ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay is out with version 4.0 of his 2016 NFL mock draft, and his two-round effort gives the New York Giants a pair of players -- Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson and West Virginia safety Karl Joseph -- who are often connected to the Giants.
McShay's mock is, of course, Insider only. Let's get right to what he says about each selection.
Round 1 (No. 10) -- Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
The Giants spent a truckload of money in free agency on defensive playmakers -- DE Olivier Vernon, CB Janoris Jenkins and DT Damon Harrison. That's a good start for a team that hasn't drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2011, but the Giants shouldn't stop there. Lawson led the FBS last season with 25.5 tackles for loss, playing with a good mixture of relentlessness, technique and discipline. He also brings great work ethic and intangibles to the table.
Valentine's View: Obviously, Lawson is a player often connected to the Giants, even though more and more mocks are giving the Giants offensive players at No. 10. Provided Lawson's shoulder checks out this is a selection that continues to make sense, even with the addition of Olivier Vernon and the re-signing of Jason Pierre-Paul.
Head coach Ben McAdoo was speaking about Vernon when he said this on Wednesday:
"QB rating differential is big in the game today, and the more you can impact the quarterback from a defensive standpoint, from that defensive end standpoint, from his blindside, the tougher it makes it on the opponent."
That applies as a logical reason to draft another pass rusher. So does Pierre-Paul being on a one-year deal, and uncertainty about last year's third-round pick Owa Odighizuwa.
McShay left OT Jack Conklin (11th, Chicago Bears), DT SheldonRankins (12th, New Orleans Saints), RB Ezekiel Elliott (13th, Miami Dolphins), WR Laquon Treadwell (15th, Los Angeles Rams), LB Darron Lee (17th, Atlanta Falcons), and LB Leonard Floyd (18th, Indianapolis Colts) on the board to select Lawson.
Round 2 (No. 40) -- Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
Joseph is one of the more violent and efficient tacklers we've studied in the past five years at the safety position. And he showed improved range in coverage and ball skills in 2015, finishing with five interceptions in four games.
Valentine's View: The Giants have a group of young safeties they are high on and McAdoo said Wednesday they want to "give ‘em an opportunity to compete and let that shake out." Adding another young player to that mix would hardly be a shock, especially if they don't land a veteran like Reggie Nelson or Rashad Johnson prior to the draft.
Here is what Chris said when I mentioned his selection by McShay in this mock:
"I love Joseph. The ACL is a concern, but he is rangy, athletic, and absolutely fearless as a tackler. He's almost reckless coming down hill as a tackler, with a knack for separating player from ball. He also showed greatly improved ball skills in his final few games, hinting at a potential play-making steal in the second round. If his knee holds up."
Joseph is ranked No. 64 on our Big Board.
What do you think, Giants fans? Would you be happy if the first two rounds of the draft actually turned out this way?