NFL Network's notable WRs who could hit free agency
The 2021 NFL league year kicks off exactly one month from today.
Beginning at 4pm on March 17, teams can begin signing new free agents while all 2020 player contracts will officially expire.
As it stands today, there appears to be a deep class of wide receivers set to hit the free agent market next month. However, we have yet to reach the two-week period (February 23 - March 9) in which teams are allowed to designate one franchise or transitional player. By the time the negotiation period begins on March 15, many of the current top free agents could be placed with one of the tags, preventing them from entering the open market.
A lot can and likely will change between now and March 15, but NFL Network's Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero looked at some notable wide receivers who as of now are scheduled to become free agents.
Here are the five receivers Garafolo and Pelissero discussed in the video below:
1. Allen Robinson
2020 stats: 16 games, 102 receptions for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns
2. Chris Godwin
2020 stats: 12 games, 65 receptions for 840 yards and seven touchdowns
3. JuJu Smith-Schuster
2020 stats: 16 games, 97 receptions for 831 yards and nine touchdowns
4. Will Fuller
2020 stats: 11 games, 53 receptions for 879 yards and eight touchdowns
5. Kenny Golladay
2020 stats: 5 games, 20 receptions for 338 yards and two touchdowns
Daniel Jeremiah predicts defense for Giants in latest mock draft
Gregory Rousseau opted out of the 2020 college season due to the pandemic, but NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks the Giants could opt in for the edge rusher out of the University of Miami.
In his second mock draft, Jeremiah projected the 6-foot-7, 265-pounder to the Giants at No. 11 in the 2021 NFL Draft, which begins the night of April 29 in Cleveland. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Rousseau was named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, becoming only the second Hurricane to earn the honor and first since 2008.
"I know GM Dave Gettleman has let it be known that he wants to add playmakers on offense," Jeremiah wrote. "At the end of the day, though, he's not able to pass up the big, athletic edge rusher."
In his season-ending press conference, Gettleman said the Giants need to find the right guys to help Daniel Jones "get us over that hump" as the quarterback enters his third NFL season. He also explained that roster-building begins with the quarterback and the big men up front. Offensive playmakers could be next on the list, especially when teams last year combined to score 12,692 points and 1,473 total touchdowns, both the most in a single season in NFL history. The Giants, meanwhile, finished 31st in the league in scoring.
In the same breath, however, Gettleman said you can never have too many good players at one position. His track record backs up that philosophy, which could open the door for a defensive playmaker after the unit made major strides in 2020.
Could Rousseau fit the bill for Big Blue?
"Rousseau is a tall, long and rangy defender," Jeremiah wrote in his top 50 rankings, where he listed Rousseau at No. 13 overall. "He aligned all over the front in Miami's scheme and was extremely productive in 2019 despite having limited experience on the defensive line (he played safety and wide receiver in high school). He lacks an elite get-off as a pass rusher, but his combination of quick hands, length and instincts leads to sacks and pressures in bunches. He has an effective swipe/rip move and he can close/finish.
"He didn't show much power early in the '19 season, but he got better every week. By the end of the season, he flashed the ability to convert speed to power (see: Duke game). He is very comfortable and effective rushing inside. In the run game, he uses his length to set the edge, but he does get too high at times. His effort is excellent. Overall, Rousseau is still developing, but he has found a way to post elite production while learning on the job. His best football is ahead of him."
Rousseau led the ACC in sacks (15.5) and tackles for loss (19.5) in his breakout 2019 campaign, which ranked second and ninth nationally in the FBS, respectively. That year, he finished second in sacks to Ohio State's Chase Young, who was selected second overall by the Washington Football Team.
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah recently updated his ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Bucky Brooks' top 5 non-QB prospects in 2021 draft
For the fourth consecutive year, it appears likely that a quarterback will be selected with the first overall pick in the draft.
In fact, at least two quarterbacks have been selected in the Top 10 in each of the last six NFL drafts. With the Giants selecting 11th overall this year, the more quarterbacks taken in the top 10 will mean more top options for Big Blue when they get on the clock.
This year's crop of draft prospects appears to be quite deep at several positions, some of which the Giants could be looking to add to this offseason.
NFL Network's Bucky Brooks broke down his top five non-quarterback prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft, with each one looking likely to be Day 1 contributors.
His top non-QB rankings are:
1. TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
"Kyle Pitts is kind of in the mold of the Travis Kelces, the Darren Wallers, where you call them tight ends but these are jumbo wide receivers with playmaking ability," the NFL Network analyst said. "He has the ability to create mismatches all over the field - in the slot, out wide. You can put him in-line, but what his value to a team is as a playmaker in the passing game."
2. WR Ja'Marr Chase, LSU
"I think it's a case of out of sight, out of mind," Brooks said about the talented receiver out of LSU. "But last year, this guy won the Biletnikoff Award. He is fantastic on the perimeter, can run routes, can catch and run, he can do those things you like to see. But really his best trait is his ability to win these 50-50 balls down the field… This is a fantastic player. A guy who should step in and immediately upgrade a wide receiver core as a No. 1 guy."
3. OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
"You're talking about a very young guy," Brooks said about the 20-year-old tackle. "But when you watch him play, the footwork, the hand placement is everything that you look for. But then his ability to move and climb and get to the next level. Regardless of scheme, if it's pin-and-pull, if it's a zone-based scheme, he is going to be able to thrive in it."
4. LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
"He is a blitzing machine," the NFL Network analyst said. "This guy is big, he's fast, he's athletic, he has great instincts. He does a great job at snuffing out plays. Look, when he's laser focused, he is a destroyer of blocking schemes. If you put this guy in the right system, if he's matured and focused, he is going to be a superstar at the next level."
5. OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
"He's a technician," Brooks said. "He's everything you want at the tackle position, except maybe his arms are short. But he makes up for that with his ability to play and stalemate edge defenders. His footwork, his technique is outstanding. He is a guy that is going to be a starter from day one."