It's Monday, so that must mean that it's Mock Draft Day, and it's time to see who the draft analysts think the New York Giants should select in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Big boards are very fluid at the moment, with the All-Star games -- and especially the weeks of practice leading up to them -- making big impacts on the perceptions of some of the most underrated prospects. We have several multi-round mock drafts to get to, so instead of wasting more time on an introduction, let's just get to it!
10. New York Giants: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
New York's pass rush needs upgrading, and Buckner is a great choice on the edge. He has unique length and athleticism, and finished last season with 83 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks.
Raptor's Thoughts: I'm not really a fan of Buckner for the Giants. I soured on him against Michigan State. Against an NFL caliber offensive lineman and a pro-style offense -- that the Oregon offense couldn't force out of their game plan -- Buckner was largely a non-factor. His physical upside is obvious, but can the Giants wait for him to learn how to use his tools? Does he even have a position in the Giants' defense? He has Chris Canty's length, but Canty weighed 320 pounds here, not 290. Can he keep his pad level low enough to be effective against the likes of Tyron Smith or Trent Williams? Too many questions for a defense that needs answers.
Also, Dan has the Bears taking Myles Jack with the 11th overall pick. Not cool Dan, not cool.
Chad Reuter (four-round mock draft)
10) New York Giants: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
Building talent up front is a hallmark of the Giants, so grabbing a versatile defender like Buckner here makes a lot of sense.
40) Kenny Clark (DT, UCLA)
74) Jordan Howard (RB, Indiana)
104) Denver Kirkland (OT, Arkansas)
Raptor's Thoughts: I've already talked about Buckner. On the next three rounds: I love Kenny Clark to the Giants. He is athletic and one of the two or three most powerful linemen in the draft. He can dominate at the point of attack and disrupt in the backfield. Not a fan of the third and fourth picks, which look like they're made to "fix" a running game that was broken by usage more than talent. He has the Giants passing on Deion Jones and Jalen Mills in the third round, and Jaron Kearse, Deon Bush, and Dominique Alexander in the fourth, all of whom could contribute more than Reuter's choices.
Walter (four rounds)
10) Vernon Hargreaves III (CB, Florida)
The Giants might be saying goodbye to Prince Amukamara this offseason. He's a free agent, and New York may deem him too injury-prone to re-sign. If so, the Giants could consider Vernon Hargreaves as a potential replacement. Hargreaves' stock has slipped a bit in the wake of a poor finish, but he's one of the top prospects on the board.
40) Shaq Lawson (EDGE, Clemson)
Whether it was Michael Strahan, or Osi Umenyiora, or Justin Tuck, or a two-handed Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants always had a terrific pass rush. That's not the case anymore, as the Giants finished in the bottom five in terms of sacks.
By the way, Shaq Lawson has been appearing in the first round of many other mock drafts, but multiple teams we've spoken to have Lawson pegged as a second-day prospect.
74) Kenneth Dixon (RB, Louisiana Tech)
Tom Coughlin figured out that going with a rotation of Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen worked best, but it was already too late. It's hard to count on Jennings for the long term, however, so here's a potential running back of the future.
104) Nate Andrews (S, Florida State)
The Giants' pass defense has been atrocious this season. Their safety play has been horrific. This position could be addressed even earlier.
Raptor's Thoughts: I can't hate on the Hargreaves pick if Prince walks in free agency. I don't like the scenario and I think the Giants have to make an effort to keep him. He was injured and didn't play especially well after coming back, but one of the biggest problems the Giants have had is not retaining their draft picks. There have been a lot of very good reasons for that, but still: They just can not afford to keep hemorrhaging talent if they want to build a winning team. Lawson is a terrific value at 40th overall. I saw him compared to Courtney Upshaw, and I think that's the perfect comparison. Hopefully, he can be a better NFL player than Upshaw though. Dixon isn't a "sexy" pick, but he is a player that is so easy to fall in love with. He does everything the Giants need their running backs to do. Andrews is fine as a fourth rounder. He has some upside as a defender, was a leader for Florida State and should help continue building what were surprisinglystrong special teams.
Charlie Campbell (one round)
10) Jaylon Smith (LB, Notre Dame)
For years, the Giants have needed a play-making linebacker. Even with the knee injury, Smith is too good to pass up.
Smith has the skills to cover in the passing game and make an impact against the run. In 2015, the 6-foot-2, 235-pounder totaled 115 tackles, nine for a loss, one sack, four passes broken up and one forced fumble (he was robbed of one by the official scorer). Smith suffered a torn ACL and MCL in the Fiesta Bowl, which could cause him to miss the beginning of the 2016 season.
Smith was all over the field for the Fighting Irish in 2014 with 112 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, one forced fumble, 3.5 sacks and two passes defended. Smith has speed and athleticism in the middle of the field with the ability to start on the inside or the outside.
Raptor's Thoughts: Charlie is right on the money about the Giants and Smith. The question -- and it's a big one -- is how and when Smith will come back from the knee injury. If he only has to start out the season on the PUP list and can come back as the player he was at Notre Dame, you sprint to the podium to make this pick. If not, the Giants need a hit too badly to try their luck stretching a double into an "in the park home run." At his best, Smith is an absolutely electric defender, though.
-- Be sure to check out our Mock Draft Database where we keep tabs on many of the current mock drafts from around the Internet!