ESPN ranks Giants' first-round trade as best deal of draft
The Giants walked away from the 2021 NFL Draft with six talented players, along with an extra pick in three of the first four rounds of next year's draft, thanks to trades made in Rounds 1 and 2. These deals represented the first two times Dave Gettleman has traded down in the draft since he first became a general manager in 2013.
ESPN's Seth Walder ranked the top five in-draft trades from this year's festivities, and both of the Giants' trade downs made the list.
Coming in at the very top of the rankings was the Giants' first-round deal with the Chicago Bears that saw Big Blue drop nine slots from No. 11 to No. 20.
As Walder writes, "New York walks away with a ton of extra value. The expected production out of a player selected with the No. 11 pick is about 20% more than for a player at No. 20 in an average draft. In exchange for that 20%, the Giants landed an entire extra first-round pick and then some.
"If we assume the Bears' pick is in the middle of the first round next year and we don't discount any value for that extra first being in a future year (which, to be fair, there probably should be some discount), then Gettleman roughly doubled the value of his No. 11 pick with this trade. That's just good business."
As we know, the Giants would go on to select Florida WR Kadarius Toney with the No. 20 overall pick. The fifth-rounder acquired from Chicago was later used to move up in the third round to select UCF CB Aaron Robinson. The Giants still own Chicago's first- and fourth-round picks next year.
In the second round, the Giants dropped from No. 42 to No. 50 in a deal with the Miami Dolphins that saw Big Blue pick up an additional third-round pick in the 2022 draft. This trade landed at No. 5 on the list as Walder notes, "Trader Dave strikes again!
"Fresh off his Day 1 success in the trade market, Gettleman decided to take another stab -- to great success. I don't think you need approximate value or a trade chart to see why this is a winner: What's larger, the difference in value between picks No. 42 and 50 or an entire third-round pick next year?
"It's an obvious gain for the Giants, particularly considering they were able to land a falling player at a position of need in edge rusher Azeez Ojulari at No. 50."
View photos of the New York Giants 2021 NFL Draft Class.
Kadarius Toney can be 'chess piece' for Daniel Jones
David Morris has trained Eli Manning and Daniel Jones. In an alternate universe, he may have worked with a third Giants quarterback – Kadarius Toney.
"He's told me Kadarius can throw it over 70 [yards] from his feet," Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy said on the Giants Huddle podcast about the founder of the Alabama-based QB Country. "I don't know about from the knee, but he said, he's like, 'Jim, I've really thought that if someone had given Kadarius a chance to play quarterback, he could have ended up being Lamar Jackson."
In the not too distant past, the wide receiver, recently selected by the Giants in the first round, finished his senior season at Blount High School with 2,894 yards and 32 touchdowns through the air in addition to 894 yards and 15 scores on the ground. Toney grew up in the shadow of the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., where Nagy has heard all the tall tales. They followed him to college in Gainesville, Fla.
"He was the most dynamic player on the field then," said Nagy, who was a scout for the Seattle Seahawks at the time when Toney was a true freshman at the University of Florida. "And this was a receiver group that had Van Jefferson and Tyrie Cleveland and Freddie Swain – all these guys that are playing in the NFL, so it's not like it was a group devoid of talent. I've been scouting Kadarius a long time."
Their paths crossed again at the annual all-star game for the nation's top outgoing seniors. A total of 106 picks, or 41 percent of the 2021 draft class, participated in the Senior Bowl. That rate was even greater for the Giants as four players – Toney, linebacker Elerson Smith (fourth round), and cornerbacks Aaron Robinson (third) and Rodarius Williams (sixth) – in their six-man draft class accepted invites to Mobile in January.
Toney "really put on a show" and was voted by the defensive backs as the top wide receiver on the American Team during the week of practices.
"He's a phenomenal athlete," Nagy said. "I thought he was the best change-of-direction athlete in the draft. I thought he was the second-most dynamic player in the draft behind Jaylen Waddle at Alabama, and that's pretty high praise because Jaylen's elite. Jaylen is going to be a great pro. It was a great pick for the Giants. I know that [Giants general manager] Dave Gettleman doesn't typically trade back, so when he traded back and then to get Kadarius, I thought that was great to stockpile picks for next year. … I really felt that Dave nailed the draft this year. I thought he did as good a job as anybody in the league at maneuvering around and adding pieces."
Inside the Film Room: LB Azeez Ojulari can bend the edge
Check out the video below to watch two-time Super Bowl champion David Diehl and Giants.com's John Scmeelk break down the film of second-round pick Azeez Ojulari.