Now that the Big Blue View Community Mock Draft is over with, I've got some time to get to a few projects I've had on the back burner. Or at least I do until Ed gives me something else to do, which should be any moment now.
Anywho, I have had an idea bouncing around my head for a mock draft based on what position the Giants have drafted most commonly in a given round in the Jerry Reese era.
Now, anyone who knows me personally, knows that I have these kinds of ideas all the time. I jokingly tell my friends that if they see my forehead wrinkle and I utter a "huh", that they should scream and run. I'm the guy who wonders to himself how he could make burpees better, so I added a pull-up and leg raise to them.
So that's where this came from. I created a spreadsheet where I broke each draft choice by round and position. I'll be drafting each round by the best player from the most commonly selected position available.
*Note: If I feel a position doesn't offer competitive value at the Giants' draft slot, I'll use the second-most commonly selected position, or just grit my teeth and make the pick
Round 1 (No. 9)
Most Common Pick: DB - 3 selections
Second Most Common: WR - 2 selections
The pick: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Just so you all know, I've changed this pick a few times. I really wanted to go by the trends, but there isn't a safety in the draft I would take in the first round, and I just couldn't bring myself to draft what would essentially be a nickel corner at ninth overall.
Trae Waynes doesn't really feel like a "Giants" player.
Jalen Collins has too many technical flaws to feel comfortable with this high.
P.J. Williams and Marcus Peters' character concerns knock them out of the running.
So that leaves me with a wide receiver. There's precedent, with the Giants taking two in the first round, and several more in the second and third rounds. I love the value here because I have Parker in my "elite" tier along with Amari Cooper and Kevin White.
Parker combines great length, dangerous athleticism, pro route running, and a massive catch radius to create a dangerous weapon across from Odell Beckham. He presents a fantastic fit and a better value than any DB available.
Round 2 (No. 40)
Most Common Pick: DT - 3 selections
Second Most Common: WR - 2 selections
The pick: Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State
This pick actually agonized me more than the first round. Looking at our Big Blue Big Board, Carl Davis is sitting right there at 40th overall, and he checks a TON of Giants boxes. He's 6-foot-5, has 34.5-inch arms, and 11-inch hands, and put up 28 reps of 225 pounds at his pro day. The Giants love big, long, strong linemen with big hands. They want to control the line of scrimmage. Or at least they did under Perry Fewell.
That being said, Spags likes to attack. Michael Bennett is an explosive athlete and should be able to carry 300 pounds without issue. He is a smart, high-character, upfield penetrator who is incredibly disruptive behind the line of scrimmage. During Spags' first tenure with the Giants, most of their defensive tackles were right around 300 pounds and were disruptive penetrators. The addition of Kenrick Ellis, and the likely ability to keep him if he works out this year, opens the door to improve that interior pass rush, and that's what Bennett does best.
Bennett is 36th on our big board, and I give my self a +5/-5 rule when drafting off the big board. I'll look five spots up from the slot, and consider those guys likely to be there, and five spots down and not consider it a "reach". With that in mind, Bennett is likely to be there and a good value.
Round 3 (No. 74)
Most Common Pick: WR - 3 selections
Second Most Common: DT - 2 selections
The pick: Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami
I'm not sure if this is a steal or not. Dorsett's value seems to be all over the place, but he was the closest rated player who fits what the numbers say the Giants should take. Its possible that he falls out of the second round. He absolutely has blazing speed, but his size could give teams pause. Unlike most speedsters coming out, Dorsett is a football player who can run, as opposed to a track guy who is playing football. Also, he is more than pure speed, and he has impressive quickness as well.
His route running isn't as crisp or developed as Ben McAdoo would want, but he tracks the ball well, and can absolutely discard the top of the defense. He'd help out in pass protection too. With the downfield threats of Odell Beckham Jr, DeVante Parker, Rueben Randle, and Phillip Dorsett, the Jets would be the only team in the league who would be both willing and able to risk a blitz.
Round 4 (No. 108)
Most Common Pick: LB - 3 selections
Second Most Common: OT & RB - 2 selections apiece
The pick: Hayes Pullard, LB, USC
There were three linebackers on my board at about the same value here: Ramik Wilson (Georgia), Kwon Alexander (LSU), and Hayes Pullard (USC).
I ultimately chose Pullard for a couple reasons. First, he has experience moving all around USC's defense. Second, he is regarded as a very high character, high IQ, leader. Spags' defense needs disciplined play from its linebackers, and Pullard projects well as an "AP" type and eventual successor to Jon Beason. And finally, he is a four-year starter, two-year captain, and a four-time All Conference player, who has been remarkably productive (377 tackles, 20 passes defensed).
He doesn't have the athleticism of Alexander or Wilson, but I think his mental footwork more than makes up the difference, and he could become a leader on the defense along with former teammate Devon Kennard.
Round 5 (No. 144)
Most Common Pick: LB & DB - 2 selections apiece
The pick: Durrell Eskridge, FS, Syracuse
Okay, I'd like to mention that at this point I'm off the Big Blue View board and on the CBS Sports board. I don't always agree with their rankings, but they are far more extensive than ours.
Eskridge is a slight reach by the board (150th overall), however at 6-3, 208 pounds with 32.5-inch arms he fits the Giants' mold for a defensive player. They are also reportedly very high on him and have a significant history of drafting players out of Syracuse. Eskridge seems to have a good head on his shoulders and has a solid understanding of route concepts, which keeps him from getting beat deep. He also plays the run well and doesn't shy away from tackling.
He has some significant upside, and the feeling among scouts seems to be that he should have stayed in college another year, and that's what likely knocks him down to this point.
Round 6 (No. 186)
Most Common Pick: DB - 3 selections
Second Most Common: OT, DE, LB - 2 selections apiece
The pick: Sean Hickey, OT, Syracuse
Because I've picked two defensive backs already, and the Giants have added three linebackers so far between FA and the draft, I'm going to a secondary option and add an offensive lineman.
Hickey was an offensive tackle in college, but he projects inside in the NFL. He has marginal feet for a tackle, but good feet for an interior player*, he also has solid size for an interior lineman and is strong as a bull, which should help ease his transition. Some might balk at "waiting" until the sixth round to draft an offensive lineman but ...
A) I'm basing this on the Giants' trends under Jerry Reese.
B) Linemen, particularly interior linemen, don't have to be elite athletes. So I am taking a decent athlete who is a good football player, and moving him to a spot that lets him maximize his talents and compete for a job. Late-round and undrafted offensive linemen have a history of succeeding, so this isn't quite as big a gamble as it might seem.
*Note: One area where I've changed my evaluations is in how I view movement skills of an offensive lineman. In a league where the best pass rushers are primarily facing right tackles, I'm not separating left tackles from right tackles. Either you can play tackle, or you can't.
Round 7 (No. 226)
Most Common Pick: RB - 3 selections
Second Most Common: DB - 2 Selections
The pick: Anthony Jefferson, S, UCLA
Another body for the secondary, but Jefferson could be more than that. He is versatile, having played corner and safety, and has decent size for a safety. He's a marginal NFL athlete, but reportedly very high character and strong leadership skills. He has a history of doing whatever his team asks of him, and could be an impact special teamer first, and develop into a capable back-up or spot starter.
Round 7 (No. 226)
The pick: John Crockett, RB, North Dakota State
With three historic selections, I had to take a running back in the seventh. I'm "reaching" for Crockett, but I think he could be a steal anyway. He might come from an FCS school, but Crockett is a "Pro" back. He has good size at 6-feet, 215 pounds, and he combines impressive lower body explosion with very quick feet. He shows patience, good vision, and creativity with the ball in his hands, and can catch out of the backfield.
He reminds (a bit) of another former 7th round pick Ahmad Bradshaw, with his determined running style, and could be a successor to Rashad Jennings.
Nicknamed "Taz" by his teammates, and doesn't that really say everything you need to know?
Now, I would like to remind everyone while they're getting their pitchforks out, torches lit, and the guillotine sharpened, that this is not MY mock. At least not entirely. The positions were determined by what positions the Giants have drafted most frequently in each round, and what they have (generally) looked for in a prospect.
Does this mean that I really think the Giants will draft two wide receivers in the first three rounds and not address safety or offensive line until the fifth and sixth rounds (respectively)? Of course not.
That being said, I would like to go on record and say that I would be thrilled with this draft. Is the receiver position crowded? Yep, but outside of Odell Beckham, how many dependable options are there? Or even options after 2015?
I would be thrilled getting the rookies from 'Cuse where we did, because I have them each at good value at least a round higher, and acceptable value two rounds higher. Like the last two drafts, I feel this one could come away with at least two, maybe three starters (Parker, Pullard, and Hickey) and multiple major role players (Bennett, Dorsett, Eskridge, and Crockett).
One thing I did notice was how close the Giants' drafts have run, on average, to the draft value averages that 'Invictus' has talked about. The Giants have generally stuck to drafting players at premium positions (defensive back and wide receiver most notably) with their premium picks, while using their later round picks for positions with a less severe drop-off in hit-rate like guard or tight end.
Now, each draft and each round is its own animal, and there are certainly instances where the Giants have gone outside of their trends to pick players as needed or when value presents itself. However, over time a definite trend has emerged.
Okay, the angry mob can proceed now.