American Football

Ed’s Giants mock draft, 9.0: A trade at the top, and familiar names with the first two picks


NFL Combine
Deonte Banks | Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

CB Deonte Banks, WR Zay Flowers are first two selections

It’s time for my latest New York Giants mock draft, this one a four-round effort using the Pro Football Network simulator.

I have been considering a few things about the No. 25 overall pick for the Giants in Round 1. So, let’s chat about them before we get to the picks for this week.

Who would I trade up for? If I moved up, it has to be for a cornerback or wide receiver I don’t want to miss out on. If it’s a wide receiver, I think you have to get to No. 19, ahead of a potential receiver run that could include the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers and Baltimore Ravens.

For grins, I tried to make a trade with the PFN simulator to get up to No. 19 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and select Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The simulator insisted on my giving up pick No. 89 in Round 3 and a 2024 third-round pick. That’s way too rich. The Fitzgerald-Spielberger trade chart says moving from 25 to 19 should cost me only one of the fifth-round picks, Nos. 160 or 172.

I have also been considering the idea of trading down. There is, in my view, only a narrow window to trade down from No. 25. I want the fifth-year option on a player, so I am not trading out of Round 1. That gives me only the six teams below the Giants in Round 1 as potential trade partners. Forget trading with the Dallas Cowboys or Philadelphia Eagles, so the field of potential trade partners is actually even narrower.

Let’s see what happened this week.

Round 1 (No. 25) — TRADE!!

I accepted a deal from the Cincinnati Bengals for picks Nos. 28 and 92. That keeps me in the first round where I get a fifth-year option on a selected player, makes up for the pick the Giants sent to the Las Vegas Raiders, gives me flexibility to move around on Day 2 if desired and keeps the players I would consider at 25 in range at No. 28.

Round 1 (No. 28) — Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

As it worked out, none of the players I would have considered at No. 25 went in picks 25-27, so the trade at No. 25 was a win-win. Trenton Simpson went at No. 26 to the Dallas Cowboys, but I wasn’t selecting him, anyway.

For me, Banks is the best cornerback left on the board. The Giants need not only someone to pair with Adoree’ Jackson, but perhaps someone to replace him since the Giants could move on from Jackson after the 2023 season.

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As much as the Giants need a center, I think there are five or six players in this draft who could emerge as starting centers. I don’t think there is another cornerback as good as Banks. So, I will wait on the center.

Players passed on: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College; Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas, John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota; Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin

Round 2 (No. 57) — Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

This is not what I was expecting at 57. To be honest, I tried to trade up to No. 50 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get Flowers when I saw he was still on the board. After one failed attempt, the simulator didn’t give me a chance to propose a second deal.

If you have been following each week, you know by now that Flowers is one of my favorite guys in this class. I don’t love the 29-inch arms or the 5-foot-8 and change height, but I love everything else. The play-making, the toughness, the ability to get open, what he can do with the ball in his hands.

Yes, he is another small wide receiver on a team now filled with them. I’m too enamored with this player to let him pass at No. 57, though. In the actual NFL draft, I don’t expect to see Flowers available this late.

Players passed on: Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin; Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh; Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah; Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa

Round 3 (No. 89) — Luke Wypler, C, Ohio State

I was praying Wisconsin center Joe Tippmann would fall to 89, but the Las Vegas Raiders grabbed him at No. 70. In all honesty, I would have considered a move up from 89 for Tippmann. The simulator just didn’t give me time.

I’m not waiting any longer to grab a center. Wypler and Steve Avila of TCU are both on the board, and good value, here. As much as I like Avila, I suspect his future is at guard. So, Wypler it is. He is a solid player.

In all honesty, I also really like Ricky Stromberg of Arkansas and Olusegun Oluwatimi of Michigan and I have to think about how I really see this second tier of centers, but this time around I will take Wypler.

Players passed on: Steve Avila, C-G, TCU

Round 3 (No. 92) — Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin

The extra pick I got from the Bengals for moving down from No. 25 to No. 28. This was a really interesting pick and I debated going a lot of different ways.

In the end, I took Benton here because I know how much emphasis the Giants are putting on upgrading the talent at defensive tackle and Benton is one of the last guys available I think could do that fairly quickly.

33rd Team ranks Benton as the No. 3 defensive tackle in the class, 53rd overall. 33rd Team:

Keeanu Benton is a strong and athletic defensive tackle who can reset the line of scrimmage or quickly press open an edge. He plays stout against the run and can create pressure versus the passing attack of an offense.

Players passed on: Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State; Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa; Zach Evans, RB, Ole Miss, Kendre Miller, RB, TCU; Darius Rush, CB, South Carolina; Zach Harrison, edge, Ohio State

Round 4 (No. 128) — Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane

Choices. Daiyan Henley, tight end Zach Kuntz, wide receiver Tank Dell and others were available here.

I feel like the Giants should be adding a running back in this draft, whether Saquon Barkley signs a long-term deal or not. There are some solid mid-round choices, but Spears is the guy I keep coming back to.

33rd Team says:

Spears is productive and instinctive and possesses very good run skills. He has deceptive strength for his size and has outstanding balance to stay on his feet after contact. He has good lateral quickness, makes jump cuts as a runner and can plant his foot in the ground and get up the field.

Spears has good enough speed to separate and take it the distance. He possesses natural hands out of the backfield. He is an ordinary blocker, lacking the size and strength to be consistent. Overall, Spears is a solid player. He’s more of “a guy” rather than “the guy.”

Players passed on: Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State; Zach Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion; Tank Dell, WR, Houston

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