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Mailbag: Last-minute questions for 2021 NFL Draft


Ettinosa in Florida: What do you think about Kwity Paye? I think he's an excellent story with talent, our defense is in need of a legitimate pass rusher and someone with his story won't fail and will help the Giants tremendously.

John Schmeelk: For the readers not familiar with his story, Paye's mother fled civil war-torn Liberia shortly before Paye was born in a refugee camp. They moved to Rhode Island in 1999, when Paye was still an infant. Paye is an interesting prospect with a ton of upside who didn't have a lot of production (11.5 sacks in four seasons) at Michigan. The lack of production may also have to do with how Michigan used him, not exclusively lining him up outside the opposing offensive tackle. He is an athletic freak with a record setting three-cone drill recorded earlier in the year. His motor always runs hot and checks every box from a football character standpoint. He could be the first edge rusher off the board.

George in Florida: Who are your top three picks/positions, at #11, #42, #76? And the reasons?

John Schmeelk: Here's an opinion, and understand it does not reflect AT ALL what the Giants may be thinking inside their war room. They have far more information on these players than the rest of us.

No. 11: Rashawn Slater, Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle. Let's assume Ja'Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts and Penei Sewell are off the board. And the primary goal for the Giants continues to be putting Daniel Jones in the best possible situation to succeed in 2021. All three of these players are of blue-chip level, with Slater listed first because he can improve an offensive line that lost Kevin Zeitler this off-season. There are analysts who believe he has five-position flexibility along the offensive line. He has great feet, is technically sound, and has a high ceiling. He can slide into a starting position wherever the Giants need him based on the performance of the young players on the roster.

Smith and Waddle would provide additional firepower. They can play outside or in the slot, and both give Daniel Jones a different kind of weapon. Smith is an outside receiver and an elite route runner who can win at all levels of the defense. His 166-pound frame does not impact his play on tape. Waddle will immediately be one of the most explosive players in the NFL when he is drafted. He has speed to win over the top and can catch a short pass and take it to the house.

There are other quality potential picks at 11th overall on the defensive side of the ball. Micah Parsons is a Top-5 talent. Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II are starting cornerbacks from Day 1. The edge rusher class has some high-end prospects. Alijah Vera-Tucker is an elite guard prospect. The Giants are in a great position to pick a very good player.

No. 42: It's impossible to anticipate who is going to be available. You need to find where there is value available on the board. Based on the perceived depth of the draft class, here is one opinion: Edge Rusher - This could be a sweet spot for edge rushers. Does Gregory Rousseau, Jayson Oweh, Joe Tryon or Carlos Basham drop to the 42nd overall pick? Or maybe Payton Turner, Ronnie Perkins or Joseph Ossai are the pick? This is a position group to keep an eye on to bolster the Giants' edge rush.

Offensive Line - If the Giants do not draft an offensive lineman in the first round, there will be a number of players with position flex to move from tackle inside to guard. Liam Eichenberg, Sam Cosmi, Dillon Radunz or Jaylen Mayfield could be options.

Cornerback: The Giants may have their choice of the second tier of cornerbacks: Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell, Ifeatu Melifonwu, or perhaps even Asante Samuel Jr. (if he drops).

No. 76: Offensive line - Once you get into Round 3, the focus might have to shift to players who play more guard that tackle, though someone like Jackson Carman might still be available. More likely is someone like Aaron Banks, Deonte Brown or Trey Smith.

Wide receiver - If the Giants do not draft a wide receiver in the first round, there will still be a good player available in the third round: Nico Collins, D'Wayne Eskridge, Amari Rodgers, Tylan Wallace, and Tutu Atwell could be there.

Some other players at various positions to watch: TE Tommy Tremble, DT Milton Williams, edge defenders Dayo Odeyingbo and Rashad Weaver, OT's Stone Forsythe, D'Ante Smith, and James Hudson, and LB's Jabril Cox and Baron Browning.

Just for fun and in the spirit of looking like a fool, it would be a thrill to see: Round 1 - WR Devonta Smith. Round 2 - OT Sam Cosmi. Round 3 - TE Tommy Tremble.

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