Georgia running back Todd Gurley was the pick for the New York Giants at No. 9 in Thursday night's live NFL mock draft conducted by Mel Kiper and Todd McShay of ESPN. The pick added to a recent upswing in speculation that Gurley could be a top 10 pick, and that the Giants could be among the teams willing to select him.
Kiper and McShay alternated making selections, and went a full three rounds. When the Giants' pick at No. 9 came up, McShay was on the clock. Already off the board were: WR Amari Cooper (No. 3, Jacksonville Jaguars), DE Dante Fowler Jr (No. 5, Washington Redskins), OT Brandon Scherff (No. 6, New York Jets), WR Kevin White (No. 7, Chicago Bears), DE/OLB Bud Dupree (No. 8, Atlanta Falcons).
McShay, who has consistently mocked Scherff to the Giants in hi solo drafts, explained the selection of Gurley this way:
Yes, this is early for a running back, but Gurley is one of the best overall prospects in this draft class and the best player on the board in this scenario. He's a fit too, as the Giants lacked a big-play threat at running back last season, and free-agent pickup Shane Vereen is more of a part-time back whose biggest contributions come via the passing game.
We debated the idea of selecting Gurley a couple of days ago, so let's not rehash the entire argument. Let's quickly summarize instead. The argument for taking Gurley is that he is the best running back in the draft and could well be the biggest potential difference-maker on the board at No. 9. The argument against taking Gurley is the question about the torn ACL he suffered last November and the idea that the Giants seemingly have bigger needs.
Now, let's look at the other two picks for the Giants in the Kiper-McShay live mock.
Round 2 (No. 40) -- Landon Collins, SS, Alabama
Yes, Collins. At 40. Argue all you want about the wisdom of taking Collins at No. 9, but it would be a pretty difficult pick to criticize if the guy who is arguably still the best safety in the 2015 draft class slides all the way to No. 40. Kiper made this pick, and says:
I know Collins has some limitations in coverage, but he's a steal at this point. We need help at safety and linebacker and in some ways he's both.
Players left on the board here included guards Laken Tomlinson and A.J. Cann, safety Damarious Randall and linebackers Denzel Perryman and Stephone Anthony.
Round 3 (No. 74) -- Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio)
ESPN has Rollins listed as a safety, but he is a cornerback, which Kiper acknowledges in explaining the pick:
The Giants need help at cornerback, and they get a tremendous amount of upside out of the former (stud) point guard.
In the pass-happy NFL you can never have too many good cornerbacks. With Chykie Brown and possibly Bennett Jackson being converted to safety, re-stocking this position isn't a bad idea.
Your thoughts on this haul, Giants fans?