Kadarius Toney, Giants, Florida, NFL Draft
Kadarius Toney (Photo provided for use by Florida Athletics)

New York Giants 2021 Draft Class

The 2021 National Football League (NFL) Draft has finished and the New York Giants added six draft picks to their roster. At his fourth draft with Big Blue, general manager Dave Gettleman made some noise by making three trade-backs with his first, second and third-round picks which delivered Giants Nation some big time talents the team can use in 2021.

In the first round of the NFL draft, the Giants selected Kadarius Toney, a wide receiver from Florida Gators, after trading back and acquiring the 20th-overall pick. Many say the talented receiver will be a great fit for the Giants' offense in 2021 and can be an “electrifying” addition to the Giants offense which includes free agent signing Kenny Golladay and former second-overall-pick, Saquon Barkley. Here's a wide-eyed wide-out getting his first glimpses of "the Lombardi Trophies" at the Giants facility.

Dave Gettleman, who is known as 'Trader Dave' for making three trades during the 2021 NFL Draft, also did so in the second round last Friday. With the 50th overall pick that they acquired from the Miami Dolphins, Gettleman picked an edge rusher from the Georgia Bulldogs of the South Eastern Conference (SEC) Azeez Ojulari and cornerback Aaron Robinson. Here’s what Dave Gettleman said to reporters when asked how he thought he did at the Draft.

We feel like we've added a strong group of players at a variety of positions. We've added playmakers. We've added pass rushers. We added corners. We feel good about what we've done." - Dave Gettleman

1. Kadarius Toney

In the first round, the Giants started out with the 11th-overall pick. They then traded it to the Chicago Bears for the 20th-overall pick, a third round pick and two picks in 2022. In the 20th spot, 'Big Blue' picked wide receiver Kadarius Toney, Toney's height and weight (6'0, 199 lbs.) does not stand out, but what does stand out is what former players like NFL wide receiver Nate Burleson are saying about Toney's heart and battle-level on the field.

On the NFL Network show "Good Morning Football," analyst and ex-NFL wide receiver Nate Burleson explained why he thought the Giants picked Kadarius Toney with their only first-round pick during Day-One of the NFL draft.

The Giants have 'Danny Dimes' [at Quarterback], Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, and Sterling Shepard, who is a solid slot-receiver. You bring in Toney and you can use him anywhere. Fans said that they should've picked an Offensive Lineman, but I disagree. You got a playmaker that fits your system." - Nate Burleson

ESPN Draft expert, Mel Kiper Jr. added these thoughts on Toney and how he will impact the Giants offense next season.

Gettleman got a weapon for quarterback Daniel Jones in Toney, who should get 10-plus touches per game on offense and as a returner. New York's receivers were very poor last season, but now Jones has Toney and free-agent signing Kenny Golladay to take him to the next level. - ESPN's Draft Expert Mel Kiper Jr.

For a receiver who is smaller than the average wide receiver, to be able to gain yardage after the initial catch is a really good trait to have. For the Giants, they have not had many true "Tackle-breaking machines" other than former Giants first-round pick in 2002, Tight-end Jeremy Shockey and it's been since 2011 that the former Miami Hurricane appeared in an NFL game, so it's been awhile since the Giants have had an "electrifying" wide receiver.

Round 2. Azeez Ojaluri

Dave Gettleman traded back from 42 to 50 in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The native of Marietta, Georgia red-shirted, or practiced but didn't play during the 2018 SEC season due to an ACL injury. Nevertheless, he came back and exceeded expectations in his Junior and Senior years. Ojaluri was named second team ALL-SEC in 2019. The impressive edge rusher led the Georgia Bulldogs with 5.5 sacks and 39 Quarterback-hits during that season and was duly recognized for his accomplishments.

With the 50th-overall pick, 'The Gettle' drafted Azeez Ojaluri, a 6'2" 249-pound edge rusher who spent the last two years making noise with Georgia in NCAA D-1's SEC's East Division against well-known NCAA teams like the Florida Gators, where his new teammate Kadarius Toney used to play. Ralph Vacchiano said that the Giants did well drafting a top edge rusher, late in the second round.

This could go down as one of the steals of the entire NFL Draft. It certainly has to be surprising to the Giants that, after discussing Azeez Ojulari as a possibility at 11, they ended up landing the  edge rusher 39 picks later....to end up with one of players they've been eyeing as a top pick for months … that's a home run." - Ralph Vacchiano

Round 3 #76 Aaron Robinson

Here, Dave 'the Gettle' man was able to draft Aaron Robinson, a feisty cornerback out of the University of Central Florida. After watching his highlight video my first impression is that this 5’11, 195-pound corner loves to play physical football. He’s not the biggest defensive player, no, he is a feisty player who can be a pass-rusher or a hard-hitting cornerback and cover wide receivers.

Robinson did not play for Alabama or LSU, he played for UCF in the American Athletic Conference where the competition was weaker than it is in the SEC, but that does not matter as much as his desire to become a better player matters.

Bleacher Report’s Brett Sobieski said Robinson will be another good player added to Big Blue’s talented secondary.

Robinson is a natural corner who happens to work best over the slot receiver. While the Giants can continue to rely on their versatile defensive backs, Robinson provides more stability when working against inside receivers. - Bleacher Report's Bret Sobeski

Round 4 #116 Elerson Smith

At 116th-overall and in the fourth round of Saturday's day 3 in Cleveland, the G-men picked up a tall outside line-backer named Elerson Smith out of Northern Iowa.

By the time GM Dave Gettleman was able to pick Smith in the fourth round, he was the third defensive player that the Giants would pick up. Smith stood out not just for his size (6'6", 250 lbs.) but dominant play in the FCS Division 1AA level's Missouri VAC.

Pro Football Focus pinpointed Elerson Smith having a stellar 2019 NCAA season. The big Minnesotan had 14 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in 2019 en route to achieving his first All-American honors.

Smith may have been even better at his Pro Day. According to NJ.Com's Zak Rosenblatt : "Smith ran a 7-second three-cone drill, which puts him in the 82nd percentile among edge rushers. He also had a ridiculous 42-inch vertical (99th percentile) and 127-inch broad jump (94th percentile)." Everybody loves Mel Kiper Jr. and here's what the ubiquitous analyst said  about Elerson Smith.

Elerson Smith (116) was my favorite of the trio. He's 6-foot-6 and had 14 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in 2019, though he's still a work in progress - 'The' Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

Round 6 #196 Gary Brightwell

The 5-foot-11, 218-pound Brightwell began his college career as a slot receiver, so he has potential in the passing game. Brightwell figures to be a core special teamer.”

In his highlight video on Giants.com, Brightwell shows he can make quick moves in traffic while moving at a fast overall pace and an ability to catch short passes.  Here is what The Athletic’s Dane Brugler said about the Giants’ sixth round pick.

Overall, Brightwell has unreliable tendencies (unreliable in pass pro; five fumbles in 2020) and lacks an established body of work, but he is an athletic slasher with receiving upside and traits that also translate to special teams. - Dane Brugler of The Athletic

We shall see if the man with a great last name "Brightwell", who Giants radio play-by-play voice will be salivating over, can earn some touches behind Big Blue's number-one running-back, Saquon Barkley and veteran offseason signee Devontae Booker.

Round 6 #201 Rodarius Williams

Round 6: Pick 201, Rodarius Williams CB

Last but not least Rodarius Wiliams is the brother of Green Bay Packers cornerback Greedy Williams and has the best first name of the Giants 2021 draft picks. Mel Kiper Jr. colored in Williams’ central attributes and his thoughts on what type of defensive player he was at Oklahoma State.

“I thought he might go earlier, long corners-- they're usually not available [late in the draft]. Williams has good length at six-feet-tall and, in coverage, does a good job blanketing receivers. They get a long corner who had some real good, impressive performances with the Cowboys last year.”

Dan Brugler gets the coup de grace for giving an even better assessment of Williams’ playing-style and what set him apart in college that will translate to the NFL-level.

“He has outstanding compete skills, although he tends to rely on his aggressiveness over trusting his technique. Overall, Williams needs to tighten up his timing and finishing skills, but he is experienced and confident.” - The Athletic's Dane 'Bugle Boy' Brugler

Overall, the New York football Giants and GM Dave Gettleman were sharper than we expected they would be at the 2021 NFL Draft. They added an offensive weapon to the arsenal of young quarterback Daniel Jones and plenty of defensive players that Head Coach Joe Judge will enjoy working with next season.

Giants 2021 Draft Grade: A

The Giants did not add offensive line, which most experts agreed that they needed. However, GM Dave Gettleman traded back three times and drafted one of the top receivers and top edge rushers in the draft.

 

 

 

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Anthony graduated from Montclair State University, where he covered a variety of sports for three years. He co-hosts a sports-themed radio show on campus radio station, WMSC 90.3 FM, which was recently named #1 college radio station in the nation.