As we go through the draft process we are going to be inundated with mock drafts as various outlets try to predict how the 2021 NFL Draft will play out.
Barring some truly remarkable guesses, they’ll all be wrong.
But that doesn’t mean we can ignore them completely. Mock drafts can be fun and they’re a useful lens through which we can analyze both the draft prospects as well as the various team needs.
We should get used to seeing wide receivers mocked to the New York Giants as the team looks to rebuild an offense which has been lackluster for years now and was an albatross this past season. We’ve already seen the Alabama receivers, Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith, be the most popular picks for Big Blue.
Friday afternoon former NFL scout and current NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah released his first mock draft of 2021, adding to the count of mocks predicting that Waddle will be a future Giant.
11) New York Giants
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
School: Alabama | Year: Junior
The Giants are all in with Daniel Jones and now they need to give him some weapons on the outside.
Short and sweet here from Jeremiah, and I’m going to be similarly brief. The Giants need — absolutely need — to fix their offense. They fielded the second-worst offense in the NFL last year, putting up just 299 yards and 17.5 points per game. That’s bad any year, but it’s embarrassing in a year in which the rest of the NFL saw a historic offensive explosion.
This past year five teams averaged more than 30 points per game, and two more averaged more than 29.3 per game. For reference, that’s as many 30 point offenses as the NFL saw from 2016 to 2019 combined.
Furthermore, it isn’t a coincidence that the four teams still playing are four of the five best offenses in the NFL.
The Giants need a true number one receiver. Both to give their offense the explosive — and reliable — presence through the air that they’ve lacked the last couple years, and to allow Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton to play their natural roles within the offense.
Waddle is probably my top target for the Giants in the first round. He has the ability to play out wide as well as from the slot — as well as contribute as a blocker and returner. He isn’t as big as some fans might prefer, but he is a tough, explosive player with the potential to be a potent an offensive weapon. [preliminary Prospect Profile]
Waddle is coming off an ankle injury which required surgery, but he has the ability to play the game at a different speed than normal players.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Giants’ receiver with that kind of ability to run away from a defense.