Giants Mock Draft 2021: Balancing depth and long-term potential

Despite their recent shortcomings on the field, the New York Giants have quietly put together the best offseason of Dave Gettleman’s career. Luckily, they find themselves positioned well in the 2021 NFL Draft, as their needs match up with the class’ deepest positions. In this Giants 7-Round 2021 Mock Draft, we’ll try to capitalize on that and return New York to relevancy.

New York Giants Post-Free Agency 7-Round Mock Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 11: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
  • Round 2, Pick 42: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (FL)
  • Round 3, Pick 76: Brady Christensen, OT, BYU
  • Round 4, Pick 116: Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, Iowa
  • Round 6, Pick 196: Kayode Awosika, OT, Buffalo
  • Round 6, Pick 201: Chris Rumph II, EDGE, Duke

Giants 2021 NFL Mock Draft | Pick-by-pick analysis

Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

The first pick of this Giants 7-Round 2021 Mock Draft is probably more surprising now that Adoree’ Jackson was signed in free agency. Still, Jaycee Horn has the talent and moxie to make New York prioritize their secondary in Round 1.

Horn brings a certain attitude with him that mirrors top corners like Jalen Ramsey. Even better, his 9.99 RAS compares similarly to the Rams’ elite defensive back. His physical, relentless style of play helped him dominate SEC wideouts on Saturdays and projects well to Sundays, too.

One of DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle will likely be gone by No. 11, but I’d stress defense should be the focus over targets for the Giants. Pairing a potentially elite defender with Patrick Graham would lift this team to new heights and mitigate the pressure on an inconsistent offense to put up droves of points. 

Pairing Horn with James Bradberry is a nightmare for opposing offenses. Rendering New York’s pass defense elite, Horn’s upside in man coverage is too much to pass up. Of course, he may have to be a little less feisty in the NFL to avoid penalties, but that bump in the road is negligible when considering the rest of his profile.

Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (FL)

I’d like to preface this selection by acknowledging that depending on the board, I wouldn’t mind taking Jaelan Phillips at 11. He’s acknowledged by many as the top pass rusher in this draft class. However, his stock has fallen due to an incredibly unfavorable medical history. Three concussions and injuries to both his ankles and wrist are hard to overlook on Day 1.

Thankfully, it hasn’t stopped him from producing at Miami. If he’s fully healthy, there is not much stopping him from being a productive edge rusher really soon. More than anything else, the New York defense lacked a pass rush last year. Going corner Round 1 means potentially missing out on names like Azeez Ojulari or Kwity Paye, but Phillips’ talent is none the lesser.

Phillips’ 9.87 RAS exemplifies his athleticism well. Playing as a 3-4 outside linebacker, he’ll be able to show off those tools in pursuit of the quarterback. He also has a legitimate arsenal of pass-rush moves and isn’t a push-over against the run. Taking two elite talents, even while taking on some risks, is a great way to take a defense from good to great. 

Brady Christensen, OT, BYU

The first pick addressing the offensive line in this Giants 7-Round 2021 Mock Draft is Brady Christensen. Playing left tackle for BYU, Christensen was able to handle the easy schedule the Cougars had to face, but that hasn’t done much to limit concerns about the level of competition. Still, he’s got tackle/guard versatility and the requisite strength to take on NFL linemen.

Christensen has the demeanor Joe Judge looks for in his players and can compete for the right tackle spot. If Matt Peart wins the job, Christensen’s value is not lost. At worst, he provides ample depth at multiple positions. 

With his 9.84 RAS, Christensen sported elite grades in the speed, agility, and explosion sections, while falling short in the size department, where he still pulled off 30 reps on the bench. Protecting Daniel Jones is a necessity. Drafting Christensen keeps that priority intact, even if the starting five doesn’t stay healthy.

The way the roster is built right now, there aren’t many glaring holes. In Round 3, finding a potential long-term option at right tackle while adding depth in the short-term is about as good of a value as the Giants can ask for.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, Iowa

Again, New York finds great value, immediate depth, and upside for the future. Viewed as a top-100 pick by many, snagging Ihmir Smith-Marsette at No. 116 is a nice surprise for Big Blue. Some will point to character concerns, including an arrest for an OWI in the fall of 2020 and some self-inflicted wounds due to on-field antics.

Anyhow, the talent is there for the Hawkeye product. He plays faster than his 4.50 40-yard dash time would suggest and excels as a deep threat. Despite his deep-ball prowess, Smith-Marsette is also adept at racking up yards on manufactured touches. Potential special-teams skills and an ample dose of versatility only boost his on-field value.

Wide receiver is not a desperate position of need for New York. Newly signed Kenny Golladay will take over X receiver responsibilities. Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard will share responsibilities on the opposite boundary and in the slot. Smith-Marsette will likely not start in his rookie year, but he offers them financial flexibility in the coming offseasons.

Jones will need all the help he can get as he enters Year 3. Putting additional playmakers around him (on top of Evan Engram, the wide receivers, and Saquon Barkley) resembles what the San Francisco 49ers did with Jimmy Garoppolo. A strong defense and a solid supporting cast can go a long way to improve the Giants’ playoff hopes.

Kayode Awosika, OT, Buffalo

The second offensive lineman of this Giants 7-Round 2021 Mock Draft, Kayode Awosika is a small-school tackle with legitimate talent. He is exceptional in the run game and compares fairly well to a literal bulldozer. No one was more vital to Jaret Patterson‘s production at Buffalo than Awosika. New York hopes he could make a similar impact for Barkley.

There is not a particularly quick road to starting for the Buffalo product. Still, Nate Solder won’t be around for much longer, and their depth up front is unspectacular. Awosika would provide ample depth behind Andrew Thomas and allow the Giants to do what they do best.

Needless to say, Awosika still needs refinement as a pass protector. His subpar reps in pass protection combined with lackluster size limit his draft stock. However, 28 reps on the bench and incredible 20-yard split times salvage Awosika’s 5.02 RAS. He moves well for his size and shouldn’t be limited to a particular scheme.

Chris Rumph II, EDGE, Duke

One of my draft crushes from earlier in the cycle, Chris Rumph II is one of my favorite prospects in this class. He projects as a potential hybrid candidate between edge rusher and off-ball linebacker. Graham’s creativity can amplify Rumph’s strengths.

Rumph, stylistically, is similar to Josh Allen, who split time between the two positions. Both are athletic enough to bend well, play the run, and cover athletes out of the backfield. However he is deployed, Rumph should be able to take on a plethora of assignments. At the very least, he can succeed in subpackages on third down.

Consistency has evaded Rumph throughout his collegiate career. He’s put up decent numbers but has disappeared for long stretches. This is due to uninspiring measurables and questionable play strength. He sports a good football IQ and athleticism but can get overpowered. If he turns out to be too small, developing him off the ball can allow New York to draw out additional value.

Providing depth for both edge rushers and linebackers, Rumph is a name that could go earlier than this Giants 7-Round 2021 Mock Draft suggests. Overall, taking a chance on his profile allows New York to address the bottom of the roster without sacrificing potential.

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