It’s a widely accepted presumption that the New York Giants will look to upgrade their receiving arsenal this offseason. Big-name impending free agents such as Kenny Golladay and Allen Robinson may very well be at the top of the G-Men’s wish list. Likely cheaper commodities such as Corey Davis and Curtis Samuel (who GM Dave Gettleman drafted in Carolina) should also pique New York’s interest.
The team, like many across the NFL landscape, is also extremely strapped for cash amid the pandemic fallout, currently projected to be $2 million-plus over the cap for 2021 (per Spotrac). While the Giants will undoubtedly be able to move some money around, they’ll also be looking to retain their own impending free agents such as standout defenders Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson.
These financial decisions could shift the front office’s focus from free agency onto the draft as a way to supply quarterback Daniel Jones with legitimate weapons on the outside.
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Daniel Jeremiah Mocks WR Jaylen Waddle to Giants
The Giants have not used a first-round selection on a wide receiver since selecting Odell Beckham Jr. with the No. 12 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Consequently, they haven’t had a player eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in a season since dealing Beckham to the Browns following the 2018 season. Darius Slayton has led the team in receiving yards in back-to-back seasons, yet has not exceeded more than 751 yards receiving yards in either of his two years with the team.
Safe to say, the Giants could use an influx of firepower on the offensive side of the football, and NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah believes he has just the guy to do so. In the draft expert’s very first mock of 2021, Jeremiah has New York dipping their hands in Joe Judge’s former SEC stomping grounds, using the No. 11 overall selection to snag speedster Jaylen Waddle from Alabama.
11. New York Giants – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Giants are all in with Daniel Jones and now they need to give him some weapons on the outside.
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Waddle Compared to Tyreek Hill
While he may not be Giants legend Justin Tuck’s first choice, Waddle would be quite the condolence prize for New York come draft day.
One of the most dynamic wideouts in the nation, Waddle fell out of the media spotlight this year after suffering a broken right ankle in the fifth game of the 2020 college football season. Yet, prior to his injury, he was on pace for a monstrous junior campaign. The Texas native averaged an absurd 139.25 ypg over his four healthy games, never once recording fewer than 120 yards receiving and amassing four touchdowns.
Waddle was highly thought of in draft circles entering the year. In fact, not only was he perceived as a better prospect than his Heisman winning teammate, Devonta Smith, CBS Sports Chris Trapasso ranked Waddle as the best receiver prospect out of Alabama in recent memory. Waddle topped Trapasso’s stacked list that included the likes of Smith as well as former first-round draft picks Jerry Jeudy, Amari Cooper, Henry Ruggs and Calvin Ridley.
While Waddle’s diminutive size (5-foot-10-inches, 182-pounds) may be a concern to Giants fans who have watched slot receivers moonlight as go-to targets for years on end, Waddle’s position flexibility and elite speed sets him apart from any player New York has recently rostered.
Waddle has operated out of numerous positions during his time with the Tide, from the slot to outside receiver to in the backfield. Over Waddle’s 34 career games at Alabama, the wideout readily flaunted his game-breaking abilities, owning a career 18.9 yards per reception average.
So how dynamic and fast is Waddle actually? For reference, here’s a clip of Waddle going toe-to-toe with former teammate Henry Ruggs in a race. Reminder: Ruggs clocked-in with a blazing 4.27 40-yard dash at the 2020 NFL combine.
If the above clip wasn’t enough to excite Giants fans, maybe Jordan Reid’s take will. A senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network, Reid went as far as to compare Waddle’s speed and acceleration traits to the one and only Tyreek Hill.
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