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Giants Now: ESPN lists Azeez Ojulari as 'value pick'


ESPN lists Azeez Ojulari as 'value pick'

In addition to three extra picks acquired in the first four rounds of next year's draft, including Chicago's first-round pick, the Giants walked away with six talented players, some of whom could have an impact right away.

ESPN's Matt Bowen put together a list of some of his favorite picks, from early-impact rookies to picks that landed on perfect teams and more.

The first player Bowen discusses as a "value pick who could make an early impact" is none other than Giants' second-round pick Azeez Ojulari.

As Bowen writes, "I saw Ojulari as a late Day 1 pick given his quicks off the ball and the ability to bend and close to the quarterback. I believe Ojulari, who had 8.5 sacks against SEC competition last season, has a high ceiling as a pass-rusher, plus the skills to play off contact versus the run game. The fit works here, too, for defensive coordinator Patrick Graham in New York. Run twist stunts with Ojulari and veteran Leonard Williams. Scheme him up in one of the more multiple NFL systems we see on tape."

Ojulari was one of the top pass rushers in the country last season, picking up 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in 10 games, both of which led the SEC. In addition, Ojulari's four forced fumbles were tied for the second-most in all of FBS.

Bowen's writeup is the latest praise from ESPN about the Giants' second-round pick. The day after the draft concluded, ESPN's Todd McShay listed Ojulari as the team's best pick of the draft, noting the Georgie linebacker is "exactly what the Giants needed."

Daniel Jeremiah breaks down the Giants' draft class

It's not too often that NASCAR gets brought up in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft.

But such was the case last month after NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah likened the chances of Giants GM Dave Gettleman trading down to something not often seen in the sport of stock car racing.

"I think we'll see a right turn in a NASCAR race before we see Dave Gettleman trade back," Jeremiah joked to the media on April 21.

As it turns out, there are more right turns in NASCAR than the analyst might have originally thought.

The Giants traded down in each of the first two rounds of the draft, acquiring Chicago's fifth-round pick in 2021 and first and fourth-round picks in 2022, along with Miami's third-round pick next year.

"I think when you look at what they were able to collect, and I think when you look at where this roster is, it's actually in pretty good shape," Jeremiah recently told the Giants Huddle Podcast. "I think just having some numbers to be able to spread out and to be able to get assets next year is huge. And there's a little more certainty with the process next year. I'm all for that. Get some extra picks here and collect some picks for next year."

As it has been widely reported for months, this year's pre-draft process was unlike any other year. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL was forced to cancel the 2021 Scouting Combine. Each year, the Combine serves as the most important week of the offseason for teams to gather intel on the draft class, both on and off the field.

The uncertainty surrounding all of sports over the last year prompted many big-time college prospects to return to school for the 2021 season rather than declare themselves eligible for the draft. So, a larger and deeper player pool and the hope that the pre-draft process returns to (or close to) normal should be beneficial in 2022.

"I think the player pool is a little bit under reported, just in terms of the number of guys that ended up going back, particularly the smaller-school guys that make up a lot of those Day 3 picks," Jeremiah said regarding the Class of '22. "You're going to have a much larger pool to choose from there. You're going to see some of these even Power 5 guys that ended up getting an extra year coming back and developing even more. You're just going to have a better sense of going through the whole process with these guys, getting on campus, feeling more comfortable with their background stuff, having a Combine…

"Of all the things [the Giants] accomplished, I think getting those three picks next year might be my favorite."

Strength of schedule for every team in 2021

How tough is the Giants' schedule? Click to view each team's strength of schedule for the 2021 season based on the records of their opponents from 2020.

How tough is the Giants' schedule? Click to view each team's strength of schedule for the 2021 season based on the records of their opponents from 2020.


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