The furor of the 2016 Free Agency is dying down, and observers are starting to get a handle of the revised needs of teams around the league. While we don't know exactly how much free agency will factor into how the draft plays out, it does factor into how the draft is mocked.
Immediately following the New York Giants big-money acquisitions, the mock draft picks were all over the place. With a week or so of distance from the spending spree, we see some familiar names start to re-emerge in connection to the Giants.
10. New York Giants - Shaq Lawson (DE, Clemson)
Lawson's draft stock is all over the place. He's solely a 4-3 end, so if the Giants pass at No. 10 he could slide. Obviously that's not the case here. Even though New York signed Olivier Vernon, they need a long term replacement for Jason Pierre-Paul.
Raptor's Take: I wasn't fond of the Lawson pick a week ago. He had a strong combine, but I didn't see that, or see it consistently on the field. And whenever a prospect's measurables and tape don't line up, you have to ask why. In Lawson's case, does he play slower because of scheme, instincts, something else?
Those were my concerns before we found out that he was tagged for a medical re-check on a shoulder we know dislocated in a game at least once, and he now wears a brace that is attached to his shell to limit his range of motion. I don't necessarily disagree with Dan's reasoning, but I can't agree with Lawson without a definitive "OK" from the medical check-up.
10. Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)
40. Derrick Henry (RB, Alabama)
71. Jalen Mills (S, LSU)
106. Deion Jones (OLB, LSU)
149. Jalin Marshall (WR, Ohio State)
184. Cyrus Jones (CB, Alabama)
Raptor's Take: These are the same two first-round selections as last week, and I still don't like them. Treadwell is going to be a good receiver and does some really nice things without the ball in his hands. However, I'm not sure he's a full round better than the receivers who should be available when the Giants pick at 40th overall. Speaking of 40th overall, I'm still not fond of Henry to the Giants.
I do, however, really like the picks of Jalen Mills, Deion Jones, and Cyrus Jones for the Giants. Part of why I love those picks is because they all look like steals to me. Both of the LSU players could go in the second round, and Cyrus Jones could go somewhere in the fourth round, or even later in the third. He's a solid corner and offers special teams upside. While not particularly exciting, those traits could make him attractive to teams.
10. Vernon Hargreaves III (CB, Florida)
The Giants signed Janoris Jenkins, which is a clear upgrade for them, but their secondary could really make strides with a corner like Hargreaves to go with Jenkins. That would give New York two man-cover corners who are adept at preventing separation, and in turn that would help the pass rush as well.
In 2015, Hargreaves had a total of 33 tackles, four pass broken up, four interceptions and a forced fumble - off Leonard Fournette. Hargreaves was having a good season before slumping late in the year. Sources have felt that Hargreaves can get bumped around and out-physicaled along with giving up some ground to deep speed. He could stand to improve on that in the NFL.
Overall, Hargreaves was a true cover corner during his collegiate career. He totaled 50 tackles, three interceptions and 13 passes broken up in 2014. Hargreaves went toe to toe with Amari Cooper that season and held his own. Both players showcased their elite skills and proved to be top prospects for the NFL. Cooper made some catches over Hargreaves, but unlike other defensive backs, Cooper wasn't getting separation or burning the Gator cover corner.
The 5-foot-10, 204-pound Hargreaves has natural cover skills to run with wideouts and not allow separation. Sources have said that Hargreaves is a star off the field as well as a good teammate, worker and citizen. As a true freshman in 2013, he recorded interceptions in his first three college games while totaling 11 pass breakups and 38 tackles for the year.
40. Carl Nassib (DE, Penn State)
The Giants could use a third edge rusher to rotate with Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul. Nassib would be a nice fit.
Nassib put together a torrid 2015 season with a bunch of multi-sack games and a huge presence in opponents' backfields. He led the nation with 15.5 sacks in 2015 while also racking 46 tackles, 19.5 tackles for a loss and six forced fumbles. The 6-foot-6, 277-pounder also has drawn raves for his work ethic and practice habits from head coach James Franklin and former head coach Bill O'Brien.
Nassib could fit at end in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. He really put his draft stock on the map with a massive senior season. Nassib is a 1-year wonder as he had only two sacks combined over 2014 and 2013.
74. Scooby Wright III (ILB, Arizona)
The Giants have needed better linebacker play for years, and this pick could be a draft-day steal.
Wright missed most of 2015, finishing the year with 23 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. In the season opener, he suffered a knee injury - a lateral meniscus tear - that he underwent surgery for. Wright came back after missing only two games, but he clearly rushed back and wasn't the same. Wright sprained his foot in his first game back - a loss to UCLA - and didn't played the rest of the regular season. In the bowl game against New Mexico, Wright collected 15 tackles, 3.5 for a loss and two sacks.
Wright took college football by storm in 2014. The 6-foot, 239-pounder was a pass-rushing force for the Wildcats and one of the top defenders in the Pac-12. He had 14 sacks with 163 tackles, 29 tackles for a loss and six forced fumbles for the year. Wright is an instinctive linebacker and was all over the field for Arizona. In 2013, he notched 83 tackles with 9.5 for a loss and an interception.
109. Taje Sharpe (WR, UMass)
The Giants need a wide receiver to pair with Odell Beckham, Jr. Here's a big possession receiver for New York.
Sources from multiple teams were raving about Sharpe at the East-West Shrine. The 6-foot-2, 189-pounder has quickness to go with good size and length. Sharpe had a superb week and caught the heck out of ball. As one scout said, "He's been dominating these DBs all week." Sharpe gets separation and is a smooth receiver. He really helped his draft stock at the East-West Shrine.
The senior had 111 receptions for 1,319 yards with five touchdowns in 2015, so he has good production as well. One team said Sharpe is probably an early third-day pick and shouldn't go any lower than the fifth round.
149. Keith Marshall (RB, Georgia)
The Giants could use more play-making competition at running back and Marshall has talent. He illustrated that at the combine, and he could be a third-day steal if he can stay healthy.
Raptor's Take: I love the first two rounds, I'm torn on the third, and kinda "meh" on the fourth and fifth.
I really like Vernon Hargreaves, and I think he has Pro Bowl potential as a free safety/slot corner. He has a lot of traits in common with Earl Thomas, and he plays with a safety's mentality. I'm worried that Hargreave's lack of height and weight, along with a lack of arm length and long speed, could really limit him in man coverage with wide receivers in the NFL. Janoris Jenkins has a similar build, but his arms are almost two inches longer, and that matters.
However, Hargreaves' ability to fluidly change directions, his lower-body explosiveness, his instincts, and the way he fearlessly throws his body around look like they could make for a great safety. Add in his ability to come down and cover, and he could be a versatile (and therefore valuable) player.
I really like Carl Nassib. I think the Giants could love his size, length, arm length, first step, production, and monstrous work ethic. Honestly, I think he could be a dark-horse to be picked at 10th overall. He's got the best first step of any pure defensive end in this draft, and I'm not overly concerned with his "one-year wonder" status. Guys like Shaq Lawson, Kevin Dodd, Ziggy Ansah, and JPP were all "one-year wonders". And speaking of Ansah, Nassib's size and 10-yard split, 3-cone, broad jump, and bench press are all similar to the former fifth overall pick.
I'm torn on Wright because I'm not sure if he is a better college player than he will be pro. His instincts and uncanny ability to rush the passer will get him a shot, but his lack of athleticism and sloppy tackling will hurt him at the next level. Personally I think the Giants need to upgrade their athleticism at the second level. Personally, I'd take Deion Jones (OLB, LSU), Antonio Morrison (ILB, Florida), or Kentrell Brothers (ILB, Missouri), all of whom go at the top of the fourth round.
Charlie is right that the Giants need a wide receiver to pair with Odell Beckham Jr. However, it's a bit of a reach to say that Tajae Sharpe would be that guy. It's more likely that Sharpe would just compete with Geremy Davis, Myles White, and Anthony Dable to be "a guy". Great receivers have come from all over the draft, and Sharpe's route running will make him a good fit for the Giants, but he is only an average athlete and the Giants just don't like receivers with small hands (Sharpe has 8 3/4-inch hands).