We all know that doing a mock draft in December is nuts. So much will change. Players will declare for the draft that we didn't think would, and players will stay in school that we'd have thought would declare. That being said, it's fun, and for the sake of completeness, it's going to be an exercise that we're going to do.
In this series, we've established our core group of players to build the team around, we've cut players that we've deemed are holding the team back, and we added players via free agency. Now we infuse some young talent. The way we're going to do this is looking at where the Giants would be if the season ended today. As the 5th seed in the NFC and not as strong as the 5th seed in the AFC (Oakland Raiders at 10-3), the Giants draft position would be 23rd. That would mean that their draft spots would be (accounting for compensatory picks): 23, 54, 86, 121, 160, 198, 244.
What we'll do to ensure that I'm not picking Myles Garrett at 23 is use a neutral big board with over 256 players ranked. One board that I really like that fits that criteria is the CBS Sports 2017 draft board. The way it will work is, I'll pick any player ranked 23rd overall and beyond for the first round pick. I'll pick any player ranked 54th and beyond for the 2nd round pick and so on. That link in this paragraph takes you to that very big board, so it'll be easy for you to see which player you'd take over me. Let's get on with it:
1) Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
I don't know if the tremendously gifted left tackle from Wisconsin will stay at left tackle in the pros and push Ereck Flowers to the right side.That's the best-case scenario. Much more likely is that the Giants move him to the right side to take over for Bobby Hart and turn him into their version of Jack Conklin, who he's got a lot in common with when it comes to traits. Ramczyk is a mauler in the run game and is at his best going forward.
He's a little stiff in the pass game, but has fixable flaws in that regard and isn't poor by any means. Adding him to the offensive line would complete a massive re-tooling of the line that would pour significant resources into making it a functional unit. Did I consider an LB at this spot? Absolutely, and if Zach Cunningham were rated 23 or below, he would've been the pick. I, of course, need to do a bit more homework but I'm not entirely convinced in Takkarist McKinley as a surefire first rounder, who would be the highest LB available for me.
I know that I'll hear about too much investment in the offensive line and that's a legitimate criticism, but at this point it's clear where the problem with this team lies. It's either the QB, or the pressure that the QB faces. As Paul Perkins goes into his second year, he'll get better in pass pro (and indeed he's done better in that regard as the year has gone on) so that will be better. When you invest in both lines, as we have, good things happen.
2) Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
Larry Donnell. Will Tye. Receiving tight ends that are incapable of blocking. If you're going to have the label of a receiving tight end, you'd better be Jordan Reed. They are certainly not that. Enter Evan Engram, who possibly could become that. At 6-foot-4, 227 pounds he's a seam-busting receiving tight end/weapon/whatever-you-wanna-call-him from the slot. He had 926 yards and 8 TDs on the year for Ole Miss.
The Giants need more weapons. Engram is a weapon that can block down the field and combine with Jerrell Adams to provide more of those two tight end sets that Eli Manning can throw from. He can be the mismatch against LBs and safeties that the Giants so desperately need.
3) Wayne Gallman, RB Clemson
Are you guys sensing a theme here? I'm trying to build a team that will not only take the pressure off of Eli Manning but also make it just as easy for a simpler transition to a new quarterback. Explosive running backs, a seam-breaking tight end, a super star WR, a great run blocking line and a monstrous defense. As a huge proponent of the Saints' version of the WCO, I can't believe I'm saying this, but the Giants need to get back to a balance on offense. The problem is, they don't have the personnel to do it.
Wayne Gallman is that type of personnel. Add him with Paul Perkins and you have two backs that thrive on explosion and don't go down on first contact. This is a great draft for RBs. Gallman is a 1000 yard rusher that ran at 5.1 YPC clip with 15 TDs to his name. He's got great patience, vision, and burst. In fact, he reminds me quite a bit of Rashad Jennings with more speed and burst. He's also got a very Jennings-like stiff arm. Not especially powerful, but certainly powerful enough to make an impact to go along with that burst. He'd be a great complement to Perkins. And yes, you aren't the only ones upset that D'Onta Foreman is ranked 85 and we pick at 86 or below.
4) Jaylen Reeves-Maybin, OLB, Tennessee
JRM is one of the new wave of LBs, the ones that you can confuse for safeties at times. They're effective. Lavonte David is the prototype, but Telvin Smith down in Jacksonville or Deion Jones of the Falcons work just as well. Reeves-Maybin had an unlucky year, with season-ending shoulder surgery in October, but he was one of college football's best LBs before that. He's instinctual, quick, and plays aggressive.
His size hurts at 6-foot, 230 pounds, but hey, size is most definitely not everything. He'll have a chance to compete with the Giants linebacking corps.
5) Amba Etta-Tawo, WR, Syracuse
The Giants have a bunch of high upside WRs like Darius Powe, Roger Lewis, and Tavarres King in their stable, but I couldn't pass on Etta-Tawo here. He's a 6-foot-2, 204-pound receiver that had 94 rec for 1,482 yards and 14 TDs for Syracuse this season. That's some kind of production. He's sure-handed, has good enough quicks, and good enough strength down the field to legitimately have a great chance at seeing playing time for this team down the road next season.
6) Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
Ryan Nassib is a free agent and though I didn't really mention him in my re-signings, the Giants need a developmental quarterback. Dobbs was once a four-star recruit and one of the top dual threat QBs in the country. That has since changed, but he's got a big arm, good athleticism, and is a high character player. The Giants can do worse than taking a chance on a developmental player late.
7) William Likely III, CB/PR Maryland
Likely hasn't played much this year due to a torn ACL, but he was one of college football's most feared punt returners with 6 TDs on returns in his career and over 3,000 yards. He's only 5'7, but has some Darren Sproles like qualities and is a feisty competitor at CB as well.
Let's go position by position to sum up how our New York Giants have changed through this four-part process:
QB: Eli Manning is back and has got more help this time. Behind him may be Ryan Nassib, but also Joshua Dobbs who's got a chance to stick.
RB: The Giants have a much more explosive group this year with Wayne Gallman and Paul Perkins leading the way. Shane Vereen reprises his role as a 3rd down back and the Giants could have something to this whole running thing.
TE: Evan Engram will be the X-factor for the Giants and the newest addition to this position. Jerrell Adams is a good blocker and can come in for those situations and Will Tye will still certainly have a role as a do-everything TE.
WR: Everything starts with Odell Beckham Jr. Sterling Shepard will start as an above average slot receiver. Brian Quick and Roger Lewis will fight it out for the third WR spot. Amba Etta-Tawo is the newcomer here and will spend time with Dwayne Harris as the reserves. Victor Cruz is out.
OT: Ereck Flowers comes back as the left tackle, and that's mostly because it will be very difficult to find a replacement for him. Ryan Ramczyk would immediately slot in at right tackle and provide a mauling presence there. Bobby Hart would be a really good reserve in this situation.
OG: With Justin Pugh at LG and Kevin Zeitler at RG, this has the potential to be one of the league's best guard duos. John Jerry isn't exactly going to be receiving huge offers, so he can come back as a reserve as would Brett Jones.
OC: Weston Richburg is still a tremendous player and one who will be starting next year for the Giants.
DE: Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul will be the starters for a long time. The revelation that is Romeo Okwara will be a key player mixing in, as will be Kerry Wynn and Owamagbe Odighizuwa.
DT: Johnathan Hankins and Damon Harrison are back to finish off one of the league's best defensive lines. Jay Bromley is a key reserve here as is Robert Thomas.
ILB: The hope here is B.J. Goodson takes over as the middle linebacker. Johnathan Casillas will be the starter otherwise.
OLB: Some combination of Keenan Robinson, Devon Kennard, and newcomer Jaylen Reeves-Maybin will be sprinkled in to form an athletic and above average outside group of LBs.
CB: Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple. Yeah no changes here, and why would there be. 2nd best CB trio in the league behind the one in Denver.
S: Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, and Andrew Adams have the potential to form one of the league's best safety trios.
P: The Aussie is pretty damn good. Brad Wing has got this job nailed down.
K: Greg Zuerlein would be the new face here and he's got a leg on him.