BBV Community Mock Draft 2011: With The 19th Pick, The Giants Select ...

Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA. [Full Big Blue View profile]

Full disclosure time. I knew as soon as I saw Anthony P's pick of J.J. Watt for the San Diego Chargers at 18 that this is the choice I would make for the New York Giants in the first round of our Big Blue View Community Mock Draft. At least, I was nearly certain. I spent part of Wednesday toying with you guys to see how well you had me pegged (you did pretty well in the poll as a plurality -- 37 percent -- had Ayers nailed as my choice). I also spent part of the day in my own draft 'War Room' checking with some folks I trust to see if anyone would make a compelling argument that would talk me out of Ayers and into Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder.

Obviously, I stayed with my original conviction. I let it slip the other day that I would have taken Florida OG/C Mike Pouncey if he had remained on the board, and that is true. What is also true is that I am perfectly happy that our mock worked out this way.

Before I go any further, a special 'kudos' to 'ross_stephen. He read my mind on this pick when he commented:

Knowing JRs like for freaks…. Solder is a huge man who is athletic.
I think Ed chooses Ayers, but I think JR would go Solder.

Bingo! Give that man a prize!

When I started profiling draft prospects a couple of months ago Ayers was right at the top of the list of players I figured would be, or should be, targeted at 19 by the Giants. Lots of twists and turns later, including all-star games, the NFL Scouting Combine, reading a gazillion mock drafts, studying Pro Day information and with the site having posted 62 draft profiles thus far, I still feel like Ayers is a perfect fit for the Giants.

I know, I know, believe me I know. Ayers did not have a great Scouting Combine. I know his 40-yard dash time was an unimpressive 4.88. I know, I know, I know. And you know what? I really don't care.

I have been doing these draft profiles for two seasons now, and I have been here at BBV since Feb. of 2007. You guys should know by now that these Combine numbers mean very little to me. I want to know what kind of football player a guy is, not what he looks like doing drills in shorts.

Here is National Football Post draft analyst Wes Bunting talking about Ayers.

He’s the one linebacker this year on tape who had the physical capability of not only destroying opposing pulling linemen in the hole, but showcased the range to make plays in pursuit as well. Plus, for his size he exhibited impressive fluidity and balance when asked to change directions and demonstrated the straight-line speed to close quickly on the ball.

Therefore, should his slow 40-time really hurt his draft stock? In my view… no.

On tape he plays like a guy who runs 4.6 and even when watching him during his Combine workout, directly following his 4.8+ 40, he still looked very fluid for a big guy, was explosive out of his breaks and based off his workout alone, I would still say he could run in the 4.6 range.

Now, overall he will likely fall a bit further than he originally could have gone if he posted a better 40 time. However, much like Florida LB Brandon Spikes last year, who fell into the second round because of his slow 40-time, I could see Ayers end up having the same type of instant impact once he gets to the next level.

"Instant impact." Haven't Giants fans been waiting forever for the team to draft an "instant impact" linebacker? I watch the clip of Ayers below and I see a football player. I see a guy who can make plays sideline to sideline. I see a guy with positional versatility, who can line up on both sides both as a linebacker and with his hand in the dirt. I see a player who runs plenty well enough to drop into coverage. I see a player who seems to make pretty good breaks on the ball and who can work his way through traffic to make a play. Granted, you shouldn't judge a player off one YouTube clip. There is a lot there to like, though.

Most of all, I see a guy who played a true 4-3 outside linebacker position at UCLA -- not a 3-4 'athlete' who is being 'projected' as a 4-3 outside linebacker. Whatever quibbles anyone has with Ayers he is still the top-rated linebacker on the board and a guy who provides the Giants an immediate upgrade at the weakest spot on their defense.


Here is another reason I went with Ayers rather than Solder. Looking at the current Giants' roster, which player do you have more faith in at this point -- Will Beatty or Clint Sintim? I still believe Beatty can emerge as a quality player, possibly filling that left tackle role the Giants drafted him for. Sintim? I haven't seen any evidence of him becoming a play-making linebacker yet.

The Giants have not drafted a linebacker No. 1 since Carl Banks in 1984. Breaking that trend with Ayers, especially the way this mock draft has worked out, seems to me like the right move. Considering all the complaints about Giants' linebacking the past couple of years I will be very interested to see how those of you who disagree with this choice -- and I know there will be many -- frame your arguments.

Round 1

Pos Team Player Pos School Drafter
1 Carolina Cam Newton
QB
Auburn
Tito
2 Denver Nick Fairley
DT
Auburn
Mike Fiammetta
3 Buffalo Patrick Peterson
CB
LSU
Bigbluethruandthru
4 Cincinnati Blaine Gabbert
QB
Missouri
BitterEli
5 Arizona Von Miller
OLB
Texas A&M
gmen2thebowl
6 Cleveland Marcell Dareus
DL
Alabama
Bobely
7 San Francisco
A.J. Green
WR
Georgia
Pat19
8 Tennessee Da'Quan Bowers DE
Clemson
RealLT
9 Dallas
Prince Amukamara
CB
Nebraska
Simms-McConkey
10 Washington Julio Jones
WR
Alabama
jcalafiore
11 Houston
Robert Quinn
DE/OLB
North Carolina
daddyzander
12 Minnesota Tyron Smith
OT
USC
RolloT
13 Detroit Anthony Castonzo
OT
Boston College
Ed Valentine
14 St. Louis
Aldon Smith
DE
Missouri
GiantNomad
15 Miami
Mark Ingram
RB
Alabama
HenneGivenSunday
16 Jacksonville Cameron Jordan
DE
California
ct17
17 New England
Mike Pouncey
OG/C
Florida
Ryan Valentine
18 San Diego
J.J. Watt
DE
Wisconsin
Anthony P
19 N.Y. Giants Akeem Ayers
OLB
UCLA
Ed Valentine
20 Tampa Bay



willgfass
21 Kansas City



The Blood Of Eli
22 Indianapolis


dannymac56
23 Philadelphia


JimmyK
24 New Orleans



Charles L.
25 Seattle


Ejaay
26 Baltimore


LarrySoprano
27 Atlanta


pataroons
28 New England



Ryan Valentine?
29 Chicago


You're my boy, Blue
30 New York Jets



PlaxicoBurress
31 Pittsburgh


stephen_ross
32 Green Bay



NYG28

Round 2

Pos Team Player Pos School Drafter
33 New England



Ryan Valentine?
34 Buffalo


Bigbluethruandthru
35 Cincinnati


BitterEli
36 Denver



Mike Fiammetta
37 Cleveland


Bobely
38 Arizona



gmen2thebowl
39 Tennessee


RealLT
40 Dallas


Simms-McConkey
41 Washington


jcalafiore
42 Houston


daddyzander
43 Minnesota


RolloT
44 Detroit


BigBlueIntervention
45 San Francisco



Pat19
46 Denver



Mike Fiammetta
47 St. Louis



GiantNomad
48 Oakland


G Fan In England
49 Jacksonville



ct17
50 San Diego



Anthony P
51 Tampa Bay



willgfass
52 N.Y. Giants


Ed Valentine
53 Indianapolis



dannymac56
54 Philadelphia


JImmyK
55 Kansas City



The Blood Of Eli
56 New Orleans



Charles L.
57 Seattle


Ejaay
58 Baltimore


LarrySoprano
59 Atlanta


pataroons
60 New England



Ryan Valentine?
61 San Diego



Anthony P
62 Chicago



You're my boy, Blue
63 Pittsburgh


stephen_ross
64 Green Bay



NYG28
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