Mel Kiper, Todd McShay's 3-round mock draft
The countdown until the start of the 2021 NFL Draft is officially on.
We are now just six days away from the big event. Leading up to April 29, draft analysts from media outlets across the country will take their turn in trying to correctly predict how the first round of the draft will play out.
Two of the biggest names in the business are ESPN's Mel Kiper and Todd McShay. This week, the pair put together a three-round mock draft and alternated picks, meaning Kiper took the Giants' No. 11 selection while McShay handled the team's picks in the second (No. 42) and third (No. 76) rounds.
All five of the top quarterbacks were off the board by the time it was the Giants' turn to make their selection, along with Kyle Pitts, Penei Sewell, Ja'Marr Chase, Rashawn Slater and Patrick Surtain II.
With that said, here are Kiper and McShay's predictions for the Giants' first three picks, along with commentary from each of the analysts:
No. 11: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
"Daniel Jones needs more weapons, and now he'll have the Heisman Trophy winner next to free-agent signing Kenny Golladay. This Giants offense could be dangerous in the NFC East." -- Kiper
No. 42: Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma
"I love this fit. Perkins is an excellent pass-rusher, which is exactly what the Giants need, and it's good value for him in this range. He had 5.5 sacks and nine QB hurries in only six games last season." -- McShay
No. 76: Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
"Surratt has sideline-to-sideline range and can cover tight ends or running backs in the passing game. He brings a different element to the Giants' linebacking corps." -- McShay
View photos of every player projected to the Giants in mock drafts just days ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
11th pick not 'too rich' for edge rusher, says Pettit
Without a headliner like Chase Young, Myles Garrett, or one of the Bosa brothers, Chris Pettit is still bullish on the group of edge rushers in next week's draft.
Speaking on a video conference alongside general manager Dave Gettleman, the Giants' director of college scouting defended the talent of the class on multiple occasions. More importantly, he sees some who can fit their scheme. The team holds six picks in the draft, beginning with the No. 11 overall selection.
"I wouldn't say it's too rich for edge rushers," Pettit said of where the Giants pick in the first round. "Edge rushers are how you win. You win with guys that rush the passer. Where they are on the board, we'll see how it shakes out, there are a lot of factors to it, but I wouldn't say there aren't guys available."
According to NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks, the top five edge defenders in order are Jaelan Phillips (Miami), Kwity Paye (Michigan), Gregory Rousseau (Miami), Carlos Basham Jr. (Wake Forest), and Joe Tryon (Washington).
"Despite the lack of star power at the edge positions, there are several pass rushers with boom-or-bust potential who, if they land in the right spots, could emerge as double-digit sack masters early in their careers," Brooks wrote. "Phillips shook up the scouting community with his exceptional pro-day performance. As a technician with outstanding hand skills, he mixes power with finesses to keep blockers off balance. Paye is a quick-twitch pass rusher with a non-stop motor and active hands. He doesn't play with heavy hands, but his activity and effort enable him to chalk up garbage sacks off the edge."
Brooks added: "Rousseau is a long, rangy pass rusher with natural instincts and skills. The Miami standout is still a work in progress, but his flashes will encourage teams to gamble on his upside as a disruptive edge defender. Basham is an athletic defender with twitch and explosiveness. He is capable of aligning at multiple spots to take advantage of a weak blocker with his first-step quickness and burst. Tryon is an explosive athletic freak with A+ size, strength and twitch. He has the potential to emerge as an all-star playmaker with a dynamic pass rush that impresses evaluators."
Giants stand to benefit from early QB run in draft
The Giants don't need to select a quarterback in next week's NFL Draft, but they can benefit because so many other teams do.
Quarterbacks are all but certain to go 1-2-3 at the top of the first round a week from tonight, another could well get chosen at No. 4 and a fifth high in the first round is a distinct possibility. Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, who owns the 11th overall pick, would be happy if the run on quarterbacks extends even longer.
"The more quarterbacks that go, the more players it pushes to us," Gettleman said on a Zoom call today. "It's obviously helpful. Frankly, I'd like to see 10 quarterbacks go in front of us, but basically the more quarterbacks that go, the better it is for us."
An early run on quarterbacks would make more excellent players available to the Giants. But it could also create a competition among quarterback-needy teams for those passers still available after the first few picks. With Daniel Jones entering his third season, the Giants are excluded from that group. But they might find a trading partner in a team seeking a quarterback or a coveted player at another position. That could present the Giants with an opportunity to add to their total of six picks in the seven-round draft (they had 10 last year). They have two sixth-round selections, but none in the fifth and seventh rounds.
Neither the Giants nor Gettleman have a recent history of trading back in the first round. The team last did so in 2006, when they moved from 25 to 32 in a trade with Pittsburgh and selected defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka. Gettleman has directed eight drafts – five during his tenure as the Carolina Panthers' G.M. and three with the Giants – without ever moving back in the round.
That lack of movement is not due to a philosophical objection.
"(Daniel) Jeremiah had a great line: 'NASCAR will have right turns before DG trades back,'" Gettleman said. "Hell of a line, had a good laugh. I've tried in the past. Honest, I've tried to trade back, but it's got to be value. I'm not getting fleeced. I refuse to do it. If somebody wants to make a bad trade back, God bless them. But we've had opportunities, I've tried. You have to understand the other piece of this is sometimes you have a trade and the guy that the team is trading up for gets picked in front of you. We've had that happen to us. We've got a trade, we've got a trade. So-and-so selects, 'No trade, Dave, good-bye,' and they hang the phone up on me.
"It's almost becoming an urban myth. I've tried, I really have. And it is what it is."
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah updated his ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft for the final time before the start of the draft.
Giants Town Hall: Free Agency Recap, Draft Preview
Giants Season Ticket Members joined GM Dave Gettleman, Asst. GM Kevin Abrams, Blake Martinez, Adoree' Jackson, and Kyle Rudolph to recap free agency and preview the 2021 NFL Draft.