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Kwity Paye on line with Michigan

Kwity Paye on line with Michigan

The first round of the NFL Draft has been shaken by three big trades, which has added some clarity to the top. Quarterbacks are now almost certain to go Nos. 1, 2, and 3 to the Jaguars, Jets and 49ers. The Dolphins (at No. 6) and Panthers (at No. 8) are almost certainly looking somewhere else.

The clarity, though, hasn’t really changed the equation much for a team like the Giants sitting just outside the Top 10. Those first 10 picks will almost certainly include four quarterbacks. Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase and Florida tight end Kyle Pitts will likely be gone, too.

What about those other three spots ahead of the Giants? Well, they’ll be rooting for a fifth quarterback to go in the Top 10, though that seems unlikely. It’s possible — maybe likely — that Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith and Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II could be gone as well. It’s still too early to know for sure, but the Giants could be looking at the draft’s best edge rusher, or the second best offensive lineman. Or maybe they still could find a talented receiver like Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle, too.

So what will they do at No. 11 and beyond? Take a look at my latest, updated, three-round mock draft, version 6.0:

First Round (11th overall): Michigan DT Kwity Paye

There could be a lot of discussion here, especially if that fifth quarterback goes in the Top 10. The Giants still could use another young receiver, and a lineman like Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater wouldn’t be a terrible pick here.

But GM Dave Gettleman knows that right now his team’s biggest deficiency is at pass rusher – someone to pressure the quarterback from the other side of Leonard Williams’ spot on the line. And it doesn’t have to be an edge rusher either. Gettleman knows the best teams get pressure from all over the line.

And that’s what makes the 6-foot-3, 261-pound Paye so interesting. He’s not only, perhaps, the most explosive pass rusher in the draft, but he also may be the most versatile. He’s a guy who lined up all over the Michigan defense and has shown he can get into the backfield off the edge, from the interior, standing up, or with his hand in the ground.

If you’re looking for a comparison for that kind of versatility, think: Justin Tuck.

Paye also got the attention of the NFL with a dazzling Pro Day, where he showed off his speed with a 4.52 in the 40, his athleticism with a 35.5-inch vertical jump, and his strength with 36 reps in the bench press. He was a team captain for the Wolverines, which the Giants will love. And his versatility could be an ideal fit for the multiple looks of Patrick Graham’s Giants defensive scheme.

Some scouts have questioned his production at college, but he did have 8 ½ sacks over his last 16 collegiate games. That’s not bad, and more than good enough to take some of the pressure off the Giants’ primary pass rusher in Williams.

(Previous picks: Miami DE/LB Jaelan Phillips; Miami DE/LB Gregory Rousseau; Alabama WR DeVonta Smith; Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle; Rousseau)

Second Round (42nd overall): Ohio State G Wyatt Davis

He’s a 6-foot-4, 315-pound, road-grading guard who probably would have been a first-rounder this year if his last season for the Buckeyes wasn’t hampered by a knee injury. He continued to play through it, but he was obviously limited, and even had to leave the national championship game early.

So the medical re-check this week will be key. But he did participate in offensive line drills at the Ohio State Pro Day, which he believed should alleviate all the injury concerns. If he’s right, he’ll be a good fit for any team looking for NFL-ready help on their interior offensive line.

And the Giants sure do need help. Their current guards are questionable at best. Will Hernandez seemed to fall out of favor with the coaching staff last season. Shane Lemieux has promise, but is only heading into his second season. And while the Giants did sign veteran Zach Fulton, he’s a 30-year-old stop-gap who isn’t their long-term answer.

Davis could be that answer. And even if he does need time to get completely healthy and up to speed for the NFL, the Giants can afford to give him that his first year.

(Previous picks: Alabama OL Alex Leatherwood; Ohio State G Wyatt Davis; Georgia LB Azeez Ojulari; Tulsa LB Zaven Collins; LSU WR Terrace Marshall)

Third Round (76th overall): Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace

The addition of Kenny Golladay gives the Giants a No. 1 receiver, but they clearly need more than that. They do expect a bounce-back season for deep threat Darius Slayton, and they still have Sterling Shepard. But they don’t really have an explosive, game-breaking threat.

The 5-foot-11, 193-pound Wallace could be that player. He certainly has the speed, running a 4.39 in the 40. And he’s known as an incredibly tough receiver who can make contested catches and battle for extra yards. He did all of that and more in 2018 when he had an incredible 86 catches for 1,491 yards and 12 touchdowns.

He was on a similar pace in 2019 before he tore his ACL late in the season. And though he was still getting healthy last season, he had an impressive 59 catches for 922 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games. At the time he got hurt in 2019, he was considered one of the best receivers in college football and one of the top NFL slot receiver prospects.

His injury issues will likely drop him in a very deep draft for receivers. But if his knee checks out at the NFL’s medical re-check this week, he could be a steal in the third round.

(Previous picks: Boston College TE Hunter Long; USC DT Jay Tufele; Georgia CB Eric Stokes; Notre Dame OT Liam Eichenberg; Stanford OT Walker Little)