Giants Rookies Who Will Make Instant Impact in 2021 Season

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2021

Giants Rookies Who Will Make Instant Impact in 2021 Season

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    The New York Giants were one of the more unpredictable teams over draft weekend. After avoiding trading down in past years, general manager Dave Gettleman did so in the first and second rounds this year.

    The result is a bevy of additional picks in 2022.

    "To be honest with you, it makes it fun knowing that we have all these opportunities to take players next year," director of college scouting Chris Pettit said, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

    Fans, though, will be far less concerned with those extra picks—at least until next offseason—than they are with this year's selections. They will be hoping for the incoming rookie class to make an immediate impact on New York's 6-10 roster.

    Here we'll examine three players who should do exactly that.

WR Kadarius Toney

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    Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

    The Giants traded down and took former Florida wideout Kadarius Toney with the 20th pick in the first round. While Toney may largely be a gadget player early in his career—and might have been a bit of a reach—he possesses game-changing speed and explosiveness.

    Toney can hit the home run from any spot on the field, which should help make life easier for quarterback Daniel Jones. In Toney and running back Saquon Barkley, Jones now has two weapons who can turn screens and swing passes into huge gains.

    "You watch [Toney] play, he's a human highlight reel," Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer said, per ESPN's Michael DiRocco.

    Over time, Toney should develop into a more polished receiver and a dangerous pass-catcher in the mold of Odell Beckham Jr. While he's far from a finished product, though, opposing defenses are going to feel his presence from day one.

Edge Azeez Ojulari

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    In the second round, the Giants scooped up Georgia edge-rusher Azeez Ojulari, a player who easily could have been drafted in the back half of Round 1. A disruptive playmaker for the Bulldogs—he had 8.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 10 games last season—Ojulari should slot right in as a rotational edge-defender.

    His selection fills a major need for the Giants. While defensive lineman Leonard Williams emerged as a pass-rushing force in 2020, the rest of New York's pass rush was underwhelming.

    Williams produced 11.5 sacks last season. No other Giants defender had more than four.

    Ojulari was the fourth-best edge-rushing prospect on Bleacher Report's final big board. In a draft class devoid of a can't-miss pass-rushing prospect, though, Ojulari has as good a chance as anyone to vie for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

    Expect defensive coordinator Patrick Graham to unleash Ojulari early and often.

CB Aaron Robinson

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Three early picks. Three early contributors. That's what the New York Giants are looking at with their stellar 2021 draft class.

    In Round 3, New York scooped up UCF cornerback Aaron Robinson, a prospect with the potential to start in his rookie season.

    "The former 4-star prospect possesses quality athletic ability with good transition quickness and foot agility," NFL Media's Lance Zierlein wrote of Robinson. "He has press potential with the ability to open and connect with routes."

    Grabbing Robinson was a smart move by Gettleman, as he has the skill set to play on the outside or in the nickel. Even if he isn't a starter by Week 1, Robinson should get on to the field early as a rotational player in sub-packages.

    His addition should make New York's 16th-ranked pass defense even better this season.


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