predicts the Giants will select Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. Smith played in 13 games in his historic senior season, finishing with 117 receptions for an SEC record 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. He was named First-Team All-SEC, the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and a Unanimous All-American, in addition to numerous other awards. Smith finished his collegiate career as the SEC's all-time leader in receiving yards and touchdowns.
"Typically, GM Dave Gettleman would look to improve the front seven with this pick" writes Reuter. "But Smith's value is too high to ignore, despite his lean frame. Gettleman's first-round pick from two years ago, quarterback Daniel Jones, will appreciate the explosive, tough and reliable Smith."
In the second round, the NFL.com writer believes the Giants will boost their interior defensive line by selecting Smith's Crimson Tide teammate Christian Barmore at No. 42. In 11 games as a redshirt sophomore, the defensive tackle had eight sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and three passes defensed on his way to being named First-Team All-SEC. Barmore was named Defensive MVP of the National Championship game after picking up five tackles, including two tackles for loss and one sack against the Buckeyes.
As for the team's third-round selection, Reuter thinks the Giants will select Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey. The redshirt junior started all 11 games for the Sooners this past season and did not allow a single sack on 401 pass plays. He was named AP Third-Team All-American, First-Team All-Big 12 and the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year for his performance. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman was also named AP Second-Team All-American, First-Team All-Big 12 and the Big-12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2019 after not allowing a sack on 799 total plays over 14 games.
Photos of 2021 NFL Draft prospect, Alabama WR DeVonta Smith.
PFF's potential draft fits for Giants at EDGE
With free agency still to come, a lot can change between now and the NFL Draft on April 29. As the roster stands at the moment, one position the Giants might look to address this offseason, either in free agency or the draft, is edge defender.
If the Giants do look towards the draft to bolster their depth on the edge, Pro Football Focus highlighted two potential fits, both early and late in the draft.
In the first round, one possibility for Big Blue is Michigan's Kwity Paye. The 22-year-old defensive end played in four games for the Wolverines this past season, picking up two sacks and four tackles for loss. He registered 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in 12 games as a junior. Paye was named Second-Team All-Big Ten in each of the last two years.
As PFF's Michael Renner writes, "Paye is Edge1 on the PFF board and the only one that makes sense at pick 11 in our eyes. He told us he dropped weight to around 260 pounds to play on the edge in the NFL. That would be ideal in the Giants scheme."
As for a possible late-round fit, Renner believes the Giants could look towards Northern Iowa's Elerson Smith. In 15 games during the 2019 campaign, Smith recorded 14.0 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, 14 quarterback hits, four pass breakups and two blocked kicks. He earned a spot on the AP Second-Team FCS All-American squad for his performance. Smith did not play in 2020 due to COVID-19.
"Smith is around 260 as well and impressed at the Senior Bowl, where he was the second-highest-graded defensive lineman in attendance," Renner writes. "Still, because of his competition level, the Giants could possibly snag him early on Day 3."
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.
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