NY Giants Mock Draft: These are the players Big Blue should pick following NFL Combine

NY Giants Mock Draft: These are the players Big Blue should pick following NFL Combine

Art Stapleton

NFL writer

Build from within.

Giants general manager Joe Schoen might as well slap those three words onto t-shirts, or better yet get an artist to incorporate the phrase into a mural on the wall of the team’s weight room. To capitalize on the success of his first season on the job, it is of the utmost importance that the Giants find good players, coach them up and ultimately get them to second contracts on their dime.

“We’re going to have to build through the draft,” Schoen said. “Financially, even if we have to use the franchise tag, we’re going to have to build through the draft and have those young, cost-controlled players over four years. It’s going to be important to have those players that can contribute.”

There will be numerous difficult decisions coming down the pike, all of which will be intertwined within the overall quest to not only maintain the success had by the Giants in Brian Daboll’s first season, but build on it. The biggest piece of that, of course, is the draft, and Schoen has already been very clear about his priorities in terms of building a foundation.

Using Pro Football Network’s mock draft simulator, here’s what I would do with the Giants in our first try this offseason at predicting what will happen:

Round 7, Pick 254: Avery Young, DB, Rutgers

(This is a projected compensatory pick): Young is experienced and versatile, and he would be a steal at this point in the draft. He has played on the boundary and inside for the Scarlet Knights as well as at safety. His press technique has continued to improve through the years, and that would allow the 5-foot-11 DB to fit wherever the Giants want to use him. Young also has the skill set to contribute on special teams from jump.

Round 7, Pick 245: Micah Baskerville, LB, LSU

(This pick was acquired from Baltimore): Baskerville is a developmental prospect who will likely need some time to find a role on defense. He has experience playing inside and outside, which – again – appeals to Martindale’s philosophical approach. His football IQ is high, and there is a foundation as a special teamer that lends to his quest to make an NFL roster as a rookie.

There’s a good chance Ojomo’s stock rises over the next month and he moves up into the early part of Day 3, if not the tail end of Day 2. But for the purposes of this mock, he was on the board and I pounced. Ojomo was stout against the run and flashed from the interior with three sacks on the season. His pressure rate and pass rush win rate on third downs was notable in limited snaps. The Giants are desperate for quality depth on their defensive front.

Round 6, Pick 218: Nic Jones, CB, Ball State

(This is a projected compensatory pick): Jones is a smart and aggressive corner who excels in press looks. He likes to disrupt routes, and there’s still an unrefined part of his game. He endured an up-and-down Combine workout, which could benefit teams like the Giants who leaned on the tape last season for some of their selections. This is a player worth taking a flier on.

Round 6, Pick 209: Andrei Iosivas, WR, Princeton

(This is a conditional pick from Chicago): Iosivas has the combination of height (6-3), weight (205) and speed (4.43 in the 40) that teams invest in. Is this too early to draft a track & field-first athlete? Maybe. But you’re betting on upside and development here. He owns the Ivy league record in the heptathlon and his 6.71 time in the 60-meter dash is an NCAA Indoor Championships meet record. Iosivas caught 66 passes for 943 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Round 5, Pick 162: Keaton Mitchell, RB, East Carolina

Mitchell is a blazer, having notched the third-fasted 40 for a running back at the Combine Sunday. His 4.37 just adds to a resume, and Mitchell can be an explosive complement in a backfield within an offense willing to remove the handcuffs. At 5-8 and 179 pounds, Mitchell will likely start his career out as a change of pace option in the passing game. He also had the production (2,900 scrimmage yards and 24 touchdowns over the last two seasons), and can keep defenses on their heels.

Round 5, Pick 159: Max Duggan, QB, TCU

(Mock trade: Sent No. 102 and No. 218 to Chicago for No. 103 and No. 159): The Giants will explore both the draft and free agency to add to their quarterback room with Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor there and Davis Webb now the quarterbacks coach of the Broncos. Duggan is a developmental sleeper to add to the mix with Daboll, OC Mike Kafka and QB coach Shea Tierney getting the chance to mold a prospect with toughness and intriguing make-up. His 4.52 in the 40 wowed Indy.

Round 4, Pick 128: Jakorian Bennett, CB, Maryland

Bennett opened eyes at the Combine when he blazed a 4.30 40-yard dash. He has continued to emerge despite being overshadowed by Maryland teammate and possible first-round corner Deonte Banks. Banks and Bennett became the first teammates at the same position to post 95+ athleticism scores at the same Combine over the last two decades, according to Next Gen Stats.

Bennett has inside/outside flex and the Giants will likely add to the secondary at some point. It’s a deep group that’ll spread out over Day 1 and Day 2, with some sleepers creeping into Saturday’s Day 3. In this mock, Bennett is a run-the-card-up prospect in this spot.

(This pick was acquired from Chicago in mock trade): Stromberg is coming off a solid combine and his physicality and awareness jump off the tape. His arrow has been pointing up the last two years under the direction of coach Sam Pittman, who was the offensive line coach at Georgia when Andrew Thomas developed into the No. 4 overall pick. I’d pluck Stromberg here as a riser and work him into the lineup at guard and center, seeing how quickly he could come along before taking a starting job. This would be great value if Stromberg emerged as a key piece up front.

Round 3, Pick 89: Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati

Scott is one of the most explosive athletes in 2023’s draft class, and he’s overshadowed by some of the bigger name receivers. He measured 5-foot-11 and 177 pounds, and possesses top-level speed which allows him to separate from his defenders on the majority of his routes. He’s also dangerous in the short-to-intermediate areas of the field, forcing defenses to respect his speed.

Round 2, Pick 57: Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas

Giants outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins joked last year that, if Wink Martindale would draw up the ideal edge player for his defense, Kayvon Thibodeaux would’ve been him. Well, you can likely say the same about Sanders’ evolution at inside linebacker. He played football at Alabama and won a national title before transferring to Arkansas where he flashed pass rush talent in addition to an off-ball skill set that works in today’s NFL. Some analysts have compared Sanders to Bills ILB Tremaine Edmunds, who was drafted in Buffalo when Schoen was assistant GM.

Round 1, Pick 25: Adetomiwa Adebawore, DT, Northwestern

Adetomiwa Adebawore (pronouced add-E-TOMMY-wah add-E-BAR-eh) put on a show of athleticism and explosiveness at the Combine. His versatility makes him a great fit in a scheme such as the positionless one Wink Martindale loves to run. Adebawore participated in defensive end, defensive tackle and linebacker drills, displaying a rare blend of talent, especially for a prospect measured at 6-feet-2 and 282 pounds.

Where would Adebawore fit? Well, that’s the best part of adding this level of prospect to Martindale’s puzzle. He can work in up front with Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, earn chances in pass rush packages and ultimately become a cornerstone with Lawrence down the road when Williams’ production starts to dip as he approaches 30.

The Giants could go wide receiver in this spot and I would not blink. For this mock, though, three of my favorite receivers – Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, TCU’s Quentin Johnson, Boston College’s Zay Flowers – were off the board. I was eyeing Scott on Day 2 and was able to nab him there.

This content was originally published here.

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