New York Giants' Final 2014 NFL Mock Draft Roundup
Mock drafts can be confusing.
They flood the web this time of year, as every draft expert across all of cyberspace tries to pump out their last-minute analysis and projections. You've probably seen two dozen different prospects projected to be selected by the Giants with the 12th overall pick, and it seems like hardly anyone clarifies whether the mock is of what they think will happen or what they think should happen.
I may not be able to make total sense of the NFL draft's incessant mockery, but I can break down each player Draftniks have mocked to the Giants. So, that's what I'll do for you here.
This way, you'll have no excuse not to know the name NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell happens to call out 12th Thursday night, May 8—whichever one that may be.
The first slide is a full, seven-pick mock for the Giants by Matt Miller of Bleacher Report; the rest are only first-round mocks. Multiple experts that chose the same player will appear on the same slide.
Read on to see the potential picks.
All NFL Scouting Combine measurements courtesy of NFL.com, unless specifically noted otherwise.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report (Full 7-Round Mock)
Round 1 (Pick 12): TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
Round 2 (Pick 43): DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
Round 3 (Pick 74): WR Kevin Norwood, Alabama
Round 4 (Pick 113): OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College
Round 5 (Pick 152): FS Terrance Mitchell, Oregon
Round 5 (Comp. Pick 174): CB Ross Cockrell, Duke
Round 6 (Pick 187): OT Charles Leno, Boise State
Miller is one of the few draft experts who specifies that he's mocking what should happen, as opposed to what he thinks will happen. This clarification makes it much easier to follow his train of thought, starting with the selection of North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron in the first round.
Tight end might be New York's biggest need heading into the draft, and that's why Miller has the Giants addressing it so early with this draft class' best pass-catcher at the position. He also thinks the team should shore up needs at the wide receiver and linebacker positions with the selections of Alabama's Kevin Norwood and Boston College's Kevin Pierre-Louis, respectively, in the middle rounds of the draft.
Each individual pick of Miller's mock makes sense in a vacuum, but as a whole, the seven picks do not go far enough to revamp the offense. I really don't like that he has New York waiting until the seventh round to draft an offensive lineman, Boise State's Charles Leno.
The best pick of this mock is Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan in the second round, even though he just failed a drug test. Jernigan can become a dominant professional if he learns to use his size properly (6'2", 299 lbs).
The Rest of the Eric Ebron Mockers
Ebron has been New York's popular first-round mock pick for most of the offseason, but the number of experts projecting him to go to the Giants has dwindled as the draft nears. This is peculiar since the Giants have a glaring need at tight end with no proven pass-catcher even on the roster (Kellen Davis was signed, presumably as a blocker, during the offseason).
There is no debate when it comes to the most talented pass-catching tight end in this year's draft. Ebron has wide receiver-type ability trapped inside a tight end's body (6'4", 250 lbs), and many fans would like to see it released in MetLife Stadium, wearing a blue jersey in 2014. So what's the hold up, here?
Perhaps people are noticing Ebron's lack of experience as a blocker, as well as New York's tendency to avoid such specialized players. Sure, Ebron would be a luxurious addition to a Super Bowl-ready team, but the Giants do not fit this description.
More work must be done on offense, particularly along the line, before the Giants can even think about spending the 12th overall pick on a tight end that's not Mike Ditka or John Mackey.
The Zack Martin Crowd
Draft experts who mocked Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin to the Giants: Dane Brugler, CBSSports.com; Pat Kirwan, CBSSports.com; Will Brinson, CBSSports.com; Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com; Charles Davis, NFL.com; Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com; Mike Huguenin, NFL.com; Chase Goodbread, NFL.com; Matt Smith, NFL.com; Charlie Casserly, NFL.com.
If there's a consensus starting to form among the so-called experts, it's centered around Zack Martin. The Notre Dame offensive lineman is among the best in this year's draft class—one the Giants should be able to plug into the starting lineup immediately.
Martin bears resemblance to Justin Pugh, even receiving similar criticism for his arm length, which measured a tad short in at the NFL Scouting Combine (32.88"). Because of this apparent disadvantage, some are bound to believe his best fit in the pros is at guard. Some said that about Pugh going into last season, but the rookie ended up starting all 16 games, relatively effectively, on the outside at right tackle.
The reality of the matter is that Martin (6'4", 308 lbs) is a clean enough prospect to step in right away at either guard or tackle; it is this exact versatility that will make him so appealing to the Giants at pick No. 12. With Pugh and the newly signed Geoff Schwartz also possessing guard/tackle flexibility, the Giants can further set their retooled offensive lineup for success with the selection of Martin in Round 1.
The Aaron Donald Mockers
The Giants have a history of spending high draft picks on defensive linemen, but in 2014, coming off a season ranked 28th in the league, can New York afford to pass on an offensive player, particularly one of the top four linemen in the class?
These mockers say so—as long as Aaron Donald is the man.
Donald is a player that is primed to be the most disruptive interior D-line prospect since Ndamukong Suh. At the Senior Bowl, the Pittsburgh tackle was deemed "unblockable in 1-on-1 drills" by Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com. In his college career, per Sports-Reference.com, Donald made 181 stops, 66 of which were for a loss (29.5 being sacks).
An undersized (6'2", 285 lbs), yet speedy and intrusive 3-technique prospect would complement big Johnathan Hankins (6'2", 320 lbs) nicely within the Giants interior D-line. If Damontre Moore can hassle quarterbacks in 2014 as well as he did punters in 2013, New York will have the makings of another young, troublesome defensive line. The centerpiece of this line, of course, being a healthy Jason Pierre-Paul.
The selection of Donald in Round 1 would be a stick-to-your-guns-type of pick for Jerry Reese. In Donald, the Giants general manager can select the latest version of his favorite type of player: a unique, playmaking defensive lineman.
Out of Left Field
Brian Baldinger, NFL.com: LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
The Giants have a running need at linebacker from year to year, but they are in better shape at the position for 2014 than they typically have been in recent years. The Giants haven't selected a linebacker in the first round since Carl Banks in 1984, and I don't see Mosley as the prospect that puts that streak to an end. Especially not with Jon Beason now settled in and former Baltimore Raven Jameel McClain in support.
Charles Davis, NFL.com: OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
Charles Davis is the only draft expert to predict Jake Matthews falling all the way to 12, when the Giants pick. Matthews will happily be scooped up by Big Blue if that's the case, as he is probably the cleanest prospect at any position in this year's draft. The chances he falls this far are slim to none.
Chris Burke, SI.com: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Taylor Lewan has the premier length (6'7", 308 lbs) for a franchise left tackle, but character concerns and limited versatility make him a less appealing prospect than Martin from Notre Dame. Lewan might have the All-Pro upside, but selecting him comes with a fair amount of risk.
Todd McShay, ESPN (via Ralph Vacchiano on Sulia): WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU
The Giants' need at wide receiver is one that has picked up steam as of late. McShay has New York plucking Beckham, who is familiar with both Rueben Randle and Eli Manning, out of a deep wide receiver class. Beckham can play both inside and outside, although he is a bit undersized (5'11", 198 lbs) to be a playmaker along the sideline.
Bryan Fischer, NFL.com: WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
The selection of Mike Evans would give Manning and the Giants an enormous receiving threat on the outside—one not seen in New York since the likes of Plaxico Burress. A large target like Evans (6'5", 231 lbs) would do the veteran quarterback some good, as he looks to recover from a dreadful 27-interception season.