The best part of the NFL Draft is that it is wildly unpredictable, which creates all of the drama. This is a lesson we draft fans must learn year after year. By by this time we all have our favorite players and we have convinced ourselves that the New York Giants see the draft the same way we do, when in reality that is so far from the truth.
The Giants haven't been very predictable in the draft (who saw the Prince Amukamara pick, or Odell Beckham Jr. (other than me -- Toot! Toot!). And I credit the correct pick last year on getting Pugh'd the year before. I remember in one thread a few days before the draft someone asked me point blank what are the chances the Giants draft Justin Pugh, who was generally considered a second-round talent, in the first round? I replied something along the lines of if My Aunt had ... Be uncle ...
Getting Pugh'd taught me a valuable lesson I try to remind people of all the time now. Above all the draft process is a job interview, and the Giants will select the candidate they think makes the most sense for them based on an enormous number of factors we are not privy to (like behind the scenes contract squabbles, personality mismatches with coaches and/or front office personnel, which players the team genuinely believes are poised for breakout years, thus solving a perceived need. I'd say look no further than Larry Donnell), and the Giants have to decide who they will hire for millions of dollars and in lieu of plenty of opportunity costs. It's not as simple as we make it out to be.
That is why I am taking a look at players that are rarely connected to the New York Giants with the ninth pick in the draft, because even though I think a dark-horse pick is slightly less likely this year with the Giants picking in the top 10 (generally the consensus top guys do go very early), there are still plenty to speculate about.
Today we look at a player who in many cases is not even mocked in the top 20, but is a guy I believe has a realistic shot of being a top 10 pick in Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown (not to be confused with Malcolm Brown, Texas Longhorns running back).
Brown offers a different flavor than Washington's Danny Shelton, a BIG man who should effectively shut down any run game because he has the ability to be consistently penetrate gaps in the NFL as opposed to Shelton who is primarily a run stuffer and could start immediately as the Giants 3 technique. Brown has also good size at 6-foot-2, 319 pounds and large hands (10 inches) that will help him fight offensive linemen and contain the run game as well. But, Brown is versatile as well.
"I really believe I can play any technique," Brown said. "If you go to my film, since I’ve been here, I’ve played nose, three-technique, end, stand-up end. Just wherever you’re going to put me, I’m going to play. I’m going to attack the work."
Brown is intriguing because he is an ascending player. He started every game the last two years at Texas, but continually improved. This season he racked up 13 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks from the defensive tackle position to go along with 70 tackles (Danny Shelton, FYI had 93 tackles, 16.5 TFL, and 9 sacks which is ridiculous). He had production in most games of the year and as Detroit defensive line coach Kris Kocurek said he is consistent,
"Consistency," Kocurek said. "He put together a really consistent year this year from start to finish. That’s what you like to see when you’re evaluating. You like to see the consistency week after week. He put together a really consistent year.
Brown is considered a hard worker who has a lot of maturity, who is grounded perhaps in part because of his two young children. Brown is not an elite NFL prospect, even though he is a very good one, but he should be a guy who produces early and consistently because of his ability to use his hands and his plus football instincts. Brown is a guy who should be considered a "safe", but talented prospect. He checks all the boxes. He has high character, consistent production, he has good measurables and the best ability in football avail--ability. He also would really give the Giants a nice young defensive tackle rotation with Hankins and Bromley. Be sure to check out this fan post about Brown, a Giants dark-horse candidate for the 9th pick in the 2015 NFL draft.