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Cover 3: Possible draft targets beyond first round


In this edition of Cover 3, the crew eyes potential targets beyond the Giants' 11th overall pick.

John Schmeelk: I am intrigued by several players who may go on Day 2 or 3 of the draft.

Let's start with the receivers. Terrace Marshall and Rashod Bateman. They likely don't get to the 42nd overall pick, but they have the ability win inside and outside with a variety of skills to make plays on all levels of the defense. Elijah Moore – perhaps the best second-round slot - knows how to get open and make plays. Dyami Brown's a big-play speedster who averaged more than 20 yards per catch in his last two years at North Carolina. Value receivers who could get to the third day include Shi Smith, Cornell Powell, Cade Johnson, Demetric Felton, Jaelon Darden, D'Wayne Eskridge.

The offensive line has Alex Leatherwood, Teven Jenkins, and Jackson Carman – each can shift between guard and tackle; plug-and-play guard Wyatt Davis and Trey Smith; and tackles Liam Eichenberg, Jalen Mayfied, Sam Cosmi, and Dillon Radunz.

The edge rushers start with Jaelen Phillips, a Top-15 player off the tape, but he has injury and off-field concerns that could push him down. Carlos Basham is a powerful rusher who can move around on the line of scrimmage. Quincy Roche and Joe Tryon are slightly undersized pass rushesr best suited to an odd-man front. And Payton Turner is a bigger edge who can also play inside – had a breakout campaign on the outside as a senior.

If you want cornerbacks, start with Caleb Farley. He had ACL surgery and two back injuries in his collegiate career. Might those injury concerns push down a Top 15 value to the second round? Eric Stokes is a who ran a sub-4.3 in the 40 at his Georgia pro day. Ifeatu Melifonwu is a perfect cornerback from a size perspective (6'2, 205 pounds), he also ran a 4.48 in the 40 yard at the Syracuse pro day.

Dan Salomone: If you can guess what the Giants will do at No. 11 – let alone Nos. 42, 76, 116, 196, or 201 – go play the lottery. But for the sake of conversation, let's look at some prospects who could still be on the board in the second round, where the Giants have a track record of success from Michael Strahan to Osi Umenyiora.

On offense, Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman is a name to watch for any club, not just the Giants. He was named Big Ten Receiver of the Year, All-Big Ten, and the team MVP in 2019. That year, the Golden Gophers won 11 games for the first time since 1904. He is currently the No. 5 wide receiver in the 2021 draft class, according to NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks.

"Bateman is an enticing mix of A.J. Brown and Michael Thomas on the perimeter; he's a physical pass catcher with the capacity to play out wide or in the slot," Brooks wrote of the 6-foot, 190-pound prospect. "He is a true No. 1 receiver, and his underrated game could pop at the next level."

On defense, could the Giants add to their history of drafting defensive tackles in the second round? That group includes Linval Joseph, Johnathan Hankins, and Dalvin Tomlinson. Dave Gettleman was not the Giants' general manager at the time those players were drafted, but he believes in winning the line of scrimmage more than anything. The top five coming out this year, according to Brooks, are Levi Onwuzurike (Washington), Christian Barmore (Alabama), Daviyon Nixon (Iowa), Osa Odighizuwa (UCLA), and Jay Tufele (USC). Onwuzurike (28), Barmore (41), and Nixon (45) are also in Daniel Jeremiah's top 50.

"A paucity of dominant interior defenders could prompt teams to overvalue flashers at the position during the evaluation process," Brooks wrote. "Onwuzurike plays defensive tackle like Mr. Myagi, utilizing his extraordinary hand-to-hand combat skills to whip blockers at the point of attack. He combines his great hands with explosive athleticism and a non-stop motor to win against top competition. Barmore plays the game like a backyard bully, utilizing his size, strength and power to overwhelm blockers at the line of scrimmage. Although his motor runs a little hot and cold, the Alabama standout takes over games when he is motivated and inspired to bring his "A" game.

"Nixon is a war daddy at the line of scrimmage, with active hands and quick feet. He has a feel for shooting gaps, utilizing his strength and power to create space between blockers. Odighizuwa's first-step quickness and overall athleticism could make him a disruptive force in a one-gap defense. He is an upfield interior defender with a knack for slipping through cracks at the line of scrimmage. Tufele is a stout defender at the point with some pass-rush ability. He mixes power with finesse (arm-over) to disrupt plays as a playmaker at the point of attack."

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.

Lance Medow: On the offensive line, Alabama's Alex Leatherwood and Landon Dickerson, Jackson Carman of Clemson and Ohio State's Wyatt Davis are options in the second round. Leatherwood is a massive presence (6-6, 312) and has experience at both guard and tackle. Dickerson is considered to be one of the best centers in this year's class, but is coming off a torn ACL he suffered in the SEC Championship (although based on his display of cartwheels at Alabama's second pro day, he seems to be recovering quite well). Carman has a wealth of starting experience at left tackle over the last three seasons and the same can be said for Davis as an interior offensive lineman. Davis also comes from some strong football genes as his grandfather is Packers Hall of Fame defensive end Willie Davis.

At wide receiver, Michigan's Nico Collins is a player to watch. He opted out of the 2020 campaign but showed some flashes during the previous two seasons and is a big target at 6-4, who averaged nearly 20 yards per catch in 2019. On the opposite end of the measuring stick is Purdue's Rondale Moore, who is a super athlete as demonstrated by him winning the Paul Hornung Award (given to the most versatile player in the nation) following the 2018 season. Moore can be used in a variety of ways as a running back and receiver.

On defense, Wake Forest edge rusher Carlos Basham Jr. collected 20.5 sacks over the last three seasons and often visited opponents' backfields. He could be a potential target in Round 2. A sleeper defensive player would be Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Milton Williams, who put on quite the showing at the EXOS combine and was a disruptive force over the last two seasons. analyst Bucky Brooks revealed his updated position rankings for the 2021 NFL Draft.


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