We begin, as always, with the weekly mock draft from SB Nation's Mocking The Draft. This week, MTD turned over its mock to SB Nation football writer Ryan Van Bibber, and Van Bibber did what an increasing number of analysts think Giants' GM Jerry Reese will do on Thursday. Van Bibber selected Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin for the Giants with the 12th overall pick. Van Bibber writes:
Everything about the Giants roster just feels ... decrepit. That's not necessarily true from position to position, but if they want to squeeze anymore out of the aging parts of the roster, mostly Eli Manning, they need to surround them with young talent. Martin can play almost anywhere on the offensive line.
Now, let's look at some of the other updated mock drafts around the Inter-Google:
Ourlads -- Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame
Four-year starter at left tackle. Two-year captain who projects inside at guard but will get a chance to play on the edge first. Plays in a three point stance along with a two point preset stance. Gets a good two arm extension in pass protection. Cuts off the inside go. Good awareness on blitz pickups. Works to sustain and finish his blocks. Effective as a pass protector and run blocker. Knee bender who generally plays with flat feet. Plays with balance and body control. Can pivot, turn, and run. Effective use of hands to lock up the pass rusher's breast plate. Concentrates and focuses on his job. Good reactions. Gets depth in pass protection. Smooth feet to mirror and slide. Smart and instinctive player who can sit down and anchor a bull rush. A four-for-one player. Must improve his core strength to handle power and leverage players. Medical exclusion at Combine, left hamstring. Senior Bowl notes: Solid week of practice. Not the ideal length desired in a left tackle, but has NFL qualities. Good functional foot mobility and athletic agility. Blue collar type worker. Positive fundamental initial steps and shows effort working to finish blocks. Smooth lateral and redirect playing quickness as a pass protector. Physically is better suited for a guard. Showed grit and determination with inline block encounters.
Walter Football-- Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame
The Giants have to make sure Eli Manning is protected because this past season was a disaster. Taylor Lewan is the obvious choice to improve the offensive line, but his off-the-field concerns will scare off New York. Zack Martin is a more realistic option. He can play left tackle if Will Beatty can't make it back from injury. If Beatty can recover, Martin can slide inside.
FOX Sports (Schrager) -- Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The Giants were extremely active in free agency, but hated seeing up-and-coming DT Linval Joseph sign with Minnesota. Donald's somewhat undersized, but pops off film and the production at the college level was off the charts. He ran the fastest 40-yard dash for defensive tackles at the Combine and was dominant at the Senior Bowl the entire week in Mobile. He'd be a great fit with what New York's got going on.
CBS Sports (Kirwan) -- Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame
Martin is versatile and an upgrade at left tackle for the Giants, who must protect Eli Manning better. TE Eric Ebron is a consideration but protection over receptions is the call here.
Round 1 (12th) -- Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The G-Men captured a pair of Super Bowl titles behind a dominant defensive line. Donald is the disruptive force the team needs to bolster a pass rush that needs an infusion of athleticism and talent on the interior.
Round 2 (43): Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Round 3 (74): Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State
Round 4 (113): Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
East Coast Sports (Fronczak) -- Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame
The Giants need to keep Eli Manning healthy and improving their offensive line is a priority going into the draft...Martin is versatile enough to play all five positions on the Giants line.
That is seven mock drafts with Martin being the choice five times and Donald twice. I will say this, and say it, and say it again until Reese proves me wrong Thursday night but I believe that if either Martin or Taylor Lewan of Michigan is there one of them will be the choice -- unless Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans is there at 12. Reese admitted last week that the Giants "have work to do still on the offensive line."
The Giants have been trying to get by on the offensive line for the last couple of years, and it's time for that to end. You have to protect Eli Manning or the quality of his receiving weapons won't matter. Worse than that, if the Giants can't protect the stationary Manning they won't be able to capitalize on whatever remains of the best years of his career. If the opportunity presents itself to add a rock-solid piece to the offensive line the Giants shouldn't pass that up.