ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper mocked high-risk, high-reward defensive end Noah Spence to the Giants in his most recent mock draft. During a Monday conference call, Kiper expanded on his reasoning, saying that if the Giants want a pass rusher at No. 10 Spence looks like the "only guy" worthy of being selected at that point in the 2016 NFL Draft.
"If you're looking for other options at that point from a pass rush standpoint there's nobody that's in the mix with Noah Spence. At that point, he's the only guy that would make a lot of sense as a combo defensive end/outside linebacker, and I think that's why he gets pushed up," Kiper said. "Maybe he wouldn't in a draft where you had a couple more options. You don't have any options of guys who can get after the passer at that particular point in the draft."
Spence, of course, began his collegiate career at Ohio State before being dismissed from that program after failing two drug tests, then undergoing treatment for an Ecstasy addiction. He was dominant at Eastern Kentucky.
"He's gonna go somewhere high," Kiper said. "The interviews will be important for him, though."
Kiper also spoke at length about injured Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith, saying it would be a "surprise" if he played in 2016 as he recovers from the torn ACL and MCL he suffered Jan. 1. Kiper listed the Giants at No. 10 as the first team that might give consideration to drafting Smith and waiting for him.
"Jaylon Smith if he were healthy could be the first, second, third pick in the draft. Now you're talking about 10, 11, 16 that area, 24 to Cincinnati."
Kiper said Smith is "a great player when he's healthy."
"You're gonna have to go in thinking redshirt, if we get anything out of him late in the year it's a bonus, but we have to try to get him ready for 2017. You're not going to get much, if anything at all, out of him in 2016," Kiper said. "You're drafting a guy who could say is the No. 1 player in this draft ... you're getting arguably the best player in the draft who you just have to wait a year on."
Which Clemson defensive end?
Clemson defensive ends Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd are both players who are sometimes mocked to the Giants. As Kiper stated, he doesn't believe either is worth of the 10th overall pick. Which guy should be selected first, though, the guy with the longer track record (Lawson) or the guy who burst onto the scene last season (Dodd)?
Kiper said that is a "hard call" and that the combine and Pro Day workouts will be the deciding factor.