The 2014 NFL Draft is still two months away, and NFL Free Agency officially starts in eight days. With those things in mind let's look around the Inter-Google at a collection of NFL mock drafts and see if there is any consensus of opinion on what the New York Giants might do this May.
We begin with the latest mock draft SB Nation's Mocking The Draft, this one a two-round effort from Matthew Fairburn. In this week's mock draft, Fairburn has the Giants selecting North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron with the 12th pick of the first round, and gives them South Florida defensive end Aaron Lynch in the second round, 43rd overall.
On the Ebron pick, Fairburn writes:
New York addressed the offensive line in the draft last offseason, and this draft is deep enough to wait until the second day to do so this time around. Instead, the Giants should look to add another weapon for Eli Manning. Eric Ebron is the most dynamic tight end in this class, and his speed and body control are excellent for his size. Maybe Ebron could inject some life into the Giants' offense.
On the Lynch pick, Fairburn writes:
The Giants have long had one of the best groups of defensive ends in the NFL. In order to keep that going, it's time for New York to re-tool a bit. Aaron Lynch is a bit of a project, but the Giants could ease him into a starting role before long.
Not knowing at this point if the Giants will sign a tight end in free agency (ahem, paging Jermichael Finley) I don't think anyone would be shocked if Ebron, the best tight end in the draft and maybe the best receiving threat who will be on the board at No. 12, was the pick.
As for the Lynch selection in the second round, I can't kill Fairburn for the choices of a defensive end -- especially if Justin Tuck leaves as a free agent. But Lynch? He is ranked No. 90 on the Big Blue View Big Board and much lower than that on several other big boards I looked at. This is reportedly a deep, talented draft and there is no reason to reach for anybody. This pick not only feels like a reach, but like the kind of project/gamble type selection Giants' co-owner John Mara said this offseason that the team has been burned on several times in recent years.
More Mock Drafts
Let's look around at some of the other recent mock drafts and see what analysts might do in they were in the shoes of Giants' GM Jerry Reese.
Draft Tek -- Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The pick makes sense for the Giants because there no sure bets to be a starter opposite the blossoming Prince Amukamara. Jerry Reese also places an emphasis on secondary players. In his tenure as G.M., Reese has selected secondary players in the first round three times (Ross 2007, Phillips 2008, and Amukamara 2011). Offensive line is the biggest need but expect the Giants to address that in free agency. It also appears that there is a better-than-expected chance that both Chris Snee and David Bass may be back provided they take pay cuts. The other intriguing option here is Mike Evans, who Tony Pauline has said is a "real possibility" if they don't go offensive line.
Fox Sports (Schrager) -- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The Giants took Justin Pugh in the first round last year. They've got Will Beatty on a big contract, too. I still think they go offensive line with the 12th pick. If needed, Pugh can move inside to guard. Matthews was being discussed as a top-5 pick after the college football season. I still think he goes Top 15.
CBS Sports (Kirwan) -- Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Donald is a one-gap penetrator who has a motor like Hall of Fame DT John Randle. Donald's combine performance was off the charts and his 89 plays behind the line of scrimmage in three years speaks for itself.
CBS Sports (Prisco) -- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Have you watched their linebackers play? They need to get more speed.
CBS Sports (Brugler) -- Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The Giants need to address their pass rush and pass defense this offseason, the bread and butter of the teams that won the Super Bowl two of the last six years. Dennard isn't the fastest and needs to control his aggressive nature downfield, but he works hard to gain positioning and blankets receivers with his physicality.
CBS Sports (Rang) -- Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Protecting Eli Manning should be priority No. 1 in New York and given the way the Giants' offensive line has played this season it wouldn't be surprising if general manager Jerry Reese invested multiple picks in reinforcements. A four-year starter with good length, strength and nastiness in his play, Lewan would be a good start.
NFL.com (Jeremiah) -- Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Lewan is consistent on tape and he put together an outstanding combine workout.
USA Today (Davis) -- Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Getting after quarterbacks has won the Giants two titles since 2007. They need to get back to that formula while facing the prospect of losing DE Justin Tuck a year after Osi Umenyiora walked. Jason Pierre-Paul's injury issues also underscore the need for a talent like Ealy.
Sporting News (Eric Galko, Optimum Scouting) -- Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Deciding between a linebacker (a long-time need) or a top offensive tackle will be tough, especially with Taylor Lewan of Michigan on the board at this point. But with William Beatty struggling as much as he did this year and David Diehl retiring, Lewan is too talented to pass on.
CNNSI (Burke) -- Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The Giants happily would take this scenario. Put Dennard with Prince Amukamara at corner and their secondary would be set to contend with just about any passing attack it comes across.