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Cover 3: First impressions of the Malik Nabers pick


The crew breaks down the selection of wide receiver Malik Nabers with the sixth overall pick:

John Schmeelk: After months of anticipation, the Giants went with Malik Nabers. He was perhaps the player most connected to the Giants in mock drafts for good reason. Brian Daboll favors receivers who are able to separate from defensive backs. As someone said on NFL Network during the broadcast, Nabers doesn't just separate from defenders, he runs away from them. His array of stutter-go and double moves on tape end up with him being wide open down the field more than any other player in the draft class.

But Nabers is not just a downfield receiver, which is what will make him such a difficult matchup for opposing NFL defenses. In addition to his volume of slot fades and other downfield routes, Nabers was a weapon on slants, crossers, hitches, and outs toward the sideline. His speed shows on his deep routes, but it is elite acceleration, change of direction ability, and start-stop quickness that make him truly special.

That unique combination of skills is why Nabers can be the ultimate weapon that Daboll can move around the field. In his final season at LSU, according to Pro Football Focus, Nabers lined up inside 358 times and outside 361 times. He also lined up in-line six times and five times as a halfback in the backfield. He can be used on gimmick plays, too. Whenever the Giants line up, teams will have to identify Nabers and adjust their coverage accordingly.

Even as a rookie, opposing defensive coordinators will have him circled in red in their plans every week. His presence will make every other skill player on the Giants' offense more successful because of the attention he will garner.

Nabers can take any pass in any area of the field and turn it into a big play for a touchdown. He has a strong lower body to run through tackles and will be one of the most elusive players in the NFL the moment he steps on the football field in the fall. The Giants have been searching for explosive plays for years, and he is a big play machine.

View the best photos from the collegiate career of wide receiver Malik Nabers.

Dan Salomone: The draft is about finding the right fit, and Malik Nabers just seems like a Brian Daboll guy. At their core, the wide receiver and head coach are competitors with fire and grit. It's not a surprise they took a liking to each other throughout the pre-draft process. Nabers hinted at it during the NFL Scouting Combine in Detroit.

"I feel the head coach really likes me a lot," he said at the time. "Their head coach, they love dogs. They are able to find those receivers that they really want. They've got a great plan going on to this season that I heard."

The feeling was mutual.

"I enjoyed those meetings," Daboll said Thursday night, just minutes after the Giants selected Nabers sixth overall. "I love his personality. He's a very, very competitive young man."

Nabers revealed that Daboll, a former two-year starter at safety for the University of Rochester (he intercepted three passes in a game in his junior season), even challenged the wideout during one of their meetings.

"He was talking about trying to guard me," Nabers said. "He thought he could guard me."

While it might be best to leave that to Deonte Banks, it spoke to Daboll's relationship with players.

"He has a great personality," Nabers said. "He makes people laugh that are in the room. He's going to compete with you for sure. He has high standards for his athletes. So, I am hoping he has high standards for me and I live up to those."

Step into the draft room as the Giants select wide receiver Malik Nabers with their first-round pick.

Matt Citak: Regardless of how anyone might have wanted the first round of the draft to play out, there is no denying that the Giants' offense became a whole lot more dynamic with the addition of Malik Nabers. The 6-foot, 200-pound wide receiver out of LSU finished the 2023 regular season as the FBS leader in receiving yards while ranking second in receiving touchdowns. His 1,569 yards and 14 touchdowns led to Unanimous All-American honors along with first-team All-SEC accolades. But Nabers' dominance this past season went well beyond traditional box score stats.

At just 20 years old, Nabers registered the most plays of 10+ yards, the most plays of 20+ yards, and the most plays of 30+ yards in the nation. This helped him finish his collegiate career as LSU's all-time leader in both receptions and receiving yards. If that weren't enough, the young wideout put on a show last month at his pro day. Nabers ran an unofficial 4.35 40-yard dash and registered a 42-inch vertical with a broad jump of 10 feet, 9 inches – all of which would have been near the top of the leaderboard among wide receivers at the NFL Scouting Combine. According to Next Gen Stats, Nabers had both the highest production score and total score among all wide receivers in this year's draft. Additionally, Pro Football Focus had Nabers down for 30 missed tackles forced and 624 deep yards last season, both of which ranked fourth in the nation.

Nabers displays an outstanding ability to change direction while continuing to accelerate. He is a tremendous fit for the offense. Most importantly, Nabers is going to bring an element of top-end speed and explosiveness. We know how much Daboll loves his receivers being able to separate, and no one in this draft does that better than Nabers. Keep in mind, he doesn't even turn 21 until July 28. Nabers' potential is through the roof, so it should come as no surprise that the Giants were so excited about adding this stud receiver.


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