Noah Spence. Risk. The New York Giants. The 2016 NFL Draft. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock on Tuesday joined the chorus of those who believe Spence will be at the epicenter of the discussion for the Giants with the 10th overall pick in the draft, saying the Eastern Kentucky pass rusher will be the subject of a "polarizing conversation" for the Giants.
"I think they're another team sitting at 10 that has to look at edge rushers, and sitting at 10 is a different conversation. Noah Spence could be squarely in the middle of that conversation, and the Giants typically don't take on a lot of risk and he's one of the riskiest guys in the draft, but he's also one of the best edge rushers. I think he'll be a polarizing conversation in their meeting rooms," Mayock said.
"I think he fits the 3-4 teams a little bit better, but in today's day and age, an edge rusher is an edge rusher."
ESPN's Mel Kiper said recently that Spence would appear to be the Giants' "only" option if they want to select a pass rusher with the 10th pick.
Spence, of course, has a controversial history. After dominating as a freshman at Ohio State, he was kicked out of the program for multiple drug violations and eventually treated for an Ecstacy addiction. The 6-foot-2, 254-pound defensive end/outside linebacker had 13.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss last season for Eastern Kentucky.
Our mock draft database shows that Spence is one of the players most often selected for the Giants.
Here are some of the other players and topics of interest to the Giants that Mayock touched on Tuesday.
UCLA LB Myles Jack
Jack probably will be off the board by the time the Giants pick at No. 10, especially if others agree with Mayock regarding Jack's improved physicality.
"Even though his season was cut short by injury this year, the tape I watched, I saw a different guy this year than in past years, and by that I mean he was more physical. I think more confident in his physicality, able to come down and take on guards, tackles, fullbacks," Mayock said. "So I saw a guy that was more of a finesse player early in his career turn into a true linebacker this year, and again, his season was cut short, but I don't think he's going to have much of a problem transitioning. I'd be surprised if -- he looks like a top-10 pick at this point. The medical needs to check out. All those things need to check out prior to the end of April, but I think he's going to be a guy that steps into the lineup day one once medically cleared, and I think he's going to be a high-level player."
Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith
The defensively-challenged Giants might be one of the first teams to seriously consider selecting Smith, who suffered a devastating Jan. 1 knee injury that leaves his 2016 season in doubt. Here is Mayock's take on Smith.
"If he had clean medical where you knew you were going to get him for the second half of the season, I think -- I don't care who the team is ... this kid is so good that if the medical is clean, you have to take a big-picture look at him, and by that I mean two years from now," Mayock said. "You want to have maybe one of the two or three or four best linebackers in football, and you might have to wait a half a season for him, to me every team is going to have a different answer to that ... But if he has clean medical and you know you're going to get him for a half season plus and he's going to be fine, yeah, I think you pull the trigger on a kid like that."
Aside from Johnathan Hankins, the Giants have nothing but question marks at defensive tackle. Fortunately, Mayock believes teams needing defensive tackles should have no trouble finding them in this draft.
"You could wait until the third or fourth round this year and get a defensive tackle that in past drafts was a first or second rounder. I mean, I've heard first-round grades on plus or minus 10 to 12 defensive tackles this year from various feeds," Mayock said. "So a lot of teams are going to wait until the third or fourth round to get that defensive tackle they need because he's still going to be on the board, and you're going to get a second rounder instead of a fourth rounder."
The Giants have holes to fill on the right side of their offensive line. There is a perception in the scouting community that the crop of free agent guards is better than the crop of free agent right tackles. Thus, if the Giants want to look at free agency to find a guard they would likely try to fill their right tackle void in the draft. Here is Mayock on the crop of right tackles in the draft class.
"Jack Conklin from Michigan State would be the perfect right tackle. I think he can handle speed off the edge. He's a tough guy, gets movement at the run game. I think Taylor Decker could play left or right," Mayock said. "Then you start to get into a guy like Jason Spriggs, who I think you could get in the second or third round, and I like him on the right side better than I do on the left. Willie Beavers from Western Michigan I think is an under-the-radar kid who can play, but he's going to need a little time to get ready.
"So there's some people out there, and it's just a matter of where do you get them, and I think there's going to be a run on tackles somewhere -- I think there's four potential first-round picks, and then after that a group of guys, Le'Raven Clark, Sean Coleman, Spriggs, Ifedi, Hawkins, those kind of guys are going to go fairly quickly. And another two names for you on the right side, Spencer Drango from Baylor, and Kyle Murphy from Stanford. I think both will be right tackles in that kid of fourth-round range."