It's here. After months of waiting and plenty of speculation, the 2023 NFL Draft is all set to get underway on Thursday night. This is something that NY Giants fans have had circled on their calendars since the 2022 campaign came to a close. And it's been a busy offseason for Joe Schoen.
Whether it be through trades or free agency, the Giants roster already appears to be better. Now heading into the 2023 NFL Draft, they will look to complete their group. Schoen has been working overtime and so have we. Here's our final mock draft leading up to Thursday's first round:
NY Giants Round 1 Pick: Alabama S Brian Branch
Following the loss of Julian Love, and a need within the secondary, Alabama's Brian Branch could help fill several needs for the Giants defense. During his time with the Crimson Tide, Branch looked to be one of the best defenders in the nation. Now as he heads to the NFL, he could make an instant impact.
Over his three seasons at Alabama, Branch appeared in 35 total games, while emerging into a key piece on defense. In total, he recorded 111 solo tackles, 172 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, 23 defended passes, and three interceptions.
This past season, Branch played his best football yet. Over his final 13 collegiate games, he recorded 58 solo tackles, 90 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, three sacks, seven defended passes, and two interceptions.
While at Alabama, Branch was used all over the defense, but his best play came with him working in the slot. This past season, he earned a PFF grade of 89.5. In addition, he earned a 90.7 run grade and an 86.4 coverage grade
With the arrival of Branch, this Wink Martindale-led defense would gain an immediate starter. He also has the potential to become a crucial piece to their success. Adding him alongside Xavier McKinney would also give the Giants an Alabama duo leading the back of their defense.