This week I'm not using the draft simulators because, with all due respect to the creators of those handy tools, they still run on someone else's big board and someone else's perceived needs for the teams.
No, in this week's three-round Giants-only mock draft, I'm going to try my best to use logic in anticipating which draft prospects might be available to the Giants in each round and who I think they'd choose and why.
So before I go into my latest three-round Giants draft, be sure to check out the video at the top, as I discuss with host Kim Becker how I think the Giants free agency haul sets up their draft.
Ready? Let's do this.
If tight end Kyle Pitts is there at No. 11, I don't think there's any doubt that he is the pick. The Florida tight end not only represents outstanding value at that spot, but he fills a need (yes, the Giants have a need at tight end since most of their tight ends aren't under contract beyond this year, and that's an important position in this offense.)
With that said, I would be shocked if Pitts is there. But I think it's possible that Northwestern's Rashawn Slater or Oregon's Penei Sewell could be there at No 11, depending on what the Bengals do. If either one is there, I could see the Giants going offensive line at No. 11.
"But wait!" you are probably saying. "Didn't Dave Gettleman say he had confidence in the young guys on the roster and that "at some point, you have to let the kids play?"
Yes, he did. But before going any further, I present to you a tweet by Ross Tucker which, although it was related to the Bengals, is applicable for the Giants and any team.
Simply put, the Giants may have added speedy playmakers on offense, but really, what good are they if the offensive line isn't completely solid? Right now, the Giants appear to have questions at right guard, where it looks as though one of Will Hernandez or Shane Lemieux (both career left guards) might end up playing.
While we know that Hernandez has been training for both left and right guard (this via his Instagram account in which he's been training under offensive line guru Duke Manyweather), it can still take time to get comfortable on the right side.
So the question the Giants need to ask themselves is whether they're willing to go through the growing pains that come with such a switch at the expense of quarterback Daniel Jones? (Hint: Probably not.)
Then there is another factor: contracts. Hernandez, offensive tackle Nate Solder, guard Zach Fulton, and interior offensive lineman Jonotthan Harrison are all signing through 2021.
It's probably safe to say that not all will be on the team beyond this year, so there is a matter of replenishing some of that depth now to get them ready for a more significant role down the line.
This is a mistake the Giants made in the last decade. Instead of devoting premium assets to the offensive line, they tried to bleed the last drop out of the unit they had from 2007-11, and it ended up putting them in offensive line hell for several years after that group retired.
So yes, let the kids play and get the experience. But if you can add another young solid piece to that line who is a fit for what they do on offense and who is already made at the right side, why wouldn't you give some serious thought to that.
And the pick is ... OL Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
If Sewell is there and Pitts is not, then Sewell has to be the pick, no questions asked. But just as I'm relatively sure Pitts won't be there at No. 11, I don't think Sewell will be there either.
Slater, on the other hand, has a better chance of being there at No. 11. He's a guy that you can put at guard or tackle, which to my thinking, is an outstanding value at that spot. He also fills a need (offensive lien depth with a good chance of being a Day 1 starter) and solidifies that Giants offensive line even further.
The last time the Giants devoted a draft pick higher than the third round on an edge rusher was in 2010 when they selected Jason Pierre-Paul out of South Florida. The last time they devoted a draft pick second-rounder on a linebacker was the year before that (2009) when they selected Clint Sintim out of Virginia.
That's a long stretch in between devoting a top 50 draft pick to a pass rusher.
And while there are undoubtedly several first-round talents at edge rusher in this class--Penn State's Micah Parsons, Georgia's Azeez Ojulari, Michigan's Kwity Paye, and Miami's Gregory Rousseau all come to mind--I disagree with those who think they would represent a solid value if drafted at No. 11.
I also would be surprised if Parsons and Ojulari, the two I like best for the Giants, fall into the second round as I suspect both will be late first-round picks.
But I also think several guys are still on the board whose value and fit are better, such as Pittsburgh's Rashad Weaver and Washington's Joe Tryon.
And the pick is ... Edge Joe Tryon, Washington.
If you've been reading my mock drafts, you know that every time I get to Round 2, I select Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth. I like Freiermuth, and I believe that tight end is a need for the Giants; however, in being practical, I think an outside edge rusher is a greater need.
I have pointed out in the past that each of the Giants' Super Bowl championship teams has had a solid rotation of pass-rushing options able to hold their own against the run. The closest they have in their current group is Lorenzo Carter, who is coming off a torn Achilles injury and is entering his rookie deal's final year.
The bottom line is that the Giants need to replenish the home-grown pass rushers that dried up after Pierre-Paul was traded away. Third-round picks are a great value--defensive end Justin Tuck was a third-rounder after his stock slipped due to injury concerns.
With that said, if the expectation is for the first- and second-round picks, in particular, to make an immediate impact, sign me up for an edge rusher in this spot.
The Giants lost defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson to free agency, but for the time being, they're going to plug that hole with a group of guys--Danny Shelton, B.J. Hill, and Austin Johnsons--who are all signed through 2021.
Depending on who you talk to, the defensive tackle class' talent drops off after the middle of the third round. So if the Giants are looking to reinforce the interior of their defensive line (which one might think they should), this would be a good spot to consider doing so if there is value to be had.
And the pick is....DT Jay Tufele, USC
Tufele, 6'3", 305 pounds, has been projected to go anywhere between the second and fourth rounds of this draft. While I considered going with a receiver here, the ones I was eyeing should be on the board in the fourth round.
But back to Tufele, who opted out of 2020. We're talking a disruptive presence with this player who recorded 4.5 sacks and 42 tackles for the Trojans in the 2019 season. In two seasons, the redshirt defender has 64 total tackles, ten tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, one interception, one pass breakup, plus a blocked field goal.
He's still raw, given his lack of experience. Still, there's a lot of upside about him as a potential defensive interior lineman, particularly his ability to be disruptive up front. With added reps and coaching, he could turn into one of this year's draft steals.