New York Giants Mock Draft: Final 7-Round Predictions
Congratulations, Giants fans! After an endless winter, you’ve finally made it to draft week.
The months of speculating and trying to read the tea leaves are about to end. All of our questions about whom the New York Giants are planning to draft will finally be answered in an event that is sure to make the season finales of some of television’s most popular shows seem like nothing.
Ah, the power of the shield, right?
Anyway, as we count down to the Giants going on the clock, here’s a look at my final, seven-round Giants mock to kick off what's going to be a busy week of coverage and a fun-filled time of watching the team's future take shape.
I hope you plan to come along for the ride, as I'll be on top of all things draft related for Big Blue. Until then, mock away!
All combine results courtesy of NFL.com's results tracker. Unless otherwise noted, all player scouting reports courtesy of NFL Draft Scout. All other quotes and information obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
Round 1 (No. 12 Overall)
With all due respect to those who want to see the Giants draft a receiver or tight end at No. 12, ask yourself if you're comfortable with the offensive line as it currently stands.
No? Then ask yourself how starting quarterback Eli Manning is supposed to hit all his targets if he has to run for his life on every play.
See where I'm going?
Yup, offensive line.
I think the Giants are going to sit tight at No. 12 and address their offensive line in the first round, the pick being Notre Dame's Zack Martin.
According to ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, who spoke to reporters during a conference call last week, he believes that the top tier of offensive tackles—Martin, Taylor Lewan of Michigan, Greg Robinson of Auburn and Jake Matthews of Texas A&M—will be selected within the first 15 picks, “and maybe within the top 12.”
I'd be surprised if Lewan, Matthews and Robinson are there at No. 12. I'd also be surprised if the Giants trade up in the round. However, I wouldn't be surprised if they grab Martin if he's there.
Although he logged 39 college starts at tackle, Martin's size isn’t ideal for an NFL-level left tackle, notes The Sports Xchange’s Frank Cooney, nor is he "powerful enough to play on the right side.”
The intangibles that Martin bring to the game—his work ethic, his intelligence and the fact that he’s a highly coachable prospect—make him sound almost like a young David Diehl.
That is, someone who is flexible enough to play anywhere along the line as needed and to do so at a high enough level with which to win.
If the Giant like versatility—and it’s been no great secret that they do—then Martin, a two-time team captain for the Irish, makes the most sense for them at No. 12.
Round 2 (No. 43 Overall)
Although the Giants added four veterans to their offensive line and currently have guys on their roster such as Dallas Reynolds who can play center if projected starter J.D. Walton can't go, I believe they'll add another interior offensive lineman to the mix.
That someone might be Nevada's Joel Bitonio (6’4", 302 pounds), a college left tackle who projects inside to guard.
Although Bitonio hasn’t played guard during his college career, he did take snaps there and at center during the Senior Bowl, where, per NFL Draft Scout, he projects at the pro level.
Bitonio is an athletic, alert lineman who has sufficient quickness to get to the second level in the running game. He’s also very competitive in that he’ll fight right down to the whistle, regardless of how his individual battle progresses.
NFL Draft Scout’s Rob Rang notes that Bitonio handled top competition at the collegiate level, including UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr.
A plug-and-play type who appears to offer versatility along the interior, Bitonio would shore up the depth along the Giants interior, where questions remain concerning Chris Snee’s ability to make it back and play at a high enough level for 16 games.
Round 3 (No. 74 Overall)
Even though general manager Jerry Reese indicated during his pre-draft press conference that the team would like to see their young tight ends (Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell) develop, I have a feeling that won't stop them from adding a dynamic playmaker to that group no later than Day 2.
I think the best fit for them is Notre Dame's Troy Niklas (6’7”, 270 pounds), who is NFL Draft Scout’s fourth-highest-rated tight end, but who I think could slip given an abdominal injury that Christopher Jason of MassLive.com reported caused Niklas to sit out of Notre Dame's pro day.
What’s most appealing about Niklas is his versatility—he can play H-back, he can be an in-line blocker, he can be a third tackle in pass protection, he can line up wide and he can be a receiver.
Niklas, who began his collegiate career as a defensive end, has only been a college tight end for two years, so he's yet to hit his ceiling and is still a little rough around the edges, particularly as a receiver.
If new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is looking for skill players who can give him multiple options, Niklas offers tremendous value if he's sitting there in the third round.
Round 4 (No. 113 Overall)
Although Reese, in his pre-draft press conference last week, continued to express confidence of having David Wilson back, he also added that Wilson is “really kind of a bonus for us if we can get him back and we expect him.”
Well, I expect a bonus every year as well, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. And just as I can’t count on a bonus happening, the Giants shouldn’t count on the “bonus” of having Wilson in the lineup in 2014.
The point is—and Reese conceded this—that they cannot count on having Wilson in the lineup in 2014, and they must protect themselves if the opportunity is there, which it should be in the fourth round.
A prospect that I think could fit the bill for them is West Virginia’s Charles Sims (6’0”, 214 pounds), who ran a 4.46 in the 40, tying him for the sixth-best 40 time out of the running backs invited to the combine.
Sims, who was also the top performer out of the running backs in the 20-yard shuttle (4.3 seconds) and in the broad jump (126 inches), needs to add bulk to his frame to better withstand the rigors of the position.
He also needs to work on playing at a lower pad level. These are both areas that coaching should help fix.
“I like him—his ability to catch the football is what is important,” Mayock said. “I think the combination of catching the football, being a big enough back to pass protect, and some natural running skill sets really helps him.”
Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com, in his report on Sims, describes the running back’s hands as “among the best on a RB in recent years.”
Although Nawrocki doesn’t view Sims as a bell cow, he does believe that the 24-year-old’s playmaking ability as part of a tandem will appeal to a team.
Round 5 (No. 152 Overall)
If the Giants want a good-sized receiver with potential to stretch the field, Rutgers’ Brandon Coleman (6’6”, 225 pounds) might just be worth considering with the first pick in this round.
Coleman has ideal size and the speed necessary to slice off the top of the defense. He's coming off of a sub-par, injury-plagued 2013 season.
As Rang notes, Coleman doesn’t always play with the toughness one would expect from a man of his size. He's also not very explosive off the line of scrimmage.
However, the junior-eligible receiver does have some intriguing appeal as a red-zone target, an area which, per CBS Sports’ 2013 fantasy football stats, saw Victor Cruz lead the Giants' wide receivers with five receptions out of 11 targets in the red zone (45.4 percent) and two touchdowns.
Round 5 (Compensatory Pick, No. 174 Overall)
With the second pick in the fifth round, I think the Giants will look to add depth at defensive tackle, where of their four guys with NFL experience, two (Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins) are 30 or older.
LSU’s Anthony Johnson (6’3”, 308 pounds) has mostly been a rotational player in college, playing in 27 games with three starts, but he’s been productive at defensive tackle.
Per his school bio, 22 of his 77 career tackles (28.5 percent) have been for a loss to go along with seven sacks.
Johnson, who in high school earned the nickname "Freak" for his quickness and agility, also has three pass breakups and one interception in 40 games played over a three-year span for the Tigers.
NFL Draft Scout notes that Johnson has good quickness for a man of his size and a nice burst with the long arms to fight off blockers.
However, he’s raw in his pass-rushing technique and needs to work on maintaining a lower pad level.
Round 6 (No. 187 Overall)
In the sixth round, I like UCLA defensive end Cassius Marsh (6’4”, 252 pounds) for the Giants.
Marsh isn’t very quick off the snap and has had some issues with consistency, as NFL Draft Scout noted. However, that he can play both inside and at end is a plus, as versatility—there’s that word again—is something the Giants like in their pit players.
Marsh has been known to play with a nasty streak which translates into a relentlessness when it comes to rushing the passer and in fighting through blocks.
Marsh has 96 tackles over his four-year college career, including 22.5 for a loss and 14.0 sacks. He’s also forced two fumbles and has broken up four passes.
Marsh appears to have a lot of upside as a potential fifth defensive end in the Giants’ current defensive end rotation and could ultimately have a spot in their pass-rushing packages.
Round 7 (No. 225 Overall)
The Giants traded this pick on October 4, 2013 to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for middle linebacker Jon Beason, the Panthers' No. 1 draft pick (25th overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft.