Despite the fact that there is a lockout and as of today, the NFLPA is advising college players entering the draft to boycott it, the 2011 NFL Draft is set to go on.
The New York Giants have several needs they need to address; this mock draft is an update with one change in the fourth round.
Remember the Giants forfeited their fifth round pick when they traded for Sage Rosenfels and Darius Reynaud.
The most important needs for the Giants are along the offensive line, linebacker and down the road maybe cornerback. The uncertainty that the lockout created has put a hold on signing free agents, but the Giants made tender offers to all of their top tier free agents before the lockout began.
Having signed DJ Ware and giving Ahmad Bradshaw a second round tender—making him a restricted free agent—appears as if the Giants will no longer be drafting a running back.
The only way that changes is if the new CBA is done and in the resulting free agent period, Bradshaw decides to bolt for more money.
So here is my Giants mock draft, feel free to comment if you disagree and I will explain my reasoning for each pick.
The Giants are getting old at every spot on the offensive line and, more importantly, both the starting center and left guard are coming off major surgeries.
Rich Seubert had major knee surgery after dislocating his knee cap in the season finale and Shaun O'Hara had the first of two foot surgeries to repair lingering problems he had all season long that caused him to miss 10 games.
I think it's safe to say that with the Giants' obvious emphasis on building their team from the trenches, coupled with the fact that this is a position of need, they will look for an interior lineman with this selection.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a better one than Pouncey, who was an All-American right guard while playing next to his brother Maurkice (you know, the starting center for the AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers) and an All-SEC selection in his only season as the starting center.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Giants got Pouncey and he started right away—he is that type of talent.
Bruce Carter looked very good at the Combine and fits well in the strong-side linebacker spot in the Giants 4-3 scheme. He did 25 reps on the bench press, which was good for sixth-best among all linebackers.
He has tremendous athleticism for his size and excellent sideline-to-sideline speed. Carter keeps great contain on outside running plays but can sometimes get bullied by bigger, stronger blockers.
The Giants will more than likely need an outside linebacker to replace Keith Bulluck, who said he would rather retire than play in a part-time role again.
Carter possesses elite pass-coverage skills for a linebacker and a high football IQ, however he is coming off an ACL injury he suffered in November, so the team that drafts him will likely have to see some kind of progress in terms of rehab before they take a chance on him.
Despite that, he is a hard worker with great talent that would be a first-round pick if it weren't for his injury concerns.
The Giants will take the best player available and Carter should be there at this point.
The Giants are getting old all along the offensive line and if they select Barksdale, they will have two young, talented tackles to build on with he and William Beatty, their second round pick in 2009.
While the Giants could potentially wait and draft a tackle in the first or second round of the 2012 NFL Draft—indications are that that position will be much deeper next year—I believe the technique and footwork Barksdale displayed at LSU means he has the potential to be an elite tackle at the next level, despite his middle-round draft grade.
He doesn't have great strength, so he will have to improve that or he will be dominated by bull rushers at the next level.
This pick all depends on how much they value Shawn Andrews as a viable option at left tackle. He protected Eli Manning well when he had the opportunity, but his run blocking was very bad.
Pick Changed from Mario Fannin
As I said in the introductory slide, the Giants might have convinced themselves they don't need a running back when they signed DJ Ware. I'm not very high on Ware, but what do I know?
The Giants could always use help in the secondary, and third corner Aaron Ross has not gotten back to form since his hamstring injury in 2009. The Giants frequently used Deon Grant as the extra defensive back in situations that called for it, but they need someone with more speed to be able to cover slot guys from the nickel cornerback position.
Shareece Wright played really well at the Senior Bowl and has been moving up the draft boards. He is a raw project that would do well under the tutelage of Perry Fewell, who's background is as a defensive backs coach.
Wherever Fewell has been, his pass defenses have been very good. That was no different this season, but he was helped by an elite pass rush. The Giants still need more talented bodies on the field who can play pass coverage.
Wright fits the bill because he has good instincts in zone coverage, which is what he main role as a cornerback would be. He also has tons of experience on special teams, which was a sour aspect of the Giants 2010 season.
Maybe not someone who makes an impact right away, but could potentially come in some time down the road as a lock down corner.
Jordan Cameron plays big like a tight end but runs like a wide receiver. He may sneak into the earlier rounds with his Combine performance, but at the moment, he remains a later round prospect.
This is mainly due to the fact that he lacks any sort of blocking ability whatsoever, but the Giants have Kevin Boss and Bear Pascoe to take care of that.
Cameron was the best tight end at the Combine—other than maybe Virgil Green. He was in the top five of every single workout tested.
He showed elite athleticism for a tight end, running a 4.59-40 and jumping a 37'' vertical with a 9'11'' broad jump. Not to mention great agility, finishing at the top of the list of tight ends in the three cone drill and both 20-yard and 60-yard shuttle.
He is a project that can be molded into a big weapon across the middle, something the Giants have lacked since losing Jeremy Shockey.
I read a few scouting reports on Sherman that claimed he doesn't have good enough strength to be a lead blocker at the next level.
Well, him leading all running backs with 32 reps on the bench press doesn't really back that statement up.
Sherman is a traditional blocking fullback with a mean streak. He looks to punish people and plays all the way through the whistle.
He won't be a threat in the passing game, which is fine because the Giants never use the fullback as a pass receiver.
(Well, when the fullback isn't a converted tight end they don't.)
The Giants need a blocker to replace Madison Hedgecock, who has gone from one of the better blocking fullbacks in the league to an afterthought due to his subpar 2010 season that was plagued by injuries.