The NFL Network's resident draft guru, Mike Mayock, has released the first draft of his 2015 positional rankings. As far as the New York Giants are concerned, Mayock has some interesting takes.
His first ranked interior offensive lineman is none other than weekly mock draft darling Brandon Scherff of Iowa. In this case, Mayock and our own Invictus are in complete agreement in that Scherff should be considered a guard at the next level instead of an offensive tackle.
Behind Scherff are Florida State center Cameron Erving and Duke guard Laken Tomlinson.
Elsewhere on the offensive line, Mayock has Pittsburgh right tackle T.J. Clemmings as his top ranked tackle. That's an interesting assessment in light of Clemmings' struggles at the Senior Bowl, however he has the prototypical build and athleticism that NFL teams love.
At wide receiver, where the Giants could also perceive a need, Mayock has Kevin White of West Virginia ahead of Alabama's Amari Cooper and Louisville's DeVante Parker. We will, of course, have to wait a bit to hear how much of a separation, if there is one at all, Mayock believes to be between the three.
This is where Mayock's opinions start to really diverge from the main stream -- though it should be noted, that Mike Mayock is so well regarded that the Main Stream's opinions tend to change to reflect his.
He has Florida's Dante Folwer Jr. ranked as his top edge rusher, ahead of Nebraska's Randy Gregory and Missouri's Shane Ray. Rounding out the top-5 are Clemson's Vic Beasley and Kentucky's Bud Dupree.
Then there are the linebackers. Leading the pack for Mayock is TCU product Paul Dawson. The outside linebacker is an incredibly productive terror in the middle of the Horned Frogs' defense, but there have also been red flags raised for this off-field conduct. Behind Dawson are Mississippi State's Benardrick McKinney and UCLA's Eric Kendricks.
After Fowler outranking Gregory, Ray, and Beasley as an edge rusher, the biggest surprise of Mayock's rankings was Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson as his top rated safety.
Thompson was college football's most versatile player, having played defensive back, outside linebacker, and running back for the Huskies. In that context, it isn't entirely surprising that Mayock views Thompson as a safety. Behind Thompson, Landon Collins is Mayock's second rated safety. These are two physically similar prospects, both roughly six feet tall, and between 220 and 230 pounds.
Mayock's rating of both as safeties could reflect in a shift how he, and the league, are viewing the linebacker and safety positions. With nickel packages becoming base sets and the influence of Kam Chancellor, perhaps teams are starting to view strong safeties and weakside linebackers as an interchangeable position. That's something we'll have to investigate as the off-season and draft process move on.