2023 NFL Mock Draft: NY Giants make surprising DB pick in Round 1

Alabama v Ole Miss
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The 2023 NFL Draft is about a week away and fans couldn't be more excited. Not only are the NY Giants finally outside of the top of the draft order, but they still have a chance to draft a star to add to an already stacked team.

Currently, the Giants have 10 picks throughout the draft, meaning they have so much room to improve upon what was an already successful 2022 season. New York can really do no wrong with what position they opt to select due to how great of an offseason they have had.

This makes for what could be an interesting draft. While it seems like the consensus is that the Giants will select a corner or receiver in the first round, things could go very differently depending on how the prior picks are made. With that said, we think an SEC safety will be heading to Big Blue:

NY Giants Round 1 Pick: Alabama S Brian Branch

With the Giants letting Julian Love walk in free agency, alongside the expiring contract of Xavier McKinney, Joe Schoen could look to select either a replacement, or partner for McKinney in the first round.

Safety may not be the biggest need for the Giants, but the odds of any of the top receivers or corners being available at No. 25 are very slim. This will cause the Giants to likely draft the best player available at this pick, which very well could be Brian Branch.

Branch is not only the best safety in this class, but has one of the highest floors. This is something the Giants and Schoen may want to capitalize on. His combination of elite tackling skills and coverage ability makes for a near-perfect safety prospect that any team would be lucky to have.

This pick may not be surprising as you'd think, though. Schoen has experience with putting capital into two elite safeties like the Bills did with Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer during Schoen's time with the team. So pairing Branch and McKinney, two former 'Bama safeties, could work out incredibly well.

Last season at Alabama, Branch racked up 89 combined tackles, earning a PFF run defense grade of 90.7, alongside a tackling grade of 91.8, which ranks first among all safeties in the draft. In addition to this, Branch allowed just 36 receptions on 57 targets for 240 yards and two touchdowns while snagging two interceptions and breaking up six passes. This kind of versatility is something the Giants simply can't miss out on.