With the 2021 NFL Draft complete, here are my grades for each of the picks made by the Giants
Round 1, 20th overall
Kadarius Toney | WR | Florida
Many fans have complained about this pick. While it was unexpected, it wasn’t a bad pick by any means whatsoever. It seems the Giants were always interested in a speedy WR, and after Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith were both selected, the Giants traded back with the Bears and received a 1st-round pick. Toney is an electric player that can be used all over the field. He can line up in the slot, on the outside, and even in the backfield. The “Human Joystick,” as he’s called, is a living highlight reel, and when you factor the draft capital acquired into the pick, it’s an amazing selection.
Round 2, 50th overall
Azeez Ojulari | EDGE | Georgia
The Giants got an absolute steal with this pick. They got a first-round talent (many had him mocked to the Giants at #11) at 50th overall AND acquired a 3rd-round pick after trading back with Miami. Regarded as the best edge-rusher in this draft, Ojulari fills a need that the Giants were in dire need of. The reason he fell so far in the draft is likely due to injury concerns (he tore his ACL in high school), however he has been deemed fully healthy by doctors, and never missed a game in his 2 active seasons at UGA. He was also roommates with Giants’ tackle Andrew Thomas, which is pretty cool.
Round 3, 71st overall
Aaron Robinson | CB | UCF
This pick was definitely not my favorite at first, especially with the fact that the Giants traded up for him when there were still solid offensive lineman available. However, it is obvious that Joe Judge and company have a lot of trust in the current state of the offensive line, since they didn’t select an OL at all in the entire draft. Nonetheless, the pick was still surprising, considering Robinson excels at a position already filled by Darnay Holmes: slot corner. It’ll be interesting to see that battle play out in training camp. One thing is for certain though: this pick solidifies the Giants secondary as one of the best, if not THE BEST in the league.
Round 4, 116th overall
Elerson Smith | EDGE | Northern Iowa
The Giants took their 2nd pass-rusher of the draft in Elerson Smith. His massive 6’7 frame allowed him to dominate in college. Smith has remarkable length with great speed off the edge. The biggest question is whether or not he can translate this to the NFL. He dominated the FCS, putting up 14 sacks in 2019 (sat out in 2020), but it’s hard to estimate how these small-school players will pan out in the NFL.
Round 6, 196th overall
Gary Brightwell | RB | Arizona
Brightwell was another surprising pick. This was another spot where it seemed the Giants would go OL, and instead they opted for an RB. This pick isn’t too discouraging, though. Brightwell is a physical, north-south runner, and Mel Kiper refers to him as a “pure power runner.” His vision and hard-nosed running style will be useful on short-yardage situations and he is also expected to have a consistent role on special teams. To me, what really caused the Giants to select this man was his attitude and effort, two things that Joe Judge constantly preaches.
Round 6, 206th overall
Rodarius Williams | CB | Oklahoma State
The Giants added to their secondary again, this time with 6’1 press-corner Rodarius Williams. Williams excels in man coverage and is great at preventing the big play. He comes into a good CB room to develop in, adds great depth to an already stacked secondary, and should also play a role on special teams. The biggest “concern” with this guy is that he is soon going to be 25 years old, which is older than Saquon Barkley, who is entering his 4th season.
Overall, Dave Gettleman and the Giants did a great job in this draft. They added players of need at great value and did not reach for players that they didn’t feel were valuable at the spot they were in. On top of that, they added 1st, 3rd, and 4th rounds picks in 2022, a year where the value of picks is like gold. The Giants could end up with a top-10 pick from the Bears, who have the 3rd-hardest strength of schedule next year.
Overall Grade: A-