Giants Recap Day 1 & Day 2 of 2021 NFL Draft

We need to set the table. 10 days ago we delivered Wonder’s abbreviated 2021 Draft Preview, which included the following recommendation:

“He really prefers the Giants to trade down. Assuming Sewell is not there at 1.11, he’d like to see the Giants trade down to ~1.20 with the Bears and see who is available” 

Wonder 4/21/2021

I am not sure how you could have nailed it any better. Wonder was reliant on a cooperating and motivated Bears team to trade up for the QB. But before that could happen, a few other things needed to happen first.

You see, the Giants have a leaker within their organization. Outsiders may think that is paranoid, but the evidence is strong that others have reliable information about who the Giants are taking BEFORE the pick is made. Look no further than the coverage of Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

Multiple sources have told SNY the Giants are determined to add another weapon to their Offense.

Ralph Vacchiano

Be it Waddle, Chase, or Smith, Vacchiano had the Giants taking a Wide Receiver.

You must remember that Vacchiano’s history with being right is far better than average.

1. He knew the Giants had interest in Conklin and Floyd in 2016.

2. He knew the Giants were taking Daniel Jones, “as high as 1.06 overall.”

3. And he absolutely nailed the Giants’ interest in a Wide Receiver on Day 1 of the Draft. When the Giants couldn’t get one of the 3 WRs, they pivoted and traded down. More on that in a second. But first, let’s continue with the leaker…

And beat the Giants to a Wide Receiver they did. Giants Nation was snakebit. Unless you were an Ultimate NY Giants fan. We were doing cartwheels. Davonta Smith may go to the Hall of Fame. Honestly, I do not give a cr*p. Taking a Wide Receiver in Round 1 is not a good decision. We have shown why, with data. It is not just a comparison of quality, but HOW LONG THEY STAY.

The Giants got paid handsomely. For the distaste of moving down 9 slots in the draft to 1.20, the Giants received a Round 5 this year (subsequently traded to move up five slots in Round 3 last night), a Round 1 in 2022 and a Round 4 in 2022. Slam dunk. You can look in the rear view mirror all you want, but you MUST trade down. There simply is not enough love for ANY one player to justify that (other than from a QB-desperate team for a QB in QB-driven league). The thing that should blow your mind is that if Davonta Smith was there at 1.11, Gettleman would not have even bothered trading with the Bears. Think about that. Malpractice. This is part of the reason I keep saying it until I am BLUE in the face, that this organization’s inability to Trade Down for FIFTEEN YEARS WAS ALL THE EVIDENCE YOU NEED TO KNOW IT WAS OF THEIR OWN CHOOSING, NOT LACK OF OPPORTUNITY. This time, a parting of the Red Sea, with significant help from Philadelphia, pushed the Giants and Gettleman down 9 spots. 9 spots. BFD. At this point, there is not a great deal of difference in the draft anyway. And yet the Giants collected a R1 R4 and R5 for the inconvenience. We tweeted last night in rejoice…

If you had any doubt about the full bloom love for Wide Receiver, Vacchiano was not done…

Lo and behold, WR Kadarius Toney was taken by the Giants at 1.20. Toney is a very good Wide Receiver, and Wonder likes the player. But we hate the position. “The draft is loaded with Wide Receivers into the 2nd and 3rd round, so to take one there makes no sense,” said Wonder. Add the understanding of deteriorated value in not being able to keep these players on your roster as foundational franchise elements, and it was another lost opportunity to take EDGE (Kwity Paye, who went next at 1.21) or Offensive Line (T Christian Darrisaw, who went 1.23) or others (T Jenkins, et al).

Toney will add a dimension to the Giants offense out of the slot. Like Beckham, Engram and Barkley, we like/d these skill players for their talent out of the draft, but we do not believe in their value in Round 1. He’s on our team, and of course we hope he kills it from here on out. At least we are grateful a 1.20 was used on a WR, not a 1.11, and that we have collected 3 more bites of the apple for trading down. Let’s celebrate the monster gift that the Giants will enjoy from moving down. It took 15 years. Great move.

In other draft commentary, in order to see just how great the Giants did in terms of the trade down value, contrast the cost of the Jets to move UP from 1.23 to 1.14. This is NEARLY IDENTICAL to what the Giants did. But the Jets gave up a 3.66, 3.86 and received a 5.143. In Draft Value Chart math, the Giants collected a net of +523 points. The Jets gave up … -45 points. Trading up gives away value, but in the Jets’ case, not a lot, and they got an Offensive Line building block, G/T Alijah Vera-Tucker. That is how you do it. Kudos to both NY Teams.

Here is how not to do it in the Draft. We have talked about this concept a lot over the years but it is worth showing how the sloppiness continues… Alex Leatherwood was taken at 1.17 by the Oakland Raiders. Let’s qualify this again, I do not care if Leatherwood goes to the Hall of Fame. The Raiders pissed away so much value, REACHING for a player that was more than likely to be there a Round later. Forget that our analyst panned him and felt he belonged in Round 3 for value, you need to trade down. Repeating, every other team could be wrong about their Eval, every draft analyst, every scout. The Raiders could be the evaluation geniuses. It doesn’t matter. Trade down 15 picks. 20 picks. Collect some value. And if he is not there, take someone else. NO ONE HAS A MONOPOLY ON THE FORETELLING OF THE FUTURE. Even the great Patriots have stunk up the joint recently in the draft. Respect what you do not know. Leatherwood was overdrafted. As we like to explain, imagine taking Tom Brady in Round 1 because you KNEW he was going to be a Hall of Fame QB. No you did not. And he went Round 6. So cool your jets, chill, wait and get these players later. The last time we had this discussion about Overdrafting, it was Daniel Jones at 1.06. How does that look now? They can have great careers. Most do not. And those that do have good careers could easily have been taken later or missed entirely because someone else took them. This happens all the time in the draft. Oh-I wanted him-he goes somewhere else-and… is unmemorable. Quit pining. And do what is correct.

4 great Tackle prospects last year. The Giants take the first one at 1.04. The Bucs take the last one at 1.13. Was there that much difference in the right to choose? Trade down. Trade down to 1.08 for a box of cracker jacks. Becton, Wills and Wirfs all had terrific seasons. Stop thinking you have all the answers.

UndergroundNYG on Toney: “reminds me of Percy Harvin. Both out of Florida and both injury prone.” Glenn is not forecasting Toney to bust. He is just pointing out that Toney is not without risk. Which is a reminder of how inexact a science the Draft is. The only thing exact about it is

  1. understanding value
  2. respecting the value in each decision
  3. knowing what you do NOT know
  4. a series of above average decisions
  5. a lot more than half of NFL GMs make bad decisions
  6. respect positional value
  7. it is not about finding good players, it is about finding good players where they can be found
  8. what works now will not work in 5-10 years from now
  9. the CBA is an integral part of determining where to find value
  10. everyone has risk in their decisions; some just pay too much to obtain certainty
  11. not confusing one single player’s outcome with whether or not a good decision was made

Onto Round 2. Joe Judge remarked that we better check Dave Gettleman for concussion protocol because we’re not sure about all his faculties after trading DOWN again! For dropping 8 spots in R2 the Giants collected Miami’s Round 3 pick in 2022.

So let’s get the abacus out here. The NY Giants have collected R1 R3 R4 in 2022. That’s practically an ENTIRE NEW DRAFT CLASS that you don’t see from “names” here in 2021. Even if you are making slightly below average picks, you are feasting on so much massive quantity that your draft haul is bound to be well above average. We won’t see the impact of this until 2-4 years from now. But this is how you sustain competitiveness. When you consider the humor in Judge’s remarks, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that these trades are being pushed for or at the very least strongly supported by the 2nd year Head Coach. Consider this a part of the successful DNA from New England.

Okay, Azeez Ojulari time. Siloed in a restaurant on Friday evening, I remarked on a text thread after the Giants traded down in R2 from 2.42 to 2.50: “Did Ojulari go? He’s falling and maybe giants say let’s get paid for that risk.” And while I frankly wanted C Creed Humphrey to leverage the toys as my first choice (he went ~13 picks later to KC), the pick of Ojulari was TREMENDOUS. Just read the previous post. We had both Humphrey and Ojulari as value at the end of Round 1. So for the Giants to collect a 2022 R3 pick for the trouble of taking on Ojulari’s ACL risk from High School, bring it. This is the exact opposite of reaching. This is getting paid to take on risk. This is precisely how you draft. I don’t give two f***s if Ojulari gets injured again and is out football. This is a well above average draft decision that gives the Defense a dimension it’s been lacking for MANY years. Why is it good risk? Because of where you took him. Ojulari at 1.11? No. Ojulari at 2.50? Yes! Leonard Williams was overpaid. But sit back and watch the havoc that double teamed Dexter Lawrence, LW, and Ojulari are able to do now. Ojulari leverages Williams and Lawrence the way Humphrey would have leveraged the Offensive weapons. And heaven forbid if the Giants can get some health/production out of Carter too (not even counting on that), and this Defense is going to be off the charts. Remember, it was very good last year without a pass rush (LW’s were good production from the interior but they were generally secondary sacks). Add the missing piece of EDGE Ojulari and it’s going to be night and day. Then consider an already strong secondary got stronger w Adoree Jackson and the addition of “tackling” CB Aaron Robinson in R3. This Defense could be special. DC Patrick Graham had to scheme without a true pass rusher. The impact of Azeez Ojulari is going to be very significant. He was one of the best pass rushers out of this class, and he fits into the Giants’ 3-4 perfectly. It’s a calculated risk, but the rewards are huge if he maintains health.

In Round 3 the Giants gave up the R5 pick from Chicago to move 5 spots up for Robinson. I preferred G Wyatt Davis, harping on the need to help OL. The Giants have more confidence in their young OL than I do. This is the business the Giants have chosen. The argument for Robinson is the need for slot CB. Gettleman admittedly was eyeing help for OL (if we take him at his word). Assuming that is true, they were eyeing C Dickerson or T Jenkins and traded down the 2.42 after one or both went. My view is that Guard helps leverage the toys better than the impact of CB in Round 3. But I won’t be a downer on this draft because 2022 R1 R3 R4 booty PLUS EDGE OJULARI IS A GREAT DRAFT. If we pull a judo move and say the Giants got Ojulari at 1.20 and Toney at 2.50, we have to be good there. I know this won’t happen, but I’d nuke the rest of the draft w OL and see if we can get something that sticks. Hey, G David Diehl was a R5 gem, so you never know.

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