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Mel Kiper three-round mock draft: Kiper gives Giants Brandon Scherff, Eric Rowe and Shaq Thompson

What does Mel Kiper think would be a "Grade A" draft for the New York Giants?

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN Draft Guru Mel Kiper Jr. has released yet another mock draft. This time, it is a three round "live" draft.

In his scenario for this draft he places himself in the shoes of the team's GM and tries to meet need with value.

Mel's Ground Rules

1. At each slot, I make a pick in the best interest of only the team with the pick. I won't pass on a player at No. 4 just because I like the team better at No. 5.

2. No trades unless they're already done. I note team needs, and I try to address them, but like the draft, value can supersede need.

3. Again: I'm not projecting. It's more a look at where I see value up and down the board.

In his words, he's trying to do what he feels is best for each team at that position.

Since we've mostly been concerned with the ninth overall pick, I'll set the board for Mel, and then let him take over with his picks for the New York Giants at ninth, 40th, and 74th overall.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jameis Winston (QB, FSU)
  2. Tennessee Titans - Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Leonard Williams (DL, USC)
  4. Oakland Raiders - Amari Cooper (WR, Alabama)
  5. Washington Redskins - Dante Fowler (DE/OLB, Florida)
  6. New York Jets - Kevin White (WR, WVU)
  7. Chicago Bears - Breshad Perriman (WR, UCF)
  8. Atlanta Falcons - Shane Ray (DE/OLB, Missouri)
So, with those players off the board who does Kiper pick for the Giants?

Round 1 (9) Brandon Scherff (OT, Iowa)
Round 2 (40) Eric Rowe (CB, Utah)
Round 3 (74) Shaq Thompson (OLB, Washington)

Kiper offers the following as an explanation for his picks:

I'm still in the camp that says Scherff can be a tackle. I'm also in the camp that says he's going to be a monster in the run game if we start him at guard out of the gate -- and for my offense, which averaged 3.6 yards per carry last season, that sounds pretty good. I think it's the safe call to make at No. 9 because not only do I need the immediate impact, I could have seen the Jets or Falcons grabbing him before us, so I'm happy he's around.

I use the next two picks to attack pretty clear personnel voids on defense.

Rowe is one of the more underrated players in the draft for me, and we have nothing at free safety on the roster right now. When you factor in need, I can stomach what might look like a slight reach.

I also think Thompson can excel as a weakside linebacker in our scheme. He's not going to be ready in Week 1, but he has Round 1 football instincts and simply needs the reps.

Raptor's Take

Okay, I am on record as being against any mock draft that has the Giants picking an offensive lineman in the first round. I just don't think it makes any sense from a few standpoints.

- Another No. 1 receiving option to balance out Beckham, or an impact edge rusher have greater impact on how both the Giants and their opponents have to gameplan than a left guard.

- The first round, and the Top 10 in particular, is for football players who are athletic specimens. (Yes, I know some people won't read this and complain about JR drafting too many athletes. However I mean that to say that at this pick, you should be looking at players who can play but also have rare athletic ability.) Offensive guards don't need to be tremendous athletes to be tremendous football players. In fact, the players taken later, who aren't taken with their athleticism in mind, have largely been better players

- Finally, the Giants have a number of players at very expensive positions who will be free agents after the 2015 season. With the offensive line 80 percent in place, as far as we know, they could view it as 100 percent complete, the Giants' most valuable pick could probably be better spent elsewhere. The pass protection was fine last year, and a simple return to health by Geoff Schwartz and Justin Pugh should be a tremendous shot in the arm for the run game.

All that being said, looking at the totality of this draft ... I'd be thrilled.

Scherff is disappointing, I've mentioned this a few times, but I don't distinguish between "left tackle" and "right tackle" feet. I think he's a guard only. I think JR & Co. can do more for the team with Bud Dupree or DeVante Parker, but Scherff should help (assuming he doesn't bust like previous top-10 blue chip guards).

Eric Rowe at 40 is a tremendous value, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if he doesn't make it out of the first round. Shaq Thompson at 74 is even better. I still have him as a first (maybe high second) value. He is a natural playmaker who can disrupt defenses and get the ball back for the offense. His experience as a running back helps him better understand offensive concepts, an he is just dangerous with the ball in his hands.

So what do you think, Giants fans?