Giants 7-round 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Will Big Blue target a top receiver?
Draft Day is here. Let’s take another crack at predicting how things might shape up for the Giants.
We used ProFootballFocus’ simulator for this mock draft.
Round 1, Pick No. 25: USC WR Jordan Addison
What they’re saying (The Athletic’s Dane Brugler): A one-year starter at USC, Addison was an inside/outside receiver in head coach Lincoln Riley’s version of the Air Raid offense. Leading the nation in receiving as a sophomore, he became the third Biletnikoff Award winner in Pitt history, joining Antonio Bryant (2000) and Larry Fitzgerald (2003), and continued his strong play after transferring to the Trojans. Addison skillfully marries his play speed, controlled suddenness and detailed focus as a route runner to create spacing and run-after-catch opportunities. He had double-digit drops each of his first two seasons at Pitt but showed much improved ball skills in 2022 (his drop rate decreased from 14.3 percent as a freshman to 9.9 percent as a sophomore to only 3.3 percent as a junior). Overall, Addison’s lack of ideal size and play strength are legitimate concerns, but he is a loose athlete with crafty routes and vertical speed to work all three levels. Projecting best in the slot, he has NFL starting talent from day one.
Why was he the pick? This isn’t a great draft for receivers, but Addison is up there among the better. His versatility to play both inside and outside will endear him to Brian Daboll, who seems to value route running and elusiveness above all else. Remember: Daboll helped take Stefon Diggs from a good receiver to one of the game’s best while in Buffalo. His No. 1 guy doesn’t have to be 6-5 and 220.
Round 2, Pick No. 57: Georgia CB Kelee Ringo
What they’re saying (NFL.com): Boundary corner with an impressive blend of size and athleticism. Ringo is uniquely suited to travel the field and match talents against some of the bigger targets in the league. He can press and does a nice job of controlling plays in front of him from off coverages. However, he is very average at anticipating breaks and transitioning with them to squeeze the top of the route. His physicality in coverage and in run support are big assets in his favor, but there is still work to be done in consistency of coverage. Ringo’s traits will be highly coveted and he has a chance to become a very good NFL cornerback if his route recognition continues to develop.
Why was he the pick? The Giants still need a cornerback opposite Adoree' Jackson. They’d love to see Joey Porter Jr. fall to No. 25, but that seems unlikely. Ringo is a solid consolation prize.
Round 3, Pick 89: Boise State S JL Skinner
What they’re saying (The Athletic’s Dane Brugler): A three-year starter at Boise State, Skinner was the boundary safety in defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson’s 4-2-5 base scheme. With his hybrid skill set, he would often line up in the box while also showing his range in the post and seeing snaps in the slot. Skinner is a long-striding athlete with cover range versus both the run and pass because of his unique size (not many safeties have an identical body type to AJ Green). His eyes and coverage angles need to be more disciplined, but he doesn’t waste the interception opportunities created by his large catch radius. Overall, Skinner needs to improve his anticipation and tighten up his take-on and tackling, but he is a glider with the physical toughness to play in the box and range to cover tight ends. He fits best as a nickel safety or low-hole player with the upside of an NFL starter.
Why was he the pick? The Giants are looking for Julian Love’s replacement after he left them for the Seahawks. Skinner gives them someone to develop and his versatility will surely make him a favorite of Wink Martindale’s.
Round 4, Pick No. 128: Mississippi RB Zach Evans
What they’re saying (NFL.com): Evans’ career average of 6.9 yards per carry demonstrates his home run ability, but nagging injuries have limited him in the last two seasons. Teams will need to examine his injury history and determine whether it’s a concern for them or not. He has lead back size and impresses with his willingness to fight through contact for additional yardage on most runs. His vision and creativity are average at best, but the talent/traits should put him in contention for early carries as a very good complementary back with future RB1 upside.
Why was he the pick: The Giants are going nowhere fast in contract talks with Saquon Barkley. They seem fully inclined to let the running back play out the franchise tag, then reassess things in the offseason. The longer this drags on, the less likely it seems Barkley ever gets a long-term extension with the Giants. It makes you wonder if the Giants will begin looking for his replacement this draft. No, Joe Schoen won’t take a running back in the first round, but Evans here is good value. He’s a home-run hitter.
Round 5, Pick No. 160: Iowa State WR Xavier Hutchinson
What they’re saying (The Athletic’s Dane Brugler): A three-year starter at Iowa State, Hutchinson was the X wide receiver in former offensive coordinator Tom Manning’s offense. The FBS leader in catches per game (8.9) in 2022, he set the Big 12 record for most receptions (254) by a three-year player, passing Justin Blackmon (252). The Cyclones’ leading receiver each of his three seasons in Ames, Hutchinson is a physical, quick-footed mover with NFL-worthy body control and catch instincts. Though his tape shows both toughness and urgency, he lacks separation burst in his releases and at the stem, and it will be tougher for him to shake tight man coverage in the NFL. Overall, Hutchinson is an average-twitch athlete and doesn’t have a truly distinguishing trait, but his competitive mindset and well-rounded game will be appealing to an NFL team looking for a rotational possession target. He has the potential to be an eventual No. 2 in the NFL with additional polish.
Why was he the pick: Size at the receiver position isn’t the worst thing. Hutchinson, who’s 6-2, gives the Giants some much-needed bulk and physicality to a positional group that, right now, is largely finesse.
Round 5, Pick. No. 172: Penn State C Juice Scruggs
What they’re saying (NFL.com): A two-year starter with center/guard versatility, Scruggs is dependable and consistent in carrying out his assignment to the best of his ability. He plays like a block of granite that is difficult to push back or knock off-balance, but he’s more of a neutralizer than road grader. He plays with solid technique and possesses the play strength to hold his own in the middle. The lack of foot quickness shows up with athletic defenders leaking around his edges and that issue could be exacerbated if teams play him at guard. Scruggs has the potential to go from backup to eventual starter if the situation is right.
Why was he the pick: Schoen spoke highly of the Giants’ in-house options at center. Scruggs adds one more name to the list. His versatility to play guard helps, too, as he’ll likely be a depth piece to begin his career.
Round 6, Pick No. 209: UCLA G Jon Gaines
What they’re saying (The Athletic’s Dane Brugler): A three-year starter at UCLA, Gaines settled in at right guard as a senior in head coach Chip Kelly’s diverse run offense. He started at four different positions (right guard, left guard, center, right tackle) over the last four years and helped the Bruins average over 200 yards rushing for three straight seasons. Gaines is a rangy run blocker with the big-man fluidity to execute both short and long pulls. He is quick in his setup as a pass blocker to position himself against defenders, but his hands tend to wander, and his lunges create softened edges. Overall, Gaines’ inconsistent technique is a gateway to strength and balance breakdowns midrep, but his length, foot quickness and mental capacity give him intriguing upside. His position-versatile experience should help him find an NFL home as an interior backup.
Why was he the pick: You can never have too many quality offensive linemen. Gaines is another guard for the Giants to work with.
Round 7, Pick No. 240: Northwestern CB Cameron Mitchell
What they’re saying (NFL.com): Mitchell provides good toughness and play strength but a lack of functional fluidity to stay connected with NFL route runners. His lack of length could be a problem against size and teams might consider bumping him inside to play the role of a run-defending nickel back. Mitchell is certainly fearless and might be better suited to play as a down safety with nickel potential against certain teams. He’s been an active tackler on punt and kick cover teams, which bolsters his chances of making a roster.
Why was he the pick? Martindale loves versatility with his defenders as he deploys them in so many unique packages. Mitchell is an intriguing chess piece because of his ability to play safety and nickel. His value on special teams cannot be overlooked, either.
Round 7, Pick No. 243: TCU QB Max Duggan
What they’re saying (The Athletic’s Dane Brugler): A four-year starter at TCU, Duggan thrived in former offensive coordinator Garrett Riley’s RPO-based offense and finished his college career with a 26-18 record as a starter. Although head coach Sonny Dykes tabbed Chandler Morris as the starter for the 2022 season, Duggan played in the season opener after Morris was injured and ripped off one of the best seasons in school history, leading TCU to the National Championship Game and finishing as the Heisman Trophy runner-up. Duggan is a passionate player with the arm strength, toughness and escapability to make plays with his legs and through the air. Though he showed growth in 2022, he isn’t a functionally-sound passer, and his sporadic field reads and accuracy are a high hurdle to clear at the next level. Overall, Duggan’s pocket skills and downfield passing lack the necessary refinement for the NFL game, but he is a courageous competitor with dual-threat talent and calm confidence. He is an intriguing project for a patient NFL coaching staff.
Why was he the pick? Davis Webb is gone. That means the Giants are looking for a new No. 3 quarterback behind Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor. Drafting Duggan in the seventh round isn’t the worst move because it ensures the Giants get him in their building. They could, theoretically, cut him to get him on their practice squad. It seems unlikely another team would claim him.
Round 7, Pick No. 254: North Carolina State LB Isaiah Moore
What they’re saying (NFL.com): It’s hard to watch the tape and not love Moore’s game. He’s an inside linebacker with a throwback body type and intangibles that are off-the-charts. He plays with excellent instincts and recognition, showing little hesitation to run and hit. Unfortunately, a lack of functional speed limits his range and ability to handle coverage duties. He’s more than capable between the tackles as a 3-4 inside ‘backer but must prove he can hold up in a faster game at the next level.
Why was he the pick? This is a little late to select the first linebacker, a position of need for the Giants, but it’s how the board fell. Moore is a developmental piece who can contribute on special teams early.