The 2021 NFL Draft is officially over, and it is now time to grade, analyze, and criticize the New York Giants’ draft picks. Surprisingly, this year the franchise found a way to not piss off their entire fan base by the end of the 7th round. The front office didn’t act overly aggressive this time around, and instead took a passive approach to the draft. Dave Gettleman traded down for the first time ever, which according to many sources wasn’t the original plan for their first and second-round picks. Gettleman thought it was in the organization’s best interest if they were to trade back and load up on 2022 draft picks.
Could this be him trying to save his job for one more season? Probably.
Regardless, The Giants let the board fall to them and prioritized value over everything else.
Here are my takeaways from every New York Giants draft pick made in the 2021 NFL Draft. The good, the bad, and the ugly will be discussed.
Grading The New York Giants Draft Picks
Round 1, No. 20 Overall: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
There was some NFC East drama regarding the Giants’ 11th overall pick on draft night. According to multiple sources, the Giants were set on taking either Devonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle.
Since this information was so publicly known, the Eagles traded their pick to the Dallas Cowboys, plus a third-round pick, in order to jump one spot ahead of the Giants. With the 10th overall pick, the Eagles took the last remaining Alabama wide receiver and put the Giants in a tricky situation.
They could either address the offensive line and take Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater or select linebacker, Micah Parsons, out of Penn State. Mind you, either of these selections would have been fantastic picks because they provided value but were also positions of need.
Turns out that the Chicago Bears called Big Blue while they were on the clock and were willing to give an arm and a leg for the 11th overall pick.
New York took advantage of Chicago’s desperate need at quarterback and was able to obtain a serious amount of draft capital for simply moving back 9 spots in the first round.
Full Trade Details
- 2021 first-round pick (No. 20 WR Kadarius Toney)
- 2021 fifth-round pick (No. 164 traded to Broncos)
- 2022 first-round pick
- 2022 fourth-round pick
- 2021 first-round pick (No. 11 QB Justin Fields )
This trade is by far and away the best move Dave Gettleman has made as general manager of the New York Giants. In fact, it was such a good trade that it may have saved his job for another year.
The Kadarius Toney pick was scrutinized at first but is now being more and more accepted by the fan base. Toney can run routes outside, in the slot, out of the backfield, and be used on special teams. Although Giants fans would have liked an offensive lineman or edge rusher at this spot, Toney was the safest offensive weapon to be taken in the mid-first round.
Round 2, No. 50 Overall: Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia
The Giants traded down once again, this time moving back from No. 42 to No. 50 and gained a future third-round pick. Big Blue was able to secure a first-round talent of a pass rusher in the mid-second round. If you are a Giants fan, then seeing Azeez Ojulari slowly fall into New York’s lap may have felt like an early Christmas present. If he can stay healthy then Joe Judge may have just got the steal of the draft and added another lethal weapon to his already stout defense.
Round 3, No. 71 Overall: Aaron Robinson, CB, Central Florida
New York could use more depth at the cornerback position and Aaron Robinson could do just that. He will immediately go into training camp fighting with Darnay Holmes for the starting slot corner spot on the depth chart. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Patrick Graham use Robinson in nickel and unique corner blitz packages.
Round 4, No. 116 Overall: Elerson Smith, OLB, Northern Iowa
With a deep offensive line class this year, one would think that the New York Giants would do something to address the weakest part of their team right? Wrong. Instead, they took Elerson Smith, an outside linebacker out of Northern Iowa. This pick isn’t necessarily a knock on Smith, as he has everything you would want out of a backup outside linebacker, but more about how the Giants didn’t pick an offensive lineman, especially a tackle.
Round 6, No. 196 overall: Gary Brightwell, RB, Arizona
The New York Giants lost Wayne Gallman Jr. in free agency, so replacing him with somebody with a lot of upside was a smart move by Joe Judge and Dave Gettleman. Brightwell will provide some sort of production out of the backfield, but he is mostly being used as insurance for Saquon Barkley.
Saquon has had some trouble staying healthy in years past due to a variety of reasons. When Barkley went down last year, Gallman Jr. stepped in immediately as the lead back. Don’t expect Brightwell to immediately be able to handle that type of workload but expect him to come in when Barkley needs a break.
This personally isn’t my favorite pick, but I understand why they chose to go this route in round six.
Round 6, No. 201 overall: Rodarius Williams, CB, Oklahoma State
Rodarius Williams is a quality tackler that has the build of a boundary corner. It’s very unlikely that he sees any substantial playing time during his rookie season, but could develop into a quality backup corner for the G Men.
Takeaways From The New York Giants Draft Picks
Let’s start off on a positive note. The New York Giants were able to add another lethal weapon to their offense and scammed the Bears of their 2022 first-round pick, which should easily be in the top 20. The Giants traded back AGAIN and still were able to draft a first-round talent edge rusher, Azeez Ojulari, who shows a lot of similarities to a young Jason Pierre-Paul.
However, the ugly and most concerning part of this draft was the fact that New York didn’t even consider addressing the weakest part of their team. The offensive line was the only thing holding the Giants back from having the slightest bit of success on offense last year. At this point in time, it seems as if Daniel Jones is going to be fighting for his life again next season. Joe Judge has all the offensive weapons in the WORLD, but if Jones doesn’t have time in the pocket to throw to them, then what is the point in having them?
Overall Draft Grade: B
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