In case you haven't been following it, the annual SB Nation NFL writers' mock draft is in full swing. The New York Giants' first-round selection, 10th overall, posted on Wednesday. Is it any surprise that the pick for the Giants is Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley?
Here is what I said in making the pick, and SB Nation draft analyst Dan Kadar's reaction:
There are valid arguments to be made for any number of players/positions at No. 10 for the Giants. I have said all offseason that the Giants' primary need is more talent across the breadth of the entire roster. Their massive spending on the defensive side of the ball in free agency did not change that.
You could make a valid case for a wide receiver, where the consensus choice would be Laquon Treadwell. The same for cornerback, where Vernon Hargreaves would look really nice in the slot and as an eventual replacement for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Shaq Lawson would be a nice fit. Leonard Floyd would give the Giants a pass-rushing outside linebacker, something they haven't had.
The best choice, though, is Stanley. The Giants have been trying for years now to complete an overhaul of their offensive line. Stanley could be the final piece, and he could be a security blanket in the event that Ereck Flowers, last year's first-round pick, does not develop at left tackle the way the Giants think he will.
Protecting Eli Manning and extending his career is a major priority for the Giants, so Stanley is the pick.
Kadar's Analysis: Ed is certainly right on that the Giants will have a lot of options with the 10th pick. That's why you have to wonder if they'll try hard to move back in the first round. My only criticism of the logic is that drafting Stanley should push Flowers to the right. From a playing style standpoint -- Stanley is a finesse blocker with good feet -- he's almost strictly a left side player in the NFL.
Obviously, I am not buying the argument that the Giants can't make an offensive tackle the pick at No. 10 simply because they have invested so many early-round draft picks on the offensive line the past three seasons.
The Giants have invested heavily on defense in free agency. Does that preclude them drafting a defensive player at No. 10? Not at all. There is certainly much more work to be done on a defense that was embarrassingly bad, the NFL's worst, in 2015. It's easy to make the argument that the pick should be, has to be, must be a defensive player. I certainly won't argue if that's the direction in which the Giants choose to go.
You can also make the case that 35-year-old quarterback Eli Manning remains the Giants' most important player. Yes, picking another offensive linemen would be an imbalance in resource allocation. If the Giants are going to succeed, however, they have to do everything in their power to protect Manning, to keep him healthy, to allow him to stand in a clean pocket as often as possible and create big plays. The only way to do that is to fix the offensive line once and for all, no matter how many resources it takes. It really doesn't matter to me which guy plays which side. The Giants simply need good players at both tackle spots, and right now they appear to only have one.
If the Giants believe Stanley, or Jack Conklin of Michigan State, can complete that group then by all means they should go ahead and make that pick.