/Giants score potential NFL Draft coup with Azeez Ojulari pick – New York Post

Giants score potential NFL Draft coup with Azeez Ojulari pick – New York Post

The Giants moved down, again, and selected a player who many scouts consider to be the best rusher in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Dave “Trader’’ Gettleman and the Giants, in the first two days of the draft, conducted a master class in adding talent while maximizing future assets. They slid from No. 42 to No. 50 on Friday night in a deal with the Dolphins. Despite the drop, the Giants got a player they targeted, adding Georgia linebacker Azeez Ojulari in what may turn out to be a coup.

Gettleman had traded down in Round 1 on Thursday to take wide receiver Kadarius Toney, while adding three draft picks, including the Bears’ first-rounder in 2022. Friday night, Gettleman added the Dolphins’ 2022 third-round pick.

Ojulari is a prototype 3-4 outside linebacker and should be a perfect fit in coordinator Patrick Graham’s defense. At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, he is an edge rusher, using quickness and agility to get to the quarterback. He had 8.5 sacks this past season. The only reason he dropped out of the first round was concern about a lingering knee issue. The Giants did their medical homework and decided Ojulari was worth the pick.

Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Azeez Ojulari (13) reacts after a sack
Azeez Ojulari
Getty Images

The Giants have two outside linebackers, Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines, returning from injuries that ruined and shortened their 2021 seasons. Carter, like Ojulari, is a Georgia product. The Giants now have young edge options to add to a defense that, without much production from its outside pass rush, managed to get 40 sacks last season.

This is a fascinating turn of events for the Giants and Gettleman, who never had traded down in eight previous drafts while running the show for the Panthers and Giants. Gettleman is treating 2022 draft picks like gold, believing he will have far more information about the players in that class than he did this year, when COVID-19 restrictions making it difficult to gather the same quantity and quality of information normally accumulated during the lead-up to the draft.

Clearly, the Giants were not eying one particular player at No. 42, or else they would not have moved down eight spots. The early portion of the second round went to their liking, with players at positions they were not interested in taking — receiver, running back, safety — coming off the board in the first eight picks of the round.

The Giants have now gained three extra draft picks in 2022 — a first-rounder, a third-rounder and a fourth-rounder.

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