'Raptor' and 'Invictus' each did their own New York Giants-only 2014 NFL Mock Drafts and I couldn't resist adding in my own two cents. I'll use the same structure 'Invictus' used, which is I'll choose a big board and make picks of players only who are rated between the Giants current round pick and their next round pick. In other words, I can't pick any player in the top 11 at 12th overall. I'm going to use The Great Blue North Report big board because it's the highest-rated big board over the last five years from the Huddle Report top 100 challenge that has more than a 100 prospects listed; Milwaukee Sentinel NFL writer Bob McGinn actually has the most accurate big board every year and every draft fan should read his take on input from scouts on the top 30ish players -- it's good stuff.
This is a combination of what I think the Giants will do and what I would do, but leaning more towards a direction I think the Giants might take.
Round 1 (12th) - Eric Ebron, TE, UNC
To me, from the Giants perspective I think there are three realistic targets and then everyone else. Those targets to me are OT Taylor Lewan, WR Mike Evans, and TE Eric Ebron (in that order).
Obviously other picks are in play and I think if these players are all gone in a worst-case scenario the Giants will consider players like OL Zack Martin, LB/DE Anthony Barr, DE Kony Ealy, and OT Cyrus Kouandjio (if their medical checkshowed no problems with his knee he's every bit as good as D.J. Fluker last year -- whom they reportedly had a ton of interest in) and possibly others. My gut feeling (read wild speculation) is that Giants fans like Donald a whole lot more than the Giants do and that he's not going to be the pick, but we shall see in time.
Based on the big board I'm using the only one who is available is Ebron. Ebron would give the Giants stability and talent at the tight end position that they haven't had since Shockey. Ebron also gives the Giants a much-needed red-zone presence, for a team that had little success in that area last year and it seems often with Gilbride it could use a big target like Ebron.
Here's what a scout quoted by Bob McGinn in the article mentioned above said about Ebron:
He can probably do a little bit more than Tyler Eifert (last year)," one scout said. "He's athletic. He can challenge deep. He's not a great bulky guy but he'll block. Watch him against Clowney. He didn't win but he wasn't afraid. He's (Rob) Gronkowski-like, but he's a lot smoother than Gronkowski."
Round 2 (43rd) - Kareem Martin, DE, UNC
Martin is a guy who hasn't got a ton of publicity, but he's a guy who does profile well with what the Giants generally look for at defensive end. I know the signing of Robert Ayers leaves the Giants less vulnerable at defensive end than perhaps at defensive tackle, so the pick here for me was between Martin and Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley.
But Martin profiles well with what the Giants have looked for in defensive ends. Martin is 6-foot-6, 272 pounds with 35-inch arms and 10-inch hands. The Giants have a reputation as a team who draft "freaks" at defensive end, but that's not necessarily true. JPP ran a 4.71 40-yard dash, Damontre Moore ran his 40 with a sun dial (4.9+), Justin Tuck ran a 4.71 40. Martin ran a 4.72 40, but showed a ton of explosion with a 129" broad jump (Moore also had an impressive broad jump) which was better than all defensive linemen (yes, that includes Clowney).
What the Giants HAVE consistently been drawn to more than speed in their defensive ends is LENGTH, and Martin offers plenty of that. He also played in the ACC and had a very productive year with 82 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks.
Round 3 (74th) - Ja'wuan James, OL, Tennessee
This pick was difficult for me to make because there were a number of players I really liked here, including wide receivers Paul Richardson out of Colorado, Jarvis Landry from LSU and Martavis Bryant out of Clemson, but I couldn't pass on James. Nolan Nawrocki (writing the NFL.com profiles this year) says of James:
Big, strong, heavy pass protector with good balance, anchor strength and hand use to handle power and speed. Does not affect the run game the same way and almost appears more destined for the left side in the pros. Has instant-starter potential.
I know there is a potential need for another receiver to play the X spot, but I think the Giants really need to address tight end or No. 1 WR with Mike Evans or Ebron and then hope that either Rueben Randle or Adrien Robinson steps up and makes big plays. Addressing both tight end and wide receiver in the first three rounds could leave the offensive line and defensive line with serious depth problems. James is good value here and the Giants find a potential starter at left or right tackle, which lets them move Pugh wherever he needs to go this year or next when Chris Snee is expected to retire, or if Will Beatty can't regain his 2012 form.
Round 4 (113th) - Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
The reason I continued to pass on wide receivers early in favor of addressing the trenches is A) because I believe the Giants can win with Cruz, Randle, Jernigan as their wide receiver trio (as long as they have a dynamic tight end) and B) the depth at wide receiver in this class is ridiculous. Here in the fourth round the Giants are drafting a 6-6, 225 pound-receiver who has the potential of a No. 1 receiver and at the very least can be a guy who can play outside as an "X" to let Cruz work more in the slot.
Christian Jones was of heavy consideration here as well.
Round 5 (145th) - Michael Sam, DE/LB, Missouri
This is my "out of the box" selection. Sam was a terrific pass rusher at Missouri, but is a tweener at the NFL level. Unfortunately, "tweener," as much as "character concern" is a label no prospect wants to have. I'm not drafting Sam expecting the greatest player in the league in the fifth round, I'm drafting him hoping that he can be a quality special teamer and make the kind of impact that Moore made on special teams last year. Sam is a very hard worker on the field who never stops moving and has some pass rush skill. He also could be a guy who could back up at SAM linebacker in a pinch. None of the other linebackers in this range excite me and the Giants could use another linebacker type who can play special teams and a guy who offers situational pass rusher at the next level. As for him being gay, I think that's a non-issue in the Giants' locker room.
Round 5 compensatory (174th) - Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
This is the type of running back gem the Giants have found in the later stages of the draft under Jerry Reese. McKinnon is 5-9, 209 pounds, but ran a 4.41 40-yard dash and finished as a top performer in his position in every combine drill. McKinnon was a quarterback, cornerback, and tailback in college at different times. He's another guy who should help on special teams, and hopefully showcases enough to kick Peyton Hillis off the roster and the Giants can roll with a Rashad Jennings, David Wilson, McKinnon, Henry Hynoski, John Conner, and Michael Cox backfield.
Round 6 (187th) - Jason Bromley, DT, Syracuse
If I was going to cheat I'd go back and change the fifth-round pick of Mckinnon to Florida State center Bryon Stork and grab a few running backs who are still available here like Storm Johnson, Marion Grice, or Isaiah Crowell. But I'll take Bromley here. He is a player who flashes starter potential, but not with consistency. The Giants could use another body at defensive tackle to push Markus Kuhn and protection against injury. The Cullen Jenkins, Johnathan Hankins, Kuhn, Mike Patterson group is solid, but not spectacular. An injury would make things interesting.
I was trying to project here a path of what I think the Giants might do more so than what I would personally do, but it's something I'd be pretty happy with. Going through this and through the depth chart of the Giants I feel there are still depth problems that are not going to be answered when the draft is over. To me the only position without a plan "B" right now is tight end. At the moment it's Adrien Robinson or bust and that's scary. The offensive line has question marks, but there are a lot of bodies on the roster to compete for playing time. That's why I think tight end in the first round makes sense for the Giants.
Strong side linebacker is another area of concern, but only if McClain doesn't pan out or is injured. If that happens the Giants could be looking at just using more three-safety sets and using Ayers/Kiwi/draft pick in a joker role.
"X" receiver is a bit shaky too, but Randle was drafted to be that guy if Nicks left which is why I think if Evans isn't there at 12 they won't force the pick in Round 2. Randle just needs to step up.
Center is also dicey, but in general if you draft a guy who is just a center it's a risky draft pick where if you draft a guy who is a tackle and he fails you could get something out of him at guard.