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Giants Now: ESPN's Mel Kiper, The Athletic's Dane Brugler agree on Giants' pick

KIPER-BRUGLER-GN

ESPN's Mel Kiper, The Athletic's Dane Brugler agree on Giants' pick

Mock draft season is offically upon us.

From now until April 25, we are likely to see many different names connected to the Giants at No. 6 by draft analysts across the NFL landscape.

But with more than three months to go until the draft kicks off, two of the most respected draft analysts in the business, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and The Athletic's Dane Brugler, both listed Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze as their early prediction for the Giants' pick at No. 6.

"They need a big-time wide receiver," Kiper said on ESPN's First Draft podcast. "Malik Nabers, Rome Odunze would make an awful lot of sense here, and one of them will probably be here. The wide receiver position is huge. Now you need a pass rusher opposite [Kayvon] Thibodeaux, who had a heckuva year, but there's nobody to take at this point. So, you go to Rome Odunze. Why is he special? Because of the consistency week in and week out...

"Rome Odunze, 6-3, added weight to that frame this year. Tremendous catch radius, great hands, great natural pass-catcher. You talk about silky smooth, he kind of lulls that cornerback into a false sense of security, guys after the catch take bad angles. He's so consistent, so reliable."

Odunze was one of the top wide receivers in the country this past season as he caught 92 passes for 1,640 yards and 13 touchdowns. He registered 100 or more receiving yards in 10 out of 15 games, which led to him being named Consensus All-American in addition to first-team All-Pac-12. It marked the second consecutive season in which he was selected first-team all-conference. As a redshirt sophomore, he caught 75 passes for 1,145 yards and seven touchdowns.

View photos of the previous 25 players selected with the No. 6 pick in the NFL Draft.

Despite LSU's Malik Nabers being selected one pick before Odunze in this mini mock draft, Kiper said both are "freakish talents" and that "you can't go wrong with either" receiver.

Here are the first six picks in Kiper and Field Yates' mini mock draft from the First Draft podcast.

  1. Chicago Bears - Caleb Williams, QB, USC
  2. Washington Commanders - Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
  3. New England Patriots - Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
  4. Arizona Cardinals - Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
  5. Los Angeles Chargers - Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
  6. New York Giants - Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Brugler shared Kiper's feelings about the Giants selecting a wide receiver at No. 6, as he also projected Odunze to the Giants.

"With his size/speed profile and ability to play through contact, Odunze is a quarterback-friendly target with the tools to be a legitimate No. 1 option," wrote Brugler. "The Giants haven't had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2018, but Odunze might change that as a rookie."

Here are the first six picks in Brugler's latest mock draft.

  1. Chicago Bears - Caleb Williams, QB, USC
  2. Washington Commanders - Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
  3. New England Patriots - Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
  4. Arizona Cardinals - Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
  5. Los Angeles Chargers - Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
  6. New York Giants - Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Brugler took his mock draft a step further by going into the second round of this year's draft.

Following their midseason trade of Leonard Williams to the Seattle Seahawks, the Giants have two second-round picks this April - their own pick at No. 39 and Seattle's pick at No. 47. After addressing the offense in the first round, Brugler believes the Giants will boost the defense in the second, starting with Washington edge rusher Bralen Trice.

"Although he isn't expected to test off the charts, Trice is an easy player to like because of his skilled, powerful hands and athletic urgency to quickly deconstruct blocks," wrote Brugler.

The 6-foot-4, 274-pound pass rusher registered seven sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, two passes defensed and 49 tackles (30 solo) across 15 games this past season. This came one year after racking up nine sacks in 13 games on his way to his first of two consecutive first-team All-Pac-12 selections. 

In addition to first-team all-conference, Trice was also named third-team All-American by the Associated Press and first-team All-American by Pro Football Focus in 2023.

With pick No. 47, Brugler thinks the Giants will stick on the defensive side of the ball and select Georgia safety Javon Bullard.

"Bullard might not be a top tester, but he plays with range and made his presence known in the run game on every tape I studied," said Brugler.

After winning a national championship as a freshman, Bullard saw his first extensive action as a starter the following season. He finished the 2022 campaign with 46 tackles (33 solo), 3.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, two interceptions, three pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

Bullard was named the CFP National Championship Defensive MVP after logging two interceptions against TCU. He was also the Defensive MVP of the CFP Semifinal game after he had three tackles, a sack, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry against Ohio State.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound safety started 12 games for the Bulldogs this past season and registered 56 tackles (39 solo), two interceptions, five passes defensed and one tackle for loss en route to a second-team All-SEC selection.

View photos of notable players selected with the No. 6 pick in the NFL Draft.

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