Breaking Down the Giants 2021 Draft Class

The NFL draft is an event unlike any other, the three-day extravaganza draws more media coverage than pretty much any other offseason event in all of sports. It is the one event in which 159 people go from college kids to having their dream realized. This time around the Giants would select 11th overall. This is a seven-spot drop from last year where the team selected tackle Andrew Thomas out of Georgia.

The Trade

While the Giants came into night one with the 11th selection, it did not stay that way. The way the draft board was shaking out it looked as if Alabama wideout Devonta Smith was going to fall to big blue. However, the Cowboys and Eagles swung a trade landing Phillidelpia the 10th pick. They would use the selection of the aforementioned Smith.

With their number one target off of the board, general manager Dave Gettelman went to the phones to try and secure a partner to trade down with. The quarterback-hungry Chicago Bears were the ones willing to play ball. Chicago gave up their 20th overall selection as well as their 164th selection and a first and fourth-round pick in 2022. The Bears would use the pick to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. This wouldn’t be the only maneuvering around the board the Giants would do but it is the most significant.

20th Overall Pick- Kadarius Toney WR, Florida

Toney, a wide receiver out of Florida measures at about 6″ and 194 pounds, Toney by definition is a playmaker. He has lined up everywhere for the Gators. He’s played out wide, in the slot, and he has even taken snaps as a tailback.

Strengths- Speed, Hands

Toney lives by the saying “Speed Kills” however, he isn’t just fast, he is also quick and elusive. Throughout his college career, Toney was known as a player who stretched out a defense with game-breaking speed. While his 40 time was 4.39, he plays much faster. While he does have elite straight away speed, his quickness in change of direction was near the best in the country. The Gators took advantage of this by using Toney on multiple jet sweep plays throughout the season.

In regards to Toney’s hands, in his three years with the Gators, he only dropped three passes. While it is rare there are some receivers with the combination of great speed and hands. Toney possesses this combination.

Weaknesses- Route Running

While this is a criticism of a lot of receivers coming out of college, Toney does not run the cleanest of routes. This may be due to how simple most college playbooks are but it seems there seems to be a belief around the league that he is not a crisp route runner. This is something that can be coached but his route tree was fairly limited in his college career.

50th Overall Pick- Azeez Ojulari EDGE, Georgia

Ojulari was one of many players that draft analysts had pegged as a first-round talent that fell out of the first round. The Giants were able to trade back with the Dolphins and pick up a third-round pick for their troubles. Ojulari was my number one edge rusher on my big bord due to a couple of things I think he does better than Miami’s Jaelan Phillips.

Strengths- Get Off

Ojulari has without question has the best first step out of any edge rusher in the class. He is so quick off the snap that he beats tackles out of their stance at times. This combined with his above-average edge bend could end up being an elite combination at the NFL level.

Weaknesses- Power Moves

While this is not the worst thing from a player with the speed of Ojulari the lack of versatility can become problematic once the league figures out what he struggles with. It seems as though he is capable of being a bit more of a power rusher with proper coaching. There was a reason he was pegged as a first-round talent.

71st Overall Pick- Aaron Robinson CB, UCF

After moving up the board with the Denver Broncos the Giants selected Aaron Robinson out of UCF. While some experts looked at this as a bit of a reach I think it is a fair spot to pick him considering how well he fits the scheme.

Strengths- Press man coverage

Robinson is an extremely physical corner with an extremely rough jam off the line. It makes it extremely tough to get a clean start to your route as an opposing receiver. He is a tall lengthy corner that brings physicality. He is also willing to tackle which is somewhat a lost art among corners.

Weakness-  Downfield play

Like many young corners, Robinson struggles in one on one situations down the field. Without a good jam off the line, he tends to get beat because of how he struggles down the field. It also has to do with positioning issues when the ball is in the air. However, again this is a coachable issue.

116th Overall- Elerson Smith EDGE

Smith is almost the polar opposite of Ojulari he is mostly a power rusher with a lack of legitimate pass rush moves.

Strengths- Motor

This kid plays hard and with a chip on his shoulder. He plays as if nothing is guaranteed which is something to like about a prospect. He’s big strong and has length coming off the edge. He will run through a tackle who is late out of their stance which brings versatility to a room full of speed rushers.

Weaknesses- Run defense

Like a lot of pass rushers with a  high motor, he tends to struggle in the run game. His aggressiveness tends to pull him out of position. He wants to get downhill so quickly that he is out of his gap and it creates a hole in the defense.

196th Overall- Gary Brightwell RB, Arizona

Brightwell plays deceptively big. He is about average size for a running back but on tape he seems bigger. With the departure of Wayne Gallman, the Giants were looking for depth at the position, and he should provide that at the least.

Strengths- Pad level

Brightwell is excellent at lowering his pads and creating power and leverage in the open field. While he isn’t your prototypical power runner he can get behind his pads and lower a hard hit on you. He’s great at getting through traffic at the line but after that is when things get interesting.

Weaknesses- Open Field elusiveness

One drawback to the power that he possesses is the lack of elusiveness. This is especially noticeable on tape in one on one situations. Defenders just aren’t nervous about Brightwell running around them and for good reason. He has not done so at a high rate at any level.

201st Rodarius Williams CB, Oklahoma State

With their second corner selected in this draft, you’ll notice a common theme, press-man coverage is a big deal to Joe Judge and the Giants. Williams is just like Robinson as he is extremely physical at the line.

Strengths- Physicality

When Williams gets a solid jam off of the line he is one of the top cover corners in the class. He’s physical with receivers down the field and it makes it difficult for receivers to create seperation.

Weaknesses- Recovery speed

Here is the issue with Williams, he is very inconsistent with getting his jams, and when he doesn’t get them he doesn’t have the speed to keep up with the opposing receiver. It’s for this reason that he fell as far as he did.  He can definitely be coached with his jams and getting them more consistently but you can’t teach speed and that is Williams’s main issue.

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