Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech.
OK, I have made you guys wait long enough. Morgan is my choice here for one incredibly simple reason -- he is the best defensive player on the board right now. That's all there is to it.
You all know by now that Alabama middle linebacker Rolando McClain is THE GUY I really want in this spot. I seriously doubt the Giants will trade up (GM Jerry Reese loves his draft picks too much). So, if you are on the McClain bandwagon all you can do is hope he is there at No. 15.
If McClain is not there, as happened in this mock draft, I believe strongly that if the Giants stay at 15 they simply have to select the best defensive player available. In this draft, that is clearly Morgan.
I know this goes against the grain of the results of the poll I ran Sunday, in which Morgan placed fourth with just eight percent of the vote. Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was the clear favorite there, gathering 29% of the votes. He was followed by 'Free's' favorite, running back C.J. Spiller (17%).
I have to be completely honest here. Spiller was never on my radar, and still isn't. I personally don't care how much of a game-breaker he might be I don't like taking running backs in the first round. Good ones are a dime a dozen, the Giants already have several and they need a ton of help on the defensive side of the football. If you can block, you can run.
The way this draft shook out there was only one offensive player who could have tempted me. And that possibility went out the window when 'RIPShea' took Iowa offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga with the 13th pick. After that my mind was made up -- this pick simply had to be defense.
Why not Weatherspoon? Look, no one has to tell me the Giants need to -- at the very least -- provide competition for Jonathan Goff. I simply don't think Weatherspoon is the right guy at 15. He would be a big-time reach at this spot, and he isn't even a true middle linebacker. He is a WILL who can probably play in the middle. That's not a risk I want to take with what will be a very important selection for the Giants. Does Reese disagree with me? He might. I just think there are several starting caliber middle linebackers who could be taken later.
I was also criticized for not including Brandon Graham in Sunday's poll. He is another guy who is not on my radar for the Giants, mostly since many of the reports I have seen on him indicate he is a 3-4 outside linebacker and not a true 4-3 defensive end.
For me, the choice came down to Morgan or UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price. I think I have been consistent in my belief that the Giants need to add help at defensive tackle, and Price is the best tackle on the board. I was tempted enough, in fact, that I started to write this with Price as the choice and changed my mind.
Again being as honest as I can, faced with this choice it would not surprise me if the Giants elected to trade down and accumulate an additional draft choice or two. I would not be critical of the Giants if they did that at all, provided they are able to stay in the bottom half of the first round somewhere. In fact, I love the idea. There are any number of players available the Giants could find useful, and extra picks are always nice.
Morgan is a top 10 talent on most boards, and is the best defensive player available according to almost every service I have been able to find. Price is a very good player and could without doubt fill the role Fred Robbins occupied before his knee surgery. He just is not as good a player as Morgan.
Here is what SB Nation's Mocking The Draft wrote about Morgan -- a report I used in a Prospect Profile a few weeks ago.
Top notch edge rusher that can win the battles time after time with the explosion that gives him the free outside shoulder. ... Relentless in pursuit of the ball carrier.
Played end on both sides, even saw time inside the guard. The quickness off the snap and consistent technique allows him to excel at any spot along the defensive line.
Morgan is by far the most versatile defensive end in this draft class, but the talent is right there to match it. He has the ideal frame, measurables, technique, and attitude for life in the trenches. ... It is rare to come by such a talented prospect that understands the importance of technique and work ethic. If he is put in to a system that allows him to move around and exploit matchup problems, Morgan can turn in to an All-Pro very soon.
Can the Giants really use another defensive end? I think the answer is yes, a whole lot more than you think. We know all about Osi Umenyiora's unhappiness. A pick like this would give the Giants the option of unloading Osi and adding, say, an additional second-round pick. Even if Osi returns, how much do you want him on the field if he plays like he did in 2009? Personally, I don't want to watch that again.
As for Mathias Kiwanuka, he is a free agent after next season. I love Kiwi, and the Giants love Kiwi but the guy wants to be and deserves to be a a full-fledged starter. If Osi is still a Giant (he is signed for three more years) that will not happen. So, either Osi goes now or Kiwi goes later. Maybe, just maybe, both go anyway.
Add to that the fact that Justin Tuck is coming off shoulder surgery and there have to be questions about him -- at least right now.
Remember also that drafting a player is not just about the coming season. It is about the long-term good of the team. And long-term Morgan profiles to be a better player than Price, and to have a significant role on the Giants defense.
For me, that makes him the right choice.
'Json' is now on the clock with Tennessee's selection.
|1||St. Louis||Sam Bradford||QB||Oklahoma||Soldier_
|3||Tampa Bay||Gerald McCoy||DT||Oklahoma||i_formation27|
|4||Washington||Russell Okung||OT||Oklahoma State||G Fan in England
|5||Kansas City||Eric Berry||S||Tennessee||ronjohnson|
|6||Seattle||Jimmy Clausen||QB||Notre Dame||CCE718|
|7||Cleveland||Dez Bryant||WR||Oklahoma State||GreatGatsby|
|9||Buffalo||Dan Williams||DT||Tennessee||The Greek|
|12||Miami||Jerry Hughes||DE/OLB||Texas Christian||sunlion333|
|13||San Francisco||Bryan Bulaga||OT||Iowa||RIPShea|
|14||Seattle||Trent Williams||OT||Oklahoma||Ed V.|
|15||N.Y. Giants||Derrick Morgan||DE||Georgia Tech
|22||New England||Ryan Valentine|
|23||Green Bay||Dan Luibil|