Prospects for Giants to Avoid in 2021 NFL DraftApril 12, 2021
Prospects for Giants to Avoid in 2021 NFL Draft
The New York Giants are in a promising position heading into this year's NFL draft. While general manager Dave Gettleman is still trying to build a perennial playoff contender, the team showed a lot of promise under head coach Joe Judge last season.
Gettleman and the Giants will also benefit from an early run on quarterbacks. With the San Francisco 49ers trading up to No. 3, it appears that a signal-caller will come off the board with each of the first three picks.
This should help push premier talent down to the Giants and their 11th overall selection. However, New York will still have to make the right choice there and avoid making mistakes throughout the draft.
After all, a draft class can be defined by the prospects a team didn't take as much as those it did. With this in mind, let's examine three prospects who shouldn't be on New York's draft radar.
While these prospects may be right for other teams, they either don't fit with New York or wouldn't adequately fill positions of need.
Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Giants may be tempted to draft a pass-catcher to help in the development of quarterback Daniel Jones. However, New York signed Kenny Golladay in free agency for this purpose and may be better served targeting a more immediate need at 11th overall.
If Gettleman insists on drafting a pass-catcher early, he should shy away from Minnesota's Rashon Bateman, who was ranked ninth overall on Bleacher Report's latest draft board.
While Bateman may have elite upside, he's far from a sure thing.
"His flashes of eye-opening production were counterbalanced by inconsistency against stronger, more talented opponents," NFL Media's Lance Zierlein wrote of Bateman. "Has clever press release but needs to eliminate some wasted motion and play quicker to make up for his average explosiveness off the line."
Gettleman cannot afford to whiff on the 11th pick, and Bateman represents a bit of a gamble. It's a risk New York should avoid given it has more pressing needs at cornerback, edge-rusher and along an offensive line that surrendered 50 sacks last season.
Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
The Giants need to upgrade their edge-rushing presence. Michigan's Kwity Paye is the top edge-defender on Bleacher Report's draft board. However, the Giants should avoid reaching for Paye with the 11th overall pick because of his bust potential.
While a high-upside prospect physically, Paye carries the red flags of rawness and inconsistent tape.
"Paye's traits and potential should not be discounted, as he'll continue to be skilled up in technique and fundamentals," Zierlein wrote. "However, he's a choppy-stepping short-strider who doesn't play with the feel and instincts of an NFL playmaker."
The reality is that, unlike in recent years, there isn't a can't-miss pass-rusher in this class. While gambling on an edge-defender later in the draft would make sense, it doesn't at No. 11.
If the Giants address their defense in Round 1, they should focus on a more complete prospect, perhaps a cornerback like Alabama's Patrick Surtain II or Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley.
While a lack of consistent edge pressure was part of the problem, New York's secondary also contributed to having the 16th-ranked pass defense in 2020.
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
Moving into Round 2, the Giants will hold the 42nd overall pick. This could put them in range of one of the draft's second-tier tight ends, such as Penn State's Pat Freiermuth, the 45th-ranked prospect on Bleacher Report's draft board.
He is an intriguing prospect as a potentially prolific pass-catcher at the next level.
"Freiermuth's value to an NFL franchise won't be rooted in run blocking; it will be in his versatility as a receiver and the mismatches he'll win in coverage," Kyle Crabb of The Draft Network wrote.
While Freiermuth could be an ideal developmental tight end for a different team, he would be a redundant addition for the Giants. New York added pass-catching tight end Kyle Rudolph in free agency. With Evan Engram also on the roster, the Giants already have two pass-catching tight ends available.
The caveat here is that Engram is in the final year of his contract and could depart in the offseason. While drafting a tight end could help prepare for his departure, though, drafting one early on Day 2 would mean ignoring more immediate needs.
For a team that hasn't been to the postseason since 2016, that's the sort of move that should be avoided.