IXI's Mock New York Giants' Offseason, Part IV: The 2014 NFL Draft

Giants are eager to see what talent they can add through the 2014 NFL draft - USA TODAY Sports

This is a four-part series where Invictus XI takes over as GM of the New York Giants and takes you through how he would aim to fix what's broken. Part IV takes you through a mock draft that completes the team and this series.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This is the final part of our series, where we make one last infusion of talent into this New York Giant team. The draft is so celebrated because it unofficially marks a new year. A new year filled with hope, with dreams of holding the Lombardi trophy at the beginning of February. Every team believes that they got the next Darrelle Revis, or Peyton Manning, or Demarcus Ware.

The Giant drafts of late have been uneven at best. We could point to drafting ability. We could point to coaching and development. We could point to injury. In any case, with your old pal IXI as GM, I don't care, I'm going to give you a 2014 draft class of your dreams. Well, maybe not, but hell, I'll give it a shot.

I have projected the Giants to be picking around 8th or 9th in each round.

Round 1

Mike Evans, WR Texas A&M.

I know what you're thinking. Invictus, there's so many holes on this roster, surely Randle and Cruz are enough. I don't know about that. A large issue was the diminished role of Hakeem Nicks. Manning forced a lot of balls to both Cruz and Randle and the results were not pretty. Evans is a massive 6-foot-5, 225-pound wide receiver who can line up inside or out. His greatest strength is his catching ability, catch radius, and body control. Given that Manning routinely throws outside of the target window and shoots high, these characteristics are crucial for a wide receiver to succeed. Evans is not a traditional burner, but his physicality at the point gives his instant separation ability and will win those jump balls that Eli likes to throw.

Some may compare him to Ramses Barden simply because of the height, but the two are not comparable. Evans far outpaces Barden in leaping ability and body control, and is much more favorably looked to as the next Alshon Jeffery. With Hakeem Nicks gone, Eli Manning now has two possession wide receivers in Victor Cruz and Evans to go along with a deeper threat in Randle. It's about giving Eli no excuse not to succeed. Sammy Watkins is likely gone by this point and Evans is more pro-ready in my opinion.

Round 2

Jace Amaro, TE Texas Tech

Two receiving threats in the top two rounds? Invictus, are you nuts? Probably, yes. Amaro is a monstrosity. At this point, he's definitely BPA (I know some of you hate me with just that word). There are questions whether he'd be a good fit in Kevin Gilbride's offense, but if I'm the GM, Gilbride isn't going to be here. And If I had my druthers, I'd hire Joe Lombardi from the New Orleans Saints to be his successor. Interestingly enough, one of Lombardi's players is the NFL comparison many use for Amaro. That would be, of course, Jimmy Graham.

Amaro could be more aggressive in his blocks and doesn't actively go downfield as blocker, but he has experience as an inline blocker. He has far more experience as a slot wide receiver nd provides another huge target for Manning. Similar to Evans, Amaro presents a catch radius the size of Jerryworld so it will be exceedingly difficult for Eli to overthrow him.

Amaro, Eric Ebron, and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins are the 3 elite 1st round caliber tight ends in this draft. How often do you see three tight ends go in the first round, though? One will be available in the second for the Giants to pick, and I think it will be Amaro.

Round 3

James Hurst, OG North Carolina

This may be the Giants getting lucky, my friends, but for this mock, I'm going to go ahead and say Hurst is available at this juncture in the top of the third round. I know some of you will be upset at waiting until the third round to select an offensive lineman, but not many know how many elite offensive line prospects are available in this draft. Especially guard and hybrid tackle/guard prospects. These are all of the prospects I've given a top three grade on.

Top 15 - Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan

Round 1 - Gabe Jackson, Cyrus Kouandijo, Greg Robinson, La'el Collins, David Yankey, Cyril Richardson

Round 2 - Cameron Erving, James Hurst, Antonio Richardson, Zack Martin, Xavier Su'a-Filo

Round 3 - Anthony Steen, Tre Jackson

That's 13 players that have at least second-round grades from me. Thirteen! Now I'm sure one of the first-round guys like Richardson or Collins could be available for the Giants second-round pick, but I just saw a much, much larger drop off from Amaro to the fourth tight end than I did from the first round OG/OTs to the second-round guys. Honestly not a big difference at all.

Now back to Hurst. Playing for UNC, he was flawless against Jadeveon Clowney and was a powerful, aggressive blocker. He is tall for a guard, at 6-foot-6, 305 pounds, but he's got that same sort of versatility that Justin Pugh has. Both can switch between each position depending on where Hurst succeeds, but there is zero doubt in my mind that he can be a starting caliber player in the league.

This is what I meant by ridding Baas because he presented a "philosophical block." I don't think Baas is anything special in terms of what he can bring to the table, and you just know he's going into 2014 as a lame duck player who will prevent Hurst and Mosley from getting playing time and developing into powerful assets for the future.

Should I have not been greedy and been safe and taken interior offensive line in the first or second round? Possibly. But this is one legitimate way of doing it, I think.

Round 4

Jackson Jeffcoat, DE University of Texas.

This is where I start upsetting people. Another defensive end? Really? In my humble opinion, I think it's pretty necessary for the future. In this series, Mathias Kiwanuka has been cut, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul are both free agents after the year, and Damontre Moore is still an unknown. I would have preferably like to have added another defensive end via free agency, but the finances did not work in that favor. Jeffcoat is a special player, and is incredibly underrated at this point in time. As draft season rolls on into February and March, Jeffcoat's name will be bandied about among the top defensive ends in this draft class. He was just awarded the 2013 Ted Hendricks Award given to the nation's top defensive end as well as the Associated Press' Big 10 defensive player of the year after coming off a 12 sack, 21 TFL season.

At this point in time, Jeffcoat is a steal at the top of the fourth round. He is a pure pass rusher weighing in at 6-5, 255 pounds with very good length. For a team that lacks top end sack masters since Pierre-Paul's 2011 effort, he will be a welcome addition. He would  likely redshirt the 2014 season, learning behind Moore, Tuck, and Pierre-Paul, but will be ready to be unleashed off the edge in 2015 when Tuck is no longer with the team.

Round 5

Kenny Ladler, FS Vanderbilt.

Kenny Ladler is an interesting prospect. He was poised to be one of the top safeties in the nation in 2012, but fell back a bit in 2013. Nobody really knows why, but the talented safety had some issues in pass coverage. Despite this, he's an impact player any way you look at it, notching five interceptions and 5 forced fumbles this season. He's built like a tank at 6-1, 205 pounds and doesn't shy away from contact. He's an excellent run defender and has excellent closing speed.

Adding Ladler shores up the Giant secondary with a high upside prospect behind Stevie Brown, Ryan Mundy, Will Hill, and Cooper Taylor. If Ladler shows enough, he could easily win a spot in the rotation. Is certain to be an impact special teams player with his aggressiveness and confidence.

Round 6

Ronald Powell, OLB University of Florida.

A linebacker! Ron Powell is someone most people have likely not heard of, but should. He's got a medical red flag for a torn ACL in 2012, but that's about the only thing that I can find wrong about him. He has the physical talent of a first-round pick, lining up as a 6-4, 248 pounds beast that reportedly runs a 4.6 40-yard dash. An ideal 4-3 SAM, Powell began his career as a rush linebacker and developed a small pass rush repertoire that makes him an effective blitzer. He understands contain, and can effectively crash his side. He's got very good movement skills that I'd rate better than his teammate Jon Bostic, who went in the second round to Chicago Bears. He is not a big risk in the sixth round, and has the upside of a starter that can take over for Keith Rivers and Spencer Paysinger and be a solid upgrade on the strong side.

Round 7

Pick traded to Carolina Panthers for linebacker Jon Beason

Summary

A quick and dirty summary from all four parts of this series for those of you who are averse to reading:

2014 Cap Space: ~$50,000

2015 Cap Space: Over $32.5 million.

New additions, starters, and key backups:

QB

Eli Manning

Ryan Nassib

RB

David Wilson

Andre Brown

Michael Cox

FB

John Conner

Henry Hynoski

WR

Victor Cruz

Mike Evans

Rueben Randle

Jerrel Jernigan

TE

Jace Amaro

Adrien Robinson

Larry Donnell

OT

Will Beatty

Justin Pugh

OG

James Hurst

Brandon Mosley

Kevin Boothe

James Brewer

OC

Brian De La Puente

Jim Cordle

DE

Jason Pierre-Paul

Damontre Moore

Justin Tuck

Jackson Jeffcoat

DT

Linval Joseph

Jonathan Hankins

Cullen Jenkins

Mike Patterson

LB

Ronald Powell

Jon Beason

Jacquian Williams

Spencer Paysinger

Keith Rivers

CB

Prince Amukamara

Tarell Brown

Jayron Hosley

Trumaine McBride

Terrell Thomas

S

Stevie Brown

Will Hill

Cooper Taylor

Ryan Mundy

Kenny Ladler

K/P/LS

Josh Brown

Steve Weatherford

Zak DeOssie

Essentially, what I've tried to do is fix the weak spots. The offensive line is completely rebuilt. I'm banking on a bounce back season from left tackle Will Beatty, as Brian De La Puente mans the center, James Hurst is the right guard, and Justin Pugh continues his ascent at right tackle. The left guard position will be a battle between Brewer, Mosley, and Boothe. The winner should be serviceable enough.

Hurst, Beatty (historically, maybe not in 2013), De La Puente and Pugh are all strong pass protectors. That should keep Eli upright. Eli also gets a gigantic boost to the passing game. He will have two huge genetically engineered beasts running routes for him at 6-5 while the shifty Victor Cruz and smooth Rueben Randle reprise their roles.

Hopefully there is a new scheme in place that let's these guys run simple routes and win their one on one battles because that's what all of these individual guys do best. They are scheme busters and will make the Giant 3 WR-1 TE-1RB set a fearful one to deal with. The addition of Amaro with Robinson and/or Donnell could make more 2 TE sets possible. Amaro can even split out wide and the Giants could run with 5 wide sets. Lots of functional versatility with this revamped passing group. Eli will have time for those developing routes too hopefully!

At cornerback, the Giants have two bonafide starting caliber players with strong depth at both nickel and outside. At the expense of dead money, players that were hindering development of the team such as Mathias Kiwanuka and David Baas are now gone, as are stalwart scapegoats David Diehl and Corey Webster.

Eli Manning has essentially 2014 to prove that he deserves a new contract extension with the team. If he cannot, his release would save the Giants $19.5 million in 2015 and his successor would have upwards of $52 million to create an even larger talent infusion at that point.

There are holes, I cannot deny that.

Running back scares me the most and it is the one area I could not address, so I must sit and pray that someone develops and turns out to be a contributor. Linebacker is always a consistent concern and the hope is that Jon Beason's legs are up to the challenge. I did say that the Giants would possibly need two years to get back into serious contention. The offensive line may still need more work, who knows. That may still hold true, but I'd say this is a start in the right direction.

Manning has no excuse with this team not to succeed. The defense remains relatively stable, the loss of Antrel Rolle made up by the return of Jason Pierre-Paul's health, Stevie Brown, Ronald Powell, Kenny Ladler and Tarell Brown.

A big thank you to www.overthecap.com. Without their resources, I could not have possibly even attempted this.

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