Rejoice! The 2016 NFL Draft is exactly one month from tonight! That means we only have four weeks of mock drafts left until the NFL gathers in Chicago and does it for real.
That should mean that we are narrowing in on who we think the New York Giants will draft, but as usual, just the opposite is the case. So, without further ado, let's get to checking out who the various mock drafts have the Giants picking.
And don't forget to check in with our mock draft database to see how the picks are changing over the lead-up to the draft.
Judging by the 340+ comments on our second consensus mock draft, you've read our explanation for picking Lee at 10th overall. Pulling back the curtain a bit, it took us approximately half of forever to come to a consensus on Lee. Everybody agreed with at least one pick from another staff member, but no more than two of us could agree on any one prospect, except for Lee. For my own part, the draft worked out as something of a "nightmare scenario" where all of our top choices were already off the board. Personally, that's the kind of mock drafting I like the most; it's easy (and boring) when your top choice is sitting there.
My argument for Lee was that he provides a level of athleticism the Giants just don't have at the second level of their defense. He can be a contributor in run defense, casing down running backs that have to bounce it outside when they can't get anywhere on Hankins and Snacks, using his range and instincts to help lock down the middle of the field, and in the pass rush, both as a blitzer himself or dropping into coverage on blitzes that send Devon Kennard and Landon Collins. And more than that, the absolute confidence and swagger he plays with would help the morale of a young rebuilding unit.
10. Ronnie Stanley (OT, Notre Dame)
Even though the Giants used a top 10 pick on Ereck Flowers last year, they still need to improve the offensive line. Stanley is too good to pass up at this point, and he could work at left tackle for the Giants while Flowers moves to the right - which is more suited to his playing style.
Raptor's Take: I can't say I disagree with this pick, it's one I'd make given the situation. However, I've said multiple times that I don't agree with moving Flowers to right tackle. First, Stanley has experience playing right tackle, Flowers doesn't. But more importantly, moving Flowers to right tackle would only delay his development, possibly to a point below where he was when he started the 2015 season. It's a position he has never played, and for a player working to overcome technique issues, forcing him to switch everything to a side he's never played before fixes nothing. Just leave him be, let him continue to apply that bloody-minded work ethic to perfecting his craft at left tackle, and build rapport with Justin Pugh, while Stanley can go back to his experience at right tackle and build a rapport with (probably) Bobby Hart.
10. Ronnie Stanley (OT, Notre Dame)
With Will Beatty no longer on the roster and last year's first-round pick Ereck Flowers struggling on the left side, Stanley would make sense as a plug-and-play left tackle from Day One.
10. Jack Conklin (OT, Michigan State)
After investing heavily in free agent defensive linemen Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon, the Giants may look to the other side of the line in the first round of the draft. Like last year's top pick Ereck Flowers, Conklin is a brawling tackle with terrific size (6-6, 308), including long arms (35"). A bookend tackle duo of Flowers and Conklin could be the best present Eli Manning ever received.
Raptor's Take: Once again, I like the Stanley pick, but I don't agree with moving Flowers. Also, while he didn't play well, I can't say that a rookie who played 14 games with a high ankle sprain "struggled." As far as I'm concerned, the fact that he was rarely out and out beaten is pretty damn impressive.
The Conklin pick, however, is the one I really want to talk about. I'm sure it will get all kinds of excitement and ire, but I'm not altogether convinced that the Giants might not favor Conklin over Stanley. He doesn't quite have Stanley's feet, but call it a sneaking suspicion, a hunch, or a gut feeling, but I can't help but think Ben McAdoo and Mike Solari would be attracted to Conklin's toughness and mauler's mentality. If there's one thing Flowers, Pugh, and Weston Richburg have in common, it's their mean, nasty, physical play between the whistles (do I have to post the gif of Richburg's block in the 9ers' game? He might still be blocking that poor DB), and it's a mentality that Conklin shares. Considering there were questions about Stanley's mental makeup, if the Giants feel the tools are close enough, they could opt to go for Conklin even if both are available.