Last year in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman spent a first-round pick on help for the offense (tackle Andrew Thomas) and a second-round pick on help for the defense (safety Xavier McKinney).
While it might be too soon for Gettleman to know how those first two picks are going to fall, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has the Giants following the same pattern in his latest mock draft, published a day after the FBS national championship game between Alabama and Ohio State.
Brugler’s pick for the Giants at No. 11 is an interesting one: WR/TE Kyle Pitts of Florida, of whom he notes:
Yes, Evan Engram was named a Pro Bowler, but he is entering a contract year, and Pitts can play tight end or wide receiver and create mismatches with his size, athleticism, and ball skills.
Pitts, 6-foot-6 and 239 pounds racked up 100 receptions for 1,492 yards and 18 touchdowns at Florida. Primarily listed as a tight end, Pitts mostly lined up inline for the Gators (261 snaps, per PFF) this year but did see some snaps in the slot and split out wide.
Pitts, considered the top tight end in the draft, was most productive this past season in working the middle of the field. There, he caught 25 out of 29 pass targets for 468 yards and five of his touchdowns.
Pitts recorded 770 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns this season with zero dropped passes and only one penalty against him. He averaged 6.0 yards after the catch and finished with a pass target rating of 146.2.
Gettleman acknowledged that getting playmakers on offense for quarterback Daniel Jones would be a high priority this off-season. Landing a playmaker who can work the middle of the field certainly would be huge for Jones, who last year completed 131 of 195 pass attempts (67.1%) for 1,495 yards, six touchdowns, and five interceptions on pass attempts thrown in between the numbers.
Brugler projected early Giants fan favorite receivers DeVonta Smith of Alabama and Ja’Marr Chase of LSU to be off the board by the time the Giants go on the clock.
In the second round, Brugler has edge rusher Carlos Basham Jr of Wake Forest projected to the Giants. Basham, 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, played four seasons for Wake Forest, recording 173 tackles, 36.5 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks (fourth-most in school history), 8 passes defensed and seven forced fumbles in 45 games played.
Basham recorded double-digit sacks in 2018 and 2019 but saw his production in that area fall off last season due to playing in half of the regular schedule.
He recorded an astonishing 23 consecutive games with a tackle for a loss, the longest active streak in the country, making him the only player in the country to have a streak in double digits when the streak ended.
His 11.0 sacks in 2019 were the second-most in the ACC.
The Giants' defense finished tied for 12th in league with 40 sacks, not bad for a unit that didn’t have multiple pass rushers forcing a “pick your poison” scenario for opposing offenses.
Defensive lineman Leonard Williams (11.5 sacks) led the defense by a wide margin; tied for second with four sacks apiece were defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence II and edge Kyler Fackrell.
Williams and Fackrell are currently set to hit free agency.
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