New York Giants Mock Draft Round Up
The NFL Draft. We're getting closer...honest!
With reports of pre-draft visits—Conor Orr (The Star-Ledger) and Jordan Raanan (NJ.com) have collaborated to keep track of the prospects who have met with the Giants for such visits—and trade rumors picking up steam, it's just a matter of days before we learn how it all unfolds.
In the meantime, let's take a look at the latest projections made by the NFL draft experts regarding each of the Giants' seven picks, which includes a compensatory pick in the fifth round but no pick in the seventh round because of the trade with the Carolina Panthers last fall for linebacker Jon Beason.
I'll look at the the projects made by the experts, and offer my take on their logic and how it differs from what I think could happen.
Round 1 (No. 12 Overall)
The Experts' Take
Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN (subscription required): Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Todd McShay of ESPN (subscription required): Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Charles Davis, NFL.com: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
I could have just as easily listed more first-round projections from draft analysts, but the bottom line is that there is no consensus regarding the Giants’ first-round pick, even though NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan, in his survey from around the web, concludes that Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the popular choice.
But speaking of Donald, I would be surprised if he’s the Giants’ selection at No. 12 overall. While he’s an intriguing pass-rusher, the Giants typically put more of an emphasis on defensive tackles who can first and foremost stop the run, something that might be a concern given the somewhat undersized Donald.
I also disagree with Prisco’s selection of Matthews for the simple reason that I’d be surprised if he falls to the Giants. If the Giants want Matthews or Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, I truly think they're going to have to trade up to get either one.
As I noted in my analysis of creative moves the Giants might be able to make on draft day, it would not shock me if they try to move quarterback Ryan Nassib to a quarterback-needy team ahead of them.
I’d like to see the Giants go with an offensive lineman in the first round because of both Will Beatty’s recovery from a broken leg and the uncertainty surrounding the status of tackle/guard John Jerry, who was one of the players named in the Wells Report investigating the Miami Dolphins workplace harassment scandal.
I like McShay’s choice of Morgan Moses, but not at No. 12—if the Giants have Moses in their sights, I'd like to see them trade down a few spots to to get him.
I also like UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo for his versatility—he can play guard and tackle, though he projects to guard at the NFL level. However, like with Moses, I would trade down several spots for Su’a-Filo.
Round 2 (No. 43 Overall)
The Experts' Take
Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN (subscription required): Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA
Dane Brugler, CBS Sports: Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
Matt Miller, B/R: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Despite all the additions made to the offensive line in free agency, I'd like to see the Giants come away with two solid candidates in this draft.
While I was initially of the opinion that they might take a center no later than the third round, I've rethought this position because when we talk about the depth, someone who gets overlooked is Dallas Reynolds, who started 14 games at center for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012.
The Giants retained Reynolds this past offseason, and he could very well be the fallback plan.
Getting back to the pick, I’d go tight end at this point, but I wouldn’t necessarily go with Amaro, as Miller has suggested.
I think Troy Niklas of Notre Dame offers a much higher upside and greater value in that he can be an in-line blocker, a receiver and an H-back in an offense.
If new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is looking to create as many options as possible from his sets, then versatility will a determining factor in which players man these personnel packages. Look for the Giants to add a tight end in Round 2, if they are in fact looking toward to the draft to bolster that position.
Round 3 (No. 74 Overall)
The Experts' Take
Matt Miller, B/R: Weston Richburg, OC, Colorado State
I don’t think the Giants will go with Richburg in the third round, because I don’t think he’s going to last that long, not if NFL clubs agree with NFL Draft Scout and its ranking of Richburg as the top center in the draft and a projected second-round pick.
At this point in the draft, I think it makes more sense to look at a running back because, outside of Rashad Jennings, there is uncertainty surrounding the depth at this position.
Peyton Hillis was solid for the team last year, but I can’t shake concerns about his durability. Hillis’ injury history shows that he hasn’t made it through a 16-game season since 2011.
If Hillis is in line to be the third-down back, he’s going to take a beating. If he has to miss time, who's the next man up?
Michael Cox, the second-year player who was a seventh-round draft pick, is an option. However, the concern I have with Cox is that he was able to get onto the field last year only when there were no other healthy bodies to play the position.
Even when the Giants were out of the playoff hunt and the injuries kept piling up, Cox could not find his way back onto the field. That was concerning.
David Wilson? I’d be surprised if he doesn’t start training camp on the PUP list and if he doesn't stay there through the first six games of the season.
While every spinal fusion surgery and subsequent recovery is different, when you see how long it’s taking Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, who had a similar surgical procedure last November, to get medically cleared, you can’t help but wonder whether Wilson's expectations to be ready for the 2014 season are realistic.
Assuming he doesn't get cleared to practice in OTAs or to participate in training cam, how much will Wilson regress if he can’t apply what he’s learning in the classroom on the field?
There are a couple of draft prospects that I like at this point in the draft.
The first is Boston College’s Andre Williams (5’11", 230 pounds), who, while not as tall as Brandon Jacobs, has a similar downhill running style that could be a good fit if the Giants plan to run a power rushing game.
Where Williams lacks consistency is as a receiver—NFL Draft Scout’s Dane Brugler notes that Williams had no receptions out of the backfield last season. Brugler also pointed out that Williams' pass-blocking is inconsistent, which would probably mean he’d be limited as a rookie in the Giants offense.
The other running back I hope the Giants consider taking is Washington’s Bishop Sankey (5’10", 209 pounds). I’m not sure that Sankey makes it to No. 74, but it’s hard not to like his quickness, ball security, ability to run inside and skills as a pass-blocker.
Round 4 (No. 113 Overall)
The Experts' Take
Matt Miller, B/R: Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
Although the Giants added some depth at defensive end by signing former Denver Bronco Robert Ayers, it would probably behoove them to draft a young defensive end to groom for the future, what with Jason Pierre-Paul entering the final year of his contract this season, and Mathias Kiwanuka's declining performance last year.
While I like Miller’s thought process and his selection, I’m not so sure that Martin is going to fall to the fourth round. There’s usually a run on pass-rushers who can contribute in spot situations, and that point is usually no later than the second day.
Since I think the Giants are potentially looking at the need to draft two offensive linemen, I’d go with taking a guard with this pick, such as Stanford’s David Yankey (6’6”, 315 pounds), if he's there.
Per Dane Brugler of NFL Draft Scout, there’s a lot to like about Yankey, from his intelligence, to his strength, to his work ethic.
Brugler notes that Yankey, projected to be a late-third, early-fourth-round pick, sometimes plays with his pads too high, and he too often lowers his head. However, these deficiencies all appear to be technique-related issues that can be corrected with proper coaching.
Round 5 (No. 152 and No. 174 Overall)
The Experts' Take
Matt Miller, B/R: Trevor Reilly, OLB, Utah (No. 152), Andre Williams, RB, Boston College (No. 174)
I like the idea of adding another outside linebacker in this round to a group that already includes Jameel McClain, Spencer Paysinger, and Jacquian Williams.
Miller’s pick of Reilly is interesting because, per NFL Draft Scout, Reilly has something that can’t be taught: instincts.
In addition, Rob Rang writes of Reilly that he’s a “versatile playmaker” who also has some experience playing in the middle.
NFL Draft Scout projects Reilly to be a second- to third-round talent, though concerns about a minor knee scope he had on the same knee on which he had ACL surgery in 2012 might cause his stock to tumble.
With the first of two picks in the fifth round, I’d look at Montana outside linebacker Jordan Tripp (6’3”, 234 pounds), if he falls this far—and Rang believes that Tripp could very well be a selection outside of the Top 100.
Rang also notes that Tripp “possesses the instincts to play in the middle but his fluidity and length could also see clubs view him as more effective on the perimeter.” That versatility alone makes him intriguing.
With the second of the two picks in this round, I’d look at getting a receiver. I think the Giants are going to give Rueben Randle every chance to replace Hakeem Nicks in the starting lineup and thus don't need to draft in the first three rounds a receiver to challenge for a starting position.
Tulane’s Ryan Grant (6’0", 199 pounds) is an interesting option. In his scouting report, Rang praised Grant for having quick hands and good route-running skills.
While there are some questions regarding whether Grant would make a viable option on the outside, Miller notes in the video above that if Grant can learn to create separation in his routes, he has the potential to go from being a fringe backup to a solid possession receiver.
Round 6 (No. 187 Overall)
The Experts' Take
Matt Miller, B/R: Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU
Miller’s projection of Hoffman aligns with the Giants prior preference regarding big receivers possessing a large wingspan and who are solid route runners. However, I’m going to go with defensive line at this spot for the reasons I mentioned in an earlier side.
An interesting prospect for this round is Stanford defensive end Ben Gardner (6’4”, 277 pounds). Gardner, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle in late October 2013, wasn’t invited to the combine.
However, he did have a solid pro day, with Rob Rang of NFL Draft Scout reporting that Gardner “posted the most eye-popping numbers...a 39.5" vertical and 10-2" broad jump...”—numbers that would have been right up there in the top-five combine numbers among the defensive linemen.
In addition to his play at defensive end, Gardner has some special teams experience—he had one blocked kick last season prior to his injury.
If the Giants are looking to take a flier on a prospect with upside, Gardner appears to be a low-risk,high-reward type of player.