New York Giants: Full 7-Round 2012 NFL Mock Draft Predictions

Louis Musto@LouisMustoContributor IIIJanuary 23, 2012

New York Giants: Full 7-Round 2012 NFL Mock Draft Predictions

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    The New York Giants are headed to their second Super Bowl in five seasons in a rematch with the New England Patriots— but there are many evident holes in the roster that will need to be filled in the offseason.

    Since Jerry Reese has filled the role of general manager for the Giants, the New York franchise has had substantial success with the talent they have picked up in the NFL Draft.

    Former first-round draft picks Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks and Jason Pierre-Paul were major contributors to the Giants’ 20-17 triumph over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.

    Meanwhile, late-round pickups like Ahmad Bradshaw and David Diehl have proven that there are diamonds to be found in the rough as well.

    For this mock draft, we will credit the Giants with the 31st position in the draft based solely on win-loss record in comparison to the New England Patriots (13-3) heading into Super Bowl XLVI.

    With a stout group of prospects at hand and much to improve, the Giants should have a fascinating draft come April.

    Let’s take a look to see how things might shape up for the Giants in this season’s draft.

Round 1, Pick 31: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

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    New York Giants GM Jerry Reese has shown in the past his willingness to draft the best player available rather than a team need. In this circumstance, that would certainly be true.

    While the Giants aren’t necessarily thin at the defensive tackle position, Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox would be a great addition to join Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Chris Canty in a deep Giants defensive line.

    The 300-pound Cox is a natural pass rusher with the versatility to play defensive end if needed. That versatility is something valued by a Giants defense that loves to cycle in different players on the line and play them at different spots throughout a game.

    Cox finished his collegiate career with the Mississippi State Bulldogs with 114 tackles, 24.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks and an astounding five blocked kicks on special teams.

    Landing a talent of Cox’s caliber would be a steal at this point in the draft and a player Reese could not pass up. He would give a major boost to a defensive unit that already haunts opposing quarterbacks on a weekly basis.

Round 2, Pick 63: Lucas Nix, OG, Pittsburgh

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    For Tom Coughlin’s tenure as the New York Giants head coach, the team has always boasted one of the NFL’s top offensive lines. Unfortunately, age and injuries have caught up to the Giants and the 2011 season presented evident problems within the trenches.

    While David Diehl’s career with the Giants has been a successful one, it is clear the former Pro Bowl offensive lineman is at the end of his rope.

    Pittsburgh guard Lucas Nix could benefit from a year sitting behind Diehl next season, learning from the nine-year veteran.

    The 6' 5", 310-pound guard is a solid run blocker utilizing his legs and upper body to drive defenders back. Nix possesses above average speed and mobility to be a successful blocker when pulling.

    Nix plays hard on every down and has the potential to progress into a serviceable NFL guard with good coaching.

Round 3, Pick 95: Audie Cole, ILB, NC State

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    For years now, Jerry Reese and the New York Giants have neglected to improve their most desperate positional need on the first day of the NFL Draft—the linebackers.

    This year’s draft won’t be much different. But the Giants will find a quality talent with their first pick on day two in North Carolina State’s Audie Cole.

    In 2011, the Giants defense was exposed against the pass—especially their linebackers corps. The former Wolfpack linebacker would be a major fix for the Giants in that department.

    Cole excels in pass coverage due to his experience at the strongside linebacker position. He reads plays well and shows good speed and agility to be successful in coverage.

    The redshirt-senior finished 2011 for the Wolfpack with a school-record 108 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and four passes deflections.

    Cole is underrated talent that would fill a big hole immediately for the Giants. Don’t be surprised if the Giants try him out at the outside linebacker position as well, because of his ability in pass coverage.

Round 4, Pick 127: Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State

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    It looks as if Brandon Jacobs’ time with the New York Giants is coming to an end and New York will need a replacement to split the carries with Ahmad Bradshaw.

    At 5’10” tall and weighing 226 pounds, Utah State’s Robert Turbin has great size for a running back in the NFL. Turbin displays good vision and runs well up the middle.

    Turbin had an exceptional collegiate career for Utah State, rushing for 3,315 yards and 40 touchdowns for the Aggies in three seasons as a starter.

    The former Aggie stud is a balanced back with above average speed and power who loves to run between the tackles. His style of play should be a solid change of pace from Bradshaw, who does his best running bumping plays to the outside.

Round 5, Pick 159: Nick Provo, TE, Syracuse

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    There is no question Jake Ballard has been a pleasant surprise for the New York Giants this season. But to be successful in the NFL today, it’s vital to have a legitimate receiving tight end. With Ballard becoming a free agent after this season, that becomes even more so.

    Enter Nick Provo.

    The Syracuse tight end had a nice year for the Orange, posting 537 receiving yards on 51 receptions with seven touchdowns. Provo’s biggest day came in an upset victory over West Virginia where he had six receptions for 61 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.

    Provo proved to be a viable receiving tight end for college football’s 74th-ranked passing offense amongst FBS schools. There’s no reason to believe he could not flourish in an offense led by Eli Manning, who turned a blocking-tight end like Ballard into one of the top receiving-tight ends in the NFL this season.

    While his route-running could use some fine-tooling and his speed in the NFL is questionable, Provo would be an intriguing fifth-round draft pick with the potential to be a steal if coached-up correctly.

Round 6, Pick 191: Matt Merletti, SS, North Carolina

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    New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has shown he enjoys using safeties just as much as defensive ends in his scheme.

    With aging Deon Grant becoming a free agent at season’s end and Kenny Phillips still playing below expectations, the Giants could look to pick-up a safety in this year’s NFL draft.

    Matt Merletti is a safety from North Carolina who displays all the talent desired at the safety position—he just can’t stay on the field.

    Merletti missed the 2009 season and the second half of the 2011 season after starting with knee injuries.

    Still, the former Tar Heel is especially strong in pass coverage and makes great plays on the ball. He possesses good speed down the field and has desirable instincts when the ball is in the air.

    However, Merletti struggles a bit against the run and will definitely need some polish work at the next level.

    At best, Merletti is an interesting project player that could turn out to be a solid contributor on special teams and defense in nickel and dime packages.

Round 7, Pick 223: Traded to Minnesota

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    The New York Giants traded a conditional 2012 draft pick along with a fifth-round pick last season to the Minnesota Vikings in return for quarterback Sage Rosenfels and running back Darius Reynaud. For the purposes of this mock draft, this seventh-round selection went to the Vikings for that trade.