- Jan 1, 2003
Despite landing a serious playmaker in wide receiver Kadarius Toney, the Giants focused more on defense, drafting four out of six players there.
ESPN Staff Writer
The 2021 NFL draft is being held Thursday through Saturday and every New York Giants draft pick will be analyzed here.
After last season's virtual draft, Cleveland is playing host to festivities this year with a handful of potential draft picks present and socially distanced because of COVID-19.
Here's a pick-by-pick look at how each player New York has selected will fit.
Round 1, No. 20 overall: Kadarius Toney, WR, FloridaMy take: The Giants maneuvered nicely around the board given what was available to them. They got significant value in their trade with the Chicago Bears and still landed a serious playmaker for quarterback Daniel Jones. That seemed to be a priority. Now they have another crack at it later in this draft and added a coveted first-rounder next year, plus more. That's huge. It didn't matter the Giants already signed Kenny Golladay in NFL free agency or have Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Evan Engram on the roster as viable pass-catchers. I've never heard anyone complain that their team had too many playmakers. And you don't draft specifically for this year; you draft for the next four or five years. Toney is a lethal playmaker (Jaylen Waddle-lite) who can be used all over the field. This offense, after finishing 31st in the NFL last season and being unable to make a big play, shouldn't be lacking this season or into the future.
Slot him in: Toney ran 78% of his routes from the slot in 2020, per ESPN Stats & Information. That makes it an interesting fit, with the belief Shepard would return to the slot more following the departure of Golden Tate. But Toney can also be used in the backfield, outside and on special teams. His comp is former Gators legend Percy Harvin. Toney had 120 career receptions at Florida with 12 receiving touchdowns and 13.3 yards per catch. Harvin had 133 catches, 13 TDs and 14.5 yards per catch. So, very similar production. Another similarity to Harvin: The Giants will need to game plan for Toney in order to get him involved and allow him to do damage with the ball in his hands.
Wild-card category: General manager Dave Gettleman had gone the first 54 picks of his career as a general manager without making a trade down. No. 55 was the one where it finally happened, perhaps with a little assist from coach Joe Judge with his New England Patriots roots. The Giants went from No. 11 to 20 and pocketed first and fourth-round picks next year and a fifth-rounder on Saturday. That's a lot of draft capital in return. Given no discount for future picks and assuming next year's picks are 16th in each round, the Giants added the equivalent of a first-round pick's worth of value in its deal with the Bears, according to ESPN Stats & Info. The picks the Giants received are worth almost double what they gave up! That's good value.
What's next: The Giants still have a massive need at edge rusher and could use additional reinforcements on the interior of the offensive line. They have picks 42 and 76 on Day 2. The value is there in Round 2 for edge rushers with players such as Georgia's Azeez Ojulari among those still available. The Giants will have options in that regard after the way Round 1 turned out.