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2021 Mock Draft: Playmaker and Defensive Help Fall to New York Giants

In this three-round mock draft by Patricia Traina of Giants Country both the offense and defense get some much needed attention.

Just because the New York Giants defense finished with a roar while the offense barely made a whimper doesn't mean that the upcoming draft should be all about the offense.

In this three-round mock draft by yours truly, it doesn't have to. I used the Draft Network’s Mock Draft simulator to see how the board might fall, and I went for value wherever possible while trying to marry a need to the pick.

As part of my simulation, there were no trades, and I tended to lean more heavily on the scouting profiles (where available) as prepared by our own Nick Falato. The result is my latest three-round mock draft, which you can see in its entirety right here.

As for my Giants selections, well, here they are. (Mock away!)

Round 1, No. 11: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida

The top three receivers were off the board, and Pitts not only happened to be there, but he was the next best available when I went on the clock. 

Seeing that the Giants need playmakers on offense—and seeing that I am not 100% convinced Evan Engram has a long-term future with this team if he continues to be inconsistent—Pitts was too good to pass up. 

The Giants offense has been all about creating favorable matchups. In Pitts, they'd get a player that gives them another chess piece that can be a potential mismatch against linebackers and defensive backs.

Round 2, No. 43: IDL Jay Tufele, USC

As much as I’d like to see the Giants find a way to keep both Dalvin Tomlinson and Leonard Williams, I don’t think they’re going to be able to pull it off. 

And I remain convinced that if they have to choose between them, they'll make more of a push to keep Williams, who right now is their only viable pass rusher and a guy who can also play against the run, making him an every-down player.

While I'd hate to see Tomlinson walk, run defenders are usually a little easier to replace. In USC’s Tufele, they would be getting a guy with similar size–at 315 pounds, he’s only five pounds lighter than Tomlinson’s 320 pounds—who has the versatility to play anywhere along the defensive line.

Tufele opted out of the 2020 season, but not before recording 54 career tackles (10 tackles for a loss) in 24 games played. He also recorded 6.5 sacks and an interception and has a fumble recovery for a touchdown and a blocked field goal in his career.  

We know Dave Gettleman loves his hog mollies, especially along the defensive line where the deeper the rotation, the better. Tufele's versatility and college production make him worth a look on Day 2.

Round 3: Carlos Basham Jr, Wake Forest

Edge rusher is one of those positions that the Giants haven’t had much luck with filling ever since they decided to trade Jason Pierre-Paul to Tampa Bay.

Since then, attempts to replant the seeds for homegrown pass rushers haven't produced the mighty oaks of years past. 

The Giants did try with Day 2 picks like Lorenzo Carter (R3-2018) and Oshane Ximines (R3-2019), but so far, both have only flashed their respective developments stunted this past year due to season-ending injuries (Carter an Achilles, Ximines a shoulder).

While both will get another chance at continuing their respective development, Carter is entering the final year of his rookie deal while Ximines is entering that all-important Year 3. 

The Giants cannot assume that one or both will finally blossom into a Day 2 steal, so it would behoove the team to go back to the draft for another player that could be developed into a situational role right out of the gate.

Basham has been lauded by several draft analysts for his power, an array of pass rush moves, and football IQ, but most feel he’s not at a point where he's a premier pass rusher in the making.

Instead, his value right now is that of a solid situational pass rusher who will give you everything he has on every rush when his number is called.

And that could be good enough for the Giants until their next JPP comes along, considering how defensive coordinator Patrick Graham was able to generate a pass rush through his schemes. 

That feat was even more impressive given the revolving door at outside linebacker (due to injuries) and not having a lockdown cornerback to play opposite of James Bradberry.  

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