New York Giants: Updated Mock Draft with Scouting Combine Underway
The annual Underwear Olympics, more commonly known as the NFL combine, is well underway, giving teams a chance to meet in person with prospects and to watch them go through a series of drills.
While the results of the combine alone won’t necessarily be the final factor for teams in making up their draft boards, prospects can still help or hurt their respective stocks with their overall showing in this annual scouting event.
So, as the various players' stocks rise and fall, here’s a second edition of a New York Giants mock draft that takes into account some of the results to come to light in the combine and their effect on a player’s stock.
Note: The Giants only have six picks this year due to their trading a seventh-round pick to Pittsburgh for punter Brad Wing in September.
Round 1: DB Jalen Ramsey, 6’1”, 202 Lbs, Florida State
Despite general manager Jerry Reese's habit of sticking to the “best player available” concept, I have to think that one of the changes the Giants will make this year is to put a little more weight into need.
Think about it: Does it make any sense to pick an offensive player as the best player on their board when they desperately need help on the defensive side of the ball?
So, who will it be? My heart says it will be a defensive lineman, but my head questions whether Joey Bosa or DeForest Buckner fall to New York at No. 10.
I’m going to change it up here and go with Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey, who is listed by NFL Draft Scout as a free safety, as my No. 1 pick if he falls to the Giants.
Ramsey’s measurables seem to fit the prototype the Giants look for in their cornerbacks—both Prince Amukamara and Aaron Ross were first-round draft picks who stood at least 6’0” tall and weighed at least 190 pounds.
Ramsey does, however, need to clean up some pass-catching issues—he had no interceptions last season in 918 snaps, per College Football Focus.
However, if the Giants are looking for a versatile defensive back who can deliver the goods both in coverage against the run and as an occasional blitzer (Ramsey posted one sack as part of seven quarterback pressures last season, per College Football Focus), then he just might be too tempting to pass over.
Round 2: OLB Joshua Perry, 6’3”, 253 Lbs, Ohio State
In this draft class, the two top linebackers that everyone tends to ask about are Myles Jack of UCLA and Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame. Unfortunately, both players suffered knee injuries—Jack a torn meniscus and Smith a torn ACL and LCL.
If the Giants are in a reload mode, it’s unlikely they’d wait for Smith, as great a talent as he was prior to his injury, to make it back onto the field.
Jack, on the other hand, could be an option if his knee checks out. The million-dollar question: Do the Giants want to roll the dice on a player who is coming off injury?
With Ohio State’s Darron Lee’s stock having apparently risen—NFL Draft Scout now projects him to be a first-round pick—a nice consolation pick in the second round is Lee’s teammate, Joshua Perry, the Buckeyes’ team leader with 124 tackles last season.
Perry, a senior with good size, has been a consistent playmaker in college. Dane Brugler of NFL Draft Scout describes him as "the ‘consummate teammate’ due to his mature mental makeup and leadership traits on and off the field."
Brugler also notes in his scouting reporting that the only weakness the young man has shown is that he sometimes tends to be overaggressive to the point where he takes himself out of plays. That, however, is something that can and will subside as he gains experience.
Adding Perry to the strong side would push Devon Kennard to the middle, a position for which he might be a better fit.
If the Giants can re-sign Jasper Brinkley for depth in the middle, the addition of Perry would instantly upgrade a unit that has, for years, been nothing to write home about.
Round 3: WR De’Runnya Wilson, 6’5”, 215 Lbs, Mississippi State
Early signs from the combine seem to be pointing to the Giants and soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Rueben Randle heading in different directions.
While New York will probably look to add a veteran receiver to help complement Odell Beckham Jr., they could also use another young prospect at this spot who has good size to create a red-zone matchup advantage.
If the Giants are going to loosen their criteria for draft picks and take a few more chances, one guy they might want to look at in the third round who can provide those matchup nightmares is receiver De'Runnya Wilson of Mississippi State.
According to Michael Bonner of the Clarion-Ledger, Wilson was arrested last March when he and three friends were in a car that was pulled over for speeding. Bonner added that Wilson's party was ultimately charged with possession of marijuana second degree and possession of drug paraphernalia.
While Wilson is more of a complementary receiver and potential red-zone threat given his 6’4” height, he’s apparently not one who’s going to come up big with yards after the catch. Per College Football Focus, Wilson has averaged 4.4 yards after the catch over the last two seasons.
During that same time period, he’s caught 107 of 179 passes for 1,582 yards and 19 touchdowns, with only eight drops.
Round 4: DT Javon Hargrave, 6’1”, 309 Lbs, South Carolina State
An interesting idea that has surfaced of late involves the Giants and Jets working out a deal for defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson.
That’s what Brian Costello of the New York Post outlines in an admittedly unlikely scenario. Per Costello's colleague Bart Hubbuch, the Jets are likely to franchise-tag Wilkerson; however, Costello reports the Giants rate Wilkerson “as one of their top free-agent targets.”
But would the Giants, who have so many holes on their roster, be willing to part with draft picks that the Jets are likely to want in exchange for Wilkerson?
It makes no sense, and it especially makes no sense if the Giants share NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock’s opinion that this year’s defensive tackle class is as deep as it’s ever been.
Mayock said during a conference call this week with reporters:
You could wait until the third or fourth round this year and get a defensive tackle that in past drafts was a first or second rounder. I mean, I've heard first-round grades on plus or minus 10 to 12 defensive tackles this year from various feeds.
So a lot of teams are going to wait until the third or fourth round to get that defensive tackle they need because he's still going to be on the board, and you're going to get a second rounder instead of a fourth rounder.
Let’s assume—it's dangerous, I know, but this is a mock draft—that the Giants agree that a defensive tackle could be had at the start of Day 3.
One such prospect who could draw their attention in the fourth round is Javon Hargrave out of South Carolina State.
Hargrave offers good size and sheer brute strength, which he used to dominate his competition. Per NFL.com, he ranked third in 2014 in the FCS with 16 sacks during his junior season and added 13.5 more sacks as a senior to go along with 45.5 tackles for loss over those two seasons.
Hargrave, who also participated in the East-West Shrine game, was the best player at that game, according to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com. He wrote: “He has an excellent combination of quickness and power. He dominated the one-on-one drills.”
Typically, when the Giants draft a defensive tackle, that player is used sparingly as a rookie—Johnathan Hankins and before him Linval Joseph both went through that process. Like most rookies, Hargrave needs some polishing. Per Dane Brugler of NFL Draft Scout, Hargrave doesn’t keep his feet moving and tends to get caught up in the trash.
However, there’s little question that Hargrave can move well for a man of his size, which is a plus in his favor.
Round 5: OT Willie Beavers, 6’4”, 324 Lbs, Western Michigan
The Giants need depth at offensive tackle. Other than Marshall Newhouse and John Jerry (both of whom will be 30 or older in the coming season, by the way), the team has very little depth.
General manager Jerry Reese hinted at the combine that there was a possibility that Justin Pugh might be on the move from his left guard spot.
“Pugh is kind of flexible for us. He can play, obviously, both guard and both tackles,” Reese said. “We’ll put him in the best place available for us to be successful. I’m not sure exactly where—that’s Coach McAdoo and Coach Solari—those guys will make that decision.”
Meanwhile, Ereck Flowers looks as though he will remain at left tackle, according to Reese.
With that said, an interesting prospect who has the classic size and long arms that the Giants seem to like in their tackles is Western Michigan’s Willie Beavers, whom Jamie Newberg of NFL Draft Scout notes has the athleticism necessary to play left tackle at the next level.
Beavers, like most potential Day 3 offensive linemen, is going to have his rough edges in technique and will need to take to pro-level coaching. As a developmental prospect, he just might be worth the gamble.
Round 6: DE Anthony Zettel, 6’4”, 278 Lbs, Penn State
I still believe that the Giants’ chances of re-signing both Robert Ayers and Jason Pierre-Paul are not favorable. Even if they do re-sign Ayers, given that he’ll be 31 on his next birthday, he probably won’t get more than a three-year deal.
I do think the Giants will add a pass-rusher from the outside to go along with Ayers or Pierre-Paul (whoever gets re-signed) and Owa Odighizuwa, whom the Giants are hoping turns into a legitimate NFL pass-rusher after a lost rookie season due to injury.
If that scenario plays out, the Giants could look to Day 3 to add another defensive end prospect as a developmental type. One such prospect is Penn state’s Anthony Zettel, who at 6’4”, 278 pounds fits the Giants’ size prototype for defensive ends.
Zettel, who has also played inside for the Nittany Lions, finished seventh on the team with 47 tackles, including 11 tackles for loss and four sacks. He also posted six pass breakups and six passes defended.
Per Dane Brugler of NFL Draft Scout, Zettel has a quick first step to the gap, which enables him to beat blockers. A project at best, he needs to learn to play more in control so as to not take himself out of plays, something that he’ll learn as he receives coaching at the next level.
He might be too light to be a full-time inside player, but given his experience and success, perhaps he could evolve into that Justin Tuck type who plays outside against the run and inside on passing downs.
Patricia Traina covers the Giants for Inside Football, the Journal Inquirer and Sports Xchange. All quotes and information were obtained firsthand unless otherwise sourced.
Follow me on Twitter @Patricia_Traina.