It’s that time of year when we’ll feature mock drafts from some of the best NFL Draft analysts in the business. Dane Brugler of The Athletic is one of them, and Brugler released his second mock draft of the process this week. Let’s se who Brugler picked for the New York Giants in this two-round exercise.
Round 1 (No. 25) — TCU’s Quentin Johnston, WR
Brugler writes: The Giants’ wide receivers, such as Isaiah Hodgins, have performed better than expected this season, but the position remains a need. Quentin Johnston is an intriguing evaluation because he possesses exceptional physical characteristics such as size (6-4, 215), speed (4.4 40-yard dash), and leg springs. He also naturally tracks the ball, though he will have focus drops and his route running is still a work in progress. Johnston has the talent to be a top-20 pick, but he isn’t guaranteed to go that high.
Valentine’s Point of View
If Johnston falls this far in the draft, this is a no-brainer pick. Johnston is never present this late in the mocks I’ve run using various simulators.
The Giants still require a true No. 1 wide receiver. Having that would help Isaiah Hodgins, Wan’Dale Robinson, and the rest of the 2023 receiving corps. I’m concerned about Johnston getting off the line of scrimmage vs. press coverage, but I haven’t done a thorough analysis. As a result, those concerns may be unfounded.
Here’s an excerpt from a recent Pro Football Focus scouting report:
Quentin Johnston is one of the most bizarre college wide receivers in recent memory. On the football field, there isn’t much he can’t do. He is a true No. 1 option who can run any route in the book. He also breaks tackles like it’s no big deal. Look out if you get the ball in Johnston’s hands because he’s a total threat in the open field.
Johnston, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 215 pounds, has the ideal build for an NFL receiver. He’ll probably improve even more at the next level, as his college usage was not quite what it should have been… Johnston’s game will undoubtedly translate well to the NFL.
Round 2 (No. 57) — Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa Brugler does not explain this selection. Given the Giants’ constant search for inside linebackers this season, I can certainly understand making this selection.
Campbell is currently ranked No. 62 overall in the NFL Mock Draft Database, so this would be right in range at this point.
As much as the Giants need long-term solutions at inside linebacker rather than Band-Aids, I believe that a high draft pick like this should be used only if that player is thought to have three-down ability. I’m not familiar with the 6-foot-5, 246-pound Campbell, so I can’t pass judgment.
According to Draft Network:
In an era when linebackers are shrinking, Jack Campbell has a throwback frame that was designed to be a downhill second-level defender in the NFL. I like how he uses gaps to fit the run. Campbell is adequate as a hook/curl/flats defender in coverage, with shallow zone coverage drops and buzzing down in the flats. He has worked on all levels of special teams. Campbell is a solid tackler with strong hitting power.
This Bleacher Report prospect profile makes me wonder if Campbell is what the Giants are looking for:
The combine will be crucial for Jack Campbell, as questions about his athleticism remain regarding his transition to the NFL. He was the most decorated college football linebacker this season, but his change of direction and hip fluidity are questionable for a modern-day NFL linebacker.
Having said that, Campbell possesses qualities that will translate to the NFL. He has impressive downhill speed, which allows him to plug gaps against the run and close on pass-catchers in zone coverage. He’s also arguably the best linebacker in this draft class at stacking and shedding, and he has good instincts in zone coverage.
The Hawkeye would be best suited as a middle linebacker in a system that relies heavily on one-high looks and Cover 3. That would give him some help over the top and keep him from having to carry wide receivers in Tampa 2, while still allowing him to use his ability as an underneath defender in zone coverage to tighten throwing windows.
Campbell is not a one-dimensional player. If teams are looking for a linebacker with more man-coverage skills, he could fall in the draft. He could, however, be a great Day 2 pick for a team looking for an impact run defender on the second level of defense.