Giants 7-round mock draft: Can NY trade up for a QB, or will it have to ‘settle’ for WR?


Giants general manager Joe Schoen has maintained that he wants to build the team through the NFL Draft. There may not be a bigger piece added to the foundation than this year’s top selection, as the Giants are in prime position to add a quarterback or an elite wide receiver with the No. 6 pick.

So what will Schoen do at No. 6, and how will he supplement the roster with his five other picks? Here’s a shot at projecting what could happen in my first — and only — seven-round Giants-only mock draft of the offseason.

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These picks were made based on what I think Schoen will do — I’ll publish my ideal draft plan next week. And these picks were made based on who was available in a Pro Football Network mock draft simulation:

Round 1, pick No. 6: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

The first five picks were USC quarterback Caleb Williams, North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye, LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and Notre Dame tackle Joe Alt. That’s a realistic scenario if there are no trades in the top five, which was the case in this simulation.

The decision facing Schoen here would be Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy or a stud wide receiver — Nabers or Washington’s Rome Odunze. It’s impossible to ignore the amount of work the Giants have done on quarterbacks leading up to the draft, and I believe they’ll try to trade up to land Maye. But I couldn’t get up to No. 2 pick to take Maye in this simulation.

I’m not convinced the Giants love McCarthy enough to take him over one of the wide receivers. The Giants have been searching for a No. 1 wide receiver since trading Odell Beckham Jr. in 2019. Nabers and Odunze both fit that bill, with Nabers getting the edge because his ability to create separation and explosive plays is coveted by coach Brian Daboll.

It would be rough not to be able to land a quarterback, but the Giants don’t need to look far into their past to see the downside of forcing a QB with the sixth pick. Nabers is a game-changing talent who would make an immediate impact for Schoen and Daboll in a pivotal season.

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Round 2, pick No. 47: Ruke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson

If the Giants don’t land a quarterback in the top six, I expect them to try to trade back into the first round for a shot at Washington’s Michael Penix or Oregon’s Bo Nix. But I struck out in trade attempts with teams late in the first round, which demonstrates the risk of this approach if the Giants are determined to get a quarterback.

Nix went 23rd to the Vikings and Penix went 28th to the Raiders, who traded with the Bills. The virtual Bills preferred the Raiders’ offer of a second-round pick (No. 44), a fifth-round pick (No. 148) and a 2025 second-round pick over the Giants’ offer of a second-round pick (No. 47), a fourth-round pick (No. 107) and a 2025 second-round pick.

With quarterback out of the equation, need aligned with value on Orhorhoro. The Giants are thin on the defensive line, so it’s fitting to use the pick acquired in the Leonard Williams trade on a potential replacement. The 6-foot-4, 294-pound Orhorhoro has the versatility to play multiple spots on the defensive line and could be penciled in as a Day 1 starter alongside Dexter Lawrence.

go-deeper

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Round 3, pick No. 70: Andru Phillips, CB, Kentucky

The Giants desperately need a cornerback, but none are in the mix at No. 6, and the value didn’t align in the second round. Landing Phillips in the third round would be a better fit.

The Giants reportedly hosted Phillips for a pre-draft visit, which has been a tell of Schoen’s interest in mid-round picks during his first two drafts. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Phillips doesn’t fit the size prototype of corners previously drafted by Schoen, but it’s important to remember the defensive scheme shift under new coordinator Shane Bowen. The Titans didn’t prioritize length at corner during Bowen’s time as DC.

Phillips is a willing tackler, which is a prerequisite for corners in Bowen’s defense. And Phillips can play outside or in the slot, which could help him find immediate playing time amid an unsettled secondary.

Round 4, pick No. 107: Theo Johnson, TE, Penn State

Johnson is another mid-round prospect who reportedly visited the Giants, so there’s clearly some interest. That makes sense considering Darren Waller’s continued uncertainty about his future.

Waller has said that the team needs to operate like he won’t be back, so that means adding a tight end in the draft. Even if Waller returns, the Giants need to plan for the future at the position. The 6-foot-6, 259-pound Johnson has the athletic tools to develop into a pass-catching complement to the Giants’ stable of blocking tight ends.

go-deeper

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Round 5, pick No. 166: Isaac Guerendo, RB, Louisville

It will be a long wait after the Giants’ fourth-round pick, as they swapped fifth-round picks with the Panthers in the Brian Burns trade. That dropped the Giants from No. 141 to No. 166. The Giants used a fifth-round pick on running back Eric Gray last year, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they take another swing at the position on Day 3 after letting Saquon Barkley leave in free agency.

Guerendo would be a dice roll on traits, as he endured an injury-plagued college career and was never a feature back. But the 6-foot, 221-pounder ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, which could add a big-play element to a running back committee. That speed could also earn Guerendo an immediate role as a kick returner.

go-deeper

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Round 6, pick No. 183: Mohamed Kamara, Edge, Colorado State

This stage of the draft is all about taking the best player available. Kamara was rated higher than any of the safeties available, although that position is a glaring need. But the Giants can sign a veteran safety after the draft. This pick is better used on a productive pass rusher who could upgrade the Giants’ depth at that position. This is the Giants’ final pick because they traded their seventh-rounder for linebacker Isaiah Simmons last August.

Final draft card

First round: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
Second round: Ruke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson
Third round: Andru Phillips, CB, Kentucky
Fourth round: Theo Johnson, TE, Penn State
Fifth round: Isaac Guerendo, RB, Louisville
Sixth round: Mohamed Kamara, Edge, Colorado State

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(Photos of Malik Nabers and Drake Maye: Justin Ford and John Byrum / Getty Images)





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