The New York Giants‘ decision to snag Kadarius Toney with the No. 20 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft has certainly left a few teams feeling a certain type of way. It’s since been reported that both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers were upset after missing out on the Florida wide receiver. However, those teams who eyed Toney may want to direct their anguish towards another NFC East team.
In fact, Toney could very well be donning a different uniform this coming season were it not for the actions of the Philadelphia Eagles on draft day — that is at least according to one SEC defensive coordinator.
The latest Giants news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Giants newsletter here!
Giants Wanted DeVonta Smith ‘Bad’?
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg recently interviewed a handful of college coaches to dissect the fallout from the NFL Draft, during which one SEC defensive coordinator hit us with this interesting tidbit detailing the Giants’ desire to select Alabama star, DeVonta Smith.
“The Giants wanted DeVonta bad,” the defensive coordinator informed Rittenberg. “They were pretty livid when Philly moved in front of them.”
The idea that New York was primed to pull the trigger on the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at No. 11 is certainly far from a shocking development. Throughout the draft process, the two parties had been readily linked. Matt Lombardo of GMEN HQ reported back in mid-April that the team was “enamored” with the 22-year-old pass-catcher, while NBC Sports’ Peter King went on record mere days before the draft claiming that head coach Joe Judge “loves” Smith.
Yet, despite the rumored affection the Giants had towards Smith, a marriage between the two was simply not meant to be. Come draft night, the Eagles pulled off a scarce divisional trade with the Dallas Cowboys, sliding directly ahead of the G-Men to guarantee the services of the Biletnikoff Award winner with the No. 10 overall selection.
Would NY Have Selected Smith Were He on the Board at No. 11?
Could you theoretically pinpoint Smith coming off the board as the move that ultimately spurred Dave Gettleman to go full “Trader Danny” and move back for the first time in his general manager career? Sure. Yet, there’s also a strong possibility that the Chicago Bears’ trade offer would have been too rich to pass up for the Giants, even if Smith was still there for the taking.
While all hypothetical at this point, the decision to trade back would most likely have come down to how closely the team had Smith and Toney graded on their big board. And as more and more NFL front office personnel reveal their affinity towards the latter, the grades between the two players may have been far closer than pre-draft evaluators had predicted.
In the end, the Giants sound more than content with the way things turned out.
“Howie (Roseman)’s not afraid to trade with anybody,” Gettleman said following the first-round, via The New York Daily News. ”I had a conversation with him earlier in the week and he said, ‘Dave, do you have any problems trading with me?’ And I said no, if it works for both of us, it works for both us. So they made the trade and we decided to trade back at that point.”
- Giants Sign Uber Productive Pass Rusher in Post-Draft Free-Agent Move
- Packers Targeted Giants WR to Potentially Ease Aaron Rodgers Rift
- Giants Send Strong Message to Daniel Jones
- NFL Hall of Famer Issues ‘Stern Warning’ to Giants’ Saquon Barkley
For more Giants content, follow @VinnySomma on Twitter.