Kadarius Toney
Courtesy IG @nygiants

How did news publications grade the New York Giants’ 2021 NFL Draft performance?

Ryan Honey

A dynamic wide receiver for Daniel Jones in Florida’s Kadarius Toney, a talented edge rusher in Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari, and a physical defensive back in UCF’s Aaron Robinson are all headed to East Rutherford, thanks to Dave Gettleman, Joe Judge, and co.

The Giants filled a number of crucial needs in and around the roster during the 2021 NFL Draft and greatly improved the talent level of the team. This comes in preparation for an important 2021 season when the Giants should take the leap and finish much better than they have in recent years.

While ESNY gives New York a grade of around “A-” or possibly “A,” some other publications don’t entirely agree.

How did alternative outlets perceive the Giants’ performance this past weekend?

The New York Post (Ryan Dunleavy) — A

Dunleavy liked the Giants’ draft a lot. He writes:

“This felt very much like a “let the board come to us” philosophy — and the Giants could be rewarded for it this upcoming season and in the future, after adding three extra picks in the 2022 draft.”

The philosophy Dunleavy introduces is certainly correct. The Giants were able to trade back twice in the first two rounds, garner extra picks for the 2022 draft, and still acquire highly talented players such as Kadarius Toney and Azeez Ojulari. I would’ve much rather witness those types of situations than see the Giants reach for players at those two positions.

Adding the 2022 selections was huge. The Giants now own a pair of first-, third-, and fourth-round picks next year and all will be highly valuable. The 2022 draft class is supposed to be deep and the evaluation process will hopefully be back to normal as we work to exit the COVID-19 pandemic — this will increase the true value of the draft resources.

NBC Sports Edge (Thor Nystrom) — C

Nystrom thinks the Giants made a great move acquiring a fifth-rounder this year and a first- and fourth-rounder next year in the opening-round trade with Chicago. However, he doesn’t love the Toney pick.

“This grade is middle-of-the-pack because of the one poor decision I felt [Dave] Gettleman made over the weekend — taking older gadget prospect Kadarius Toney at 1.20… Gettleman ought to have considered Rashod Bateman or Elijah Moore if it had to be a receiver.”

If there’s one thing we need to understand, it’s that Toney plays to the modern style of the NFL, which will be huge for Daniel Jones’ development. It’s become a speed game, and Toney brings that to the field along with elusiveness and sheer versatility. Kadarius will be an option for the return game and could take part in receiver sweeps as well, so the young draftee will be a surefire weapon for Jason Garrett’s offense.

The Draft Network (Ryan Fowler) — B

Fowler was complimentary of the Giants’ picks. He writes:

“Many consider the Kadarius Toney selection a reach, but the more weapons for Daniel Jones, the better… Azeez Ojulari and Elerson Smith will present an intriguing duo to develop within defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s 4-3 front.”

“B” is a tad bit too low for me, but Fowler brings up a great point when he says “the more weapons for Daniel Jones, the better.” Jones must take a significant leap in 2021 in order to prove he’s the long-time answer at the quarterback position, and to do that, he’ll need an improved slate of weapons to assist him.

Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney are expected to be total upgrades from veteran Golden Tate.

Pro Football Focus — B+

PFF heavily praises Ojulari and the Giants’ selection of the Georgia edge rusher, writing:

“[Ojulari] could have easily been drafted in the first round, making this selection one of the better values so far in Round 2. He is one of the more advanced pass rushers in this class technically and has an impressive first step off the edge. It helped lead to a 91.7 PFF pass-rushing grade this past season at Georgia. Ojulari also happens to fill a significant area of need for the Giants, whose top four pressure leaders were all interior defenders in 2020.”

This is dead on. The fact the Giants were able to trade back in the second round, acquire a 2022 third-round pick, and still draft Ojulari (who could’ve been a first-rounder), is absolutely excellent.

Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines aren’t consistently reliable and it’s unclear if both will make the final roster past training camp and the preseason. The Giants needed edge rusher help and definitely should’ve addressed the position in the second round at the earliest.

ESPN (Mel Kiper Jr.) — B+

Kiper writes:

“The picks ‘Trader Dave’ added — particularly that 2022 first-rounder — and the value he got with his top three picks makes this a solid haul.”

The ESPN draft analyst is absolutely right — the Giants acquiring numerous 2022 draft picks including the first-rounder from the Bears is huge, considering the aforementioned value of next year’s draft.

The team’s first three picks are all great for the organization as well.

Toney is a dynamic playmaker that will be another talented target for Daniel Jones, Ojulari will boost the talent level within the edge rusher unit, and Aaron Robinson will provide important depth to the defensive backfield.

Each will play important roles and are expected to be long-term components of the roster.