Well. That championship game was fun. The last week and a half of football (college and NFL) has been absolutely glorious. We had a number of actually competent BCS games - including the best championship game since the USC/UT game in 06 - and 3 of the most insane and entertaining NFL wild card games. Why can't every week of football be this fun? Anyways, let's get down to business. The Giants won the last two games of the season and were gifted with the #12 pick in the draft. Sadly I was hoping for a #10 pick but beggars cannot be choosers. My other three drafts are in the fanposts somewhere so if you want, feel free to peruse those.
On with the show!
Round 1, Pick 12 - Kahlil Mack, OLB Buffalo
I studied economics in college. One of the key tenets of econ - and by extension business - is for maximization. When holding all else equal, you find the spot where you stand to gain the most by making an upgrade. To me, this means attacking the LB corps. Invictus wrote a stellar article about the Giants PFF grades as a whole. Two or three positions come forward above all others in regards to needed upgrades, One...the LB corps. Two...the defensive backs. And three...the offensive line. All three of those spots are in need of serious upgrading. BUT, and this to me is where the maximization tenet comes into play, not all upgrades mean the same. Of those three spots, only LB gives us most likely the largest increase in value.
At DB, you are looking to replace the #2 DB. Not your #1. While this is obviously important, you are not banking on this player coming in and going head to head with Dez on the reg. That job falls to Prince. The value for the #2 corner spot is simply not as important. At OL, if you pick an OT at #12 (the only logical choice because neither guards nor centers are top 15 selections)you are banking on either replacing Beatty or Pugh. Beatty had a wretched '13. He also had a stellar 2012. Which is the real Beatty? Most likely somewhere in between. Most importantly, the Giants are paying Beatty a large sum of money to be the LT for the foreseeable future. To replace him would show not only a lack of faith in personnel, but also make the FO and coaches look bad. Pugh was also solid at RT and our best linemen all year. Keeping him at RT makes sense. Therefore, picking up a tackle this early makes little to no sense given the makeup of the line. The interior needs work first. OT second.
That therefore leaves LB. PFF rated no one in the LB corps well. Rivers was the best...at a shade above +0. Beason was the worst. Both Paysinger and Williams are not 3 down LB. Adding someone like Mack, who can rush the QB, play in coverage, and cause massive issues along the front will make a huge difference to the team. The Giants have been missing defensive pressure the last two years. Adding a pass rusher will allow the Giants to play better in the backfield as they will not have to cover for 5-6 seconds on the reg. This in turn will cause more turnovers and shorter possessions. Mack would make the most substantial addition to this team. When it comes to 1st round picks, that is most important.
Other potential picks: Justin Gilbert, DB OSU, Cyrus Kouandijo, OT Alabama
Round 2 - Gabe Jackson , G Miss St
Before this mock, I kept stating that the if the Giants went Lb in round 1, they'd go DB in round 2...or vice versa. I don't completely agree with that. After round 1, it makes the most sense to go for the best player available at a position of need. To me, that means OL here. Most of the top DB talent will be gone. Gilbert and Dennard at this point will be gone. On the other hand, due to sheer volume, a ton of good linemen will be around at this spot for the choosing. Jackson is the best run blocking guard of the bunch. The Giants, coincidentally, have a David Diehl sized hole at guard to fill. Run blocking has been a serious issue the last two seasons. Rectifying that issue will go a long way in fixing the issues that plagued the offense from week 1 through week 17.
Other potential picks: Zack Martin, G Notre Dame, Jason Verrett, DB TCU
Round 3 - Loucheiz Purifoy, DB Florida
The draft is a cruel beast sometimes. It helps players who have had great years become noticed and then drafted. It can also crush some hearts due and make some look at themselves and figure out what the hell went wrong. Purifoy fits right into the latter. He was seen as one of the best corners going into 2013. Instead, he sat out a game for rules violations and then completely underperformed. He is one of the bigger "what could have been" DB's in this draft. Had he had a similar 2013 to 2012, he would be a top 20 selection easily. He didn't. Well, his loss is our gain. Purifoy is one of the best cover corners in the draft. Florida consistently left him on an island and for the most part, Purifoy succeeded. While he looked overmatched against FSU and LSU, Purifoy was a straight beast against Arkansas; a strip sack and a pick six in the game. He is one of the most physical corners in the game and would fit the Giants scheme very well.
Other potential picks: Shayne Skov, LB Stanford, Kyle Fuller, DB Virginia Tech
Round 4 - Deone Bucannon, S Washington State
The Giants could be without both Rolle and Will Hill next year. Our best defensive unit could become one of our weaker ones in the span of a few months. Deone is a hard-hitting safety who could come in and take over for Rolle in a heartbeat. His coverage skills are not the greatest (like Rolle) but he is a hard-hitter (also like Rolle) who's NFL calling card will most likely be his run-stopping and tackling ability (again...like Rolle). Bucannon has seen his stock sore this year though. He was voted to the AP First Team for safety and honestly...his hitting has hit legend levels at WSU. For a defense that could be without its two heaviest hitters, scoring someone like Bucannon would be a serious get.
Round 5 - Wesley Johnson, OL Vanderbilt
Wesley has played every meaningful snap for Vanderbilt since arriving in 2010. In those four years has has played four positions; left tackle, right tackle, center, and left guard. This year he played every snap as Vanderbilt's left tackle protecting the blindside and heard his name called on the AP All SEC first team. While a smaller prospect (6-5 height...and 290 pounds!!!) Johnson's versatility makes him a highly desirable player in the later rounds. In my opinion, he would be a better version of Kevin Boothe. Something I would love.
Round 6 - Kevin Norwood, WR Alabama
Nicks will most likely be back. Thankfully with the emergence of Jernigan, the need for a top flight WR is tempered. Norwood has the makings of a good possession receiver and therefore a solid 3rd down outlet for Eli.
There you have it. Let me know how you like it or hate it!