2021 NFL Draft Grade: New York Giants
Round 1 Pick 20: WR Kadarius Toney
Round 2 Pick 50: EDGE Azeez Ojulari
Round 3 Pick 71: CB Aaron Robinson
Round 4 Pick 116: LB Elerson Smith
Round 6 Pick 196: RB Gary Brightwell
Round 6 Pick 201: CB Rodarius Williams
We know Washington is expected to be good in 2021, but their biggest competitor out of the NFC East is unclear. Following this draft, it could very well be the New York Giants. Dave Gettleman pulled off masterful trades in each of the first two rounds. Kadarius Toney is an electric slot receiver that will fit beautifully next to Kenny Golladay and Sterling Shepherd. He has excellent hands and accelerates ridiculously fast. The fact that they got a 2022 first-round pick from Chicago makes this a huge win.
The Giants pulled off another successful trade down in the second round that landed them edge rusher Azeez Ojulari. Ojulari was someone widely considered a first round talent going into the draft weekend, so getting him at 50 is great value. He is an uber athletic player with an endless motor. New York will look to him early on to improve their defensive front.
The Giants could’ve gone offensive line in the third round, and that is still an area of concern as Daniel Jones was pressured on 30% of his dropbacks in 2020. While they didn’t go with a lineman, they did address another major need. New York needed another corner to play alongside James Bradbury.
Adoree Jackson was another free agent signing in a wild spending spree, but he has been very inconsistent since a solid 2018 season. Aaron Robinson played most of his snaps as a nickel corner in the slot, but there is potential for him on the outside. He played the majority of his snaps in pressure coverage which is very abnormal for a slot corner.
Elerson Smith was a day three pick that has a ton of potential as an outside linebacker too. The Northern Iowa alum emerged at the Senior Bowl with an impressive showing. His frame at 6’6 and nearly 260-pounds is absolutely massive which helps him move opposing tackles in the pass rush. Going into college he was a slight 190-pounds. In 2020, Smith was a 245-pound beast that racked up 14 sacks for UNI. There is no doubt his dedication to improvement is there. It will be fun to see what he can develop into.
Again, the Giants could have opted to take an offensive lineman at some point in this draft. However, they still have 2019’s fourth-overall pick, Andrew Thomas, at left tackle. He needs time to develop, and he could be set for a big jump in 2021. Either way, both the pass rush and secondary saw improvement with this class, which the Giants will need to compete for a division title. Kadarius Toney is the dynamic sort of playmaker that Daniel Jones needed in the passing game as well.