NFL Network draft guru extraordinaire Mike Mayock (otherwise known as Mike Mayfunk) has released the third version of his positional rankings.
Some of his rankings, namely running back and interior offensive lineman, haven't changed since the second version. Mayock, in addition to being a good talent evaluator, has extensive contacts throughout the league and these rankings could reflect how teams are currently feeling about these prospects. With that in mind, let's take a look at some position rankings and how they could effect the New York Giants.
Unless the Giants are feeling particularly -- and uncharacteristically -- cold-blooded and have decided to part ways with Eli Manning after the 2015 season, it seems unlikely that the Giants would invest in a "Top-5" quarterback. However, what happens with Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota could have a tremendous impact on how the board falls for the Giants.
And on that front, Mayock has swapped Mariota and Winston on his board, placing Marcus Mariota at the top.
The "Big 3" of Cooper, White, and Parker haven't changed their respective positions, but Breshad Perriman's unreal pro-day workout has pushed Jaelen Strong out of the top-5. Also, Nelson Agholor of USC took Perriman's place in a tie for 5th with Dorial Green-Beckham. If the Giants aren't happy with their depth at receiver, and don't want to take one in the first round, perhaps we shouldn't count on Perriman, Agholor, or Green-Beckham being there in the second round. The addition of Agholor to the list is particularly interesting, as he has been much lower on other boards.
MyCole Pruitt is off the list, and Blake Bell has ascended to third. Behind him Nick O'Leary moves up and Tyler Kroft takes the 5th spot. Two things of note here: First, Bell being Mayock's third-ranked tight end is impressive for a player who has only played a single season at the position. Second, the Giants have been linked to Kroft over the course of the draft process, so perhaps they could be interested in adding a tight end to the roster.
There have been some significant changes here. La'El Collins is still at the top, but T.J. Clemmings has dropped from second to fifth (tie), and Andrus Peat has dropped from third to fourth. Miami's Ereck Flowers has jumped from fourth to second, and Florida's D.J. Humphries has jumped from fifth (tie) to third.
For me, moving Flowers up to second is surprising. While he has a clean history in pass protection, he also shows a tendency to panic and stop his feet when beaten. Add to that some alarming footwork/movement in the combine, and moving him up the board is, well, a surprise.
Some definite movement here. Dante Fowler is still Mayock's top edge rusher, but Shane Ray has fallen from second to fifth. Meanwhile, Randy Gregory has jumped up to second, and Bud Dupree has risen from fifth to fourth. I think Ray's fall is in reaction to a poor pro day performance where he was limited by a toe injury. Meanwhile, Dupree's consistently impressive performances throughout the draft process are moving him up boards.
We have been going 'round and 'round on the issue of safeties and the New York Giants. Well, there have been tremendous changes to Mayock's top five, which could hint at who the Giants are looking at in the draft.
Damarious Randall of Arizona State has moved up to third on his list. He is also a player who is reportedly generating tremendous buzz around the League.
Behind him are two players who weren't rated on the previous version: Alex Carter of Stanford and Quinten Rollins of Miami (Ohio). Carter is a cornerback prospect who is at his best in zone coverages and his eyes in the backfield. That makes him a prime candidate to transition to safety at the next level. Rollins only has one year of football at Miami of Ohio. Before that he was the starting point guard for Miami of Ohio's basketball team. However in his one year of experience he became the MAC defensive player of the year. He competed at the combine as a cornerback, but his quick-twitch athleticism, awareness, and instincts make him another prime candidate for conversion.
To me, the safety position is the most interesting. Not just because of the Giants' situation at the position, but the class itself. At the top of Mayock's safety ranking are Landon Collins and Shaq Thompson, two players that I consider to be weakside linebackers. At the bottom of his ranking are two corners who could transition to safety. It will be interesting to see how the draft unfolds for safeties, and how the various rookies play in 2015.