EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The top 10 picks of the 2021 NFL draft will be littered with quarterbacks. Four QBs picked seems to be pretty much a lock. Five is outrageous but possible given the prospects and the league's willingness to consistently push quarterbacks up draft boards.
For the teams not in the quarterback market -- including the New York Giants at pick No. 11 overall -- this is fantastic news. The trickle-down effect should leave someone they have rated among the top five players on their board available when they draft.
A survey of five NFL insiders, including a general manager, executive, scout, former personnel director and coach, was unanimous in the belief there are three non-quarterbacks who have no chance to make it to the Giants. They are LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, Florida tight end Kyle Pitts and Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell.
Chase seems destined for the Cincinnati Bengals, if a team doesn't trade up with the Atlanta Falcons at No. 4. Pitts might end up in Atlanta but has no chance of lasting past the Dallas Cowboys at pick 10. Sewell's floor is at No. 7 (Detroit Lions) or No. 8 (Carolina Panthers).
Two of the insiders thought Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater wouldn't last to pick No. 11, which would leave the Giants in a pretty enviable spot. Given this feedback, Alabama wide receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle have a realistic chance to make it to them. So do the draft's top defensive players -- cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn, linebacker Micah Parsons and all of the best edge rushers.
"They should get a really good player," one league source opined.
Smith, the top player in college football last season, might be the best-case scenario for New York. When the season ended, he was being talked about as a possible top-three selection. Only his position (he doesn't play quarterback) and slight frame (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) might produce a mini-slide in the draft (April 29-May 1 in Cleveland, on ESPN and ESPN the App).
Which seems kind of silly. Smith didn't play small or weak at Alabama, a point which Giants coach Joe Judge has likely heard from his mentor, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban. Of Smith's 117 receptions this past season, 87 came between the numbers, per ESPN Stats & Information.
The thought around the league is the Giants would have a hard time passing on Smith if he did slip past the Miami Dolphins at No. 6 and out of the top 10. Except, maybe, if Slater was still available. That could be the game-changer.
Rashawn Slater's NFL draft profile
Check out the best highlights from Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater's college career.
The comparison one source made for Slater was Washington's Brandon Scherff coming out of Iowa, in that he could be a really good tackle or an All-Pro guard. Depends on what you need. Neither have the arm length considered ideal for a tackle, but both were at or above the 33-inch threshold most teams require.
It's entirely possible the Giants have Smith and/or Slater among the top five players on their draft board, making them exceptional choices at No. 11. Safe value, which is an incredibly important factor in a pandemic-affected draft that has seen the scouting information flow limited more than usual.
And it doesn't necessarily matter the Giants signed wide receiver Kenny Golladay and cornerback Adoree' Jackson in free agency. Positional value at the top of the draft only plays into the equation marginally, especially with Giants general manager Dave Gettleman.
"When you're splitting hairs, it's OK to take the 96 [grade] instead of the 98. Because really what you're doing is you're splitting hairs," Gettleman said prior to last year's draft. "It's when you have a 98 and then you've got an 88. That's not splitting hairs anymore. Even if the 88 is the bigger position of need, once you start reaching you've created issues for yourself.
"Part of it, too -- you can never have too many great players at one position. That doesn't scare me. It doesn't bother me. What you're trying to do is build the best roster you can."
If Smith or Slater are available, it could also make pick No. 11 incredibly valuable in a trade-down scenario. The Giants could net additional draft capital and still land a top edge rusher (a massive position of need) if they move back a few spots. It's a good place to be.
Of course, a trade back would be severely out of character for Gettleman. He has never traded down prior to any of the 54 selections he's made as a general manager with the Giants and Carolina Panthers. Never.
This situation might be a nice time to round out the portfolio. If the Dolphins pass on Smith at No. 6 and he's available for the Giants, perhaps Miami would trade its other first-round pick (No. 18) and second second-round selection (No. 50) for No. 11 overall. It's close to equal value on most NFL draft trade charts.
The Dolphins can perhaps get, say, Sewell and Smith in the first round. The Giants can land their top edge rusher (believed to be Kwity Paye, Azeez Ojulari or Jaelan Phillips), a wide receiver such as Minnesota's Rashod Bateman and an interior offensive lineman such as Alabama's Landon Dickerson.
So the Giants would get three quality players instead of two -- not a terrible scenario for a team lacking depth.
It shows that the No. 11 pick, when you're not in the market for quarterback, is a pretty enviable place to be.
The Giants will have options. Pretty good ones, too.