Draft speculation is in full swing, and the 2023 NFL Combine – now a thing of the past – invites intensified discussion. The Draft Network's Joe Marino is one of the most recent experts to weigh in with his evaluations of the 2023 NFL prospects. Marino recently joined John Schmeelk of the Giants Huddle podcast to debrief Combine results and break down the Giants' overarching needs.
First up was the highly anticipated wide receiver position. With big names like Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba, TCU's Quentin Johnson and USC's Jordan Addison dominating media coverage, Marino broke down what he sees as the Giants' priority: "I think what you're looking for is a guy that's more 'do everything.' You can play him in the slot; you can play him out wide."
Isaiah Hodgins and Wan'Dale Robinson are projected to be two important weapons on the line of scrimmage and in the slot, respectively. Marino identified a need for a receiver that's more versatile. That's not to say the big-name guys can't fill the role, but teams can absolutely find value beyond the first round.
"A player that immediately comes to mind for me is Puka Nacua out of BYU," Marino added. He also listed Oklahoma's Marvin Mimms and SMU's Rashee Rice.
The tight end class is similarly stacked: "Michael Mayer, Darnell Washington, Dalton Kincaid, Luke Musgrave, Tucker Craft, Sam LaPorta – those are the guys." Trends dictate that there is rarely more than one first-round tight end taken, but 2023 has the ability to stray from the norm.
Marino expressed confidence that the Giants will place an equal emphasis on fortifying the other side of the ball.
The talent at defensive tackle will likely encourage the Giants to generate depth at the position behind Leonard Williams and Dexter Williams. "For me, Keeanu Benton is the name that really, really pops," Marino admitted.
He also endorsed Michigan's Mazi Smith, calling him a "freak athlete."
Marino harped on the importance of selecting players who are schematic fits and identified that this year's edge rushers align nicely with defensive coordinator Wink Martindale's system.
"The Wink Martindale defense usually features some very stout dudes and then guys they can create space to unleash and attack the pocket," he shared. "When you go to the edge side of things, there's so many players that I think translate to that style of defense." Tennessee's Byron Young was a name that Marino presented as a possible fit.
Last up was cornerback, this draft's objective strength. Marino projected Illinois' Devon Witherspoon as a good fit for the Giants.
"There's going to be answers here for teams," Marino said about the available corners. "If you need one, get one. The well is full."
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