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2016 NFL Draft: Ronnie Stanley or Jack Conklin? Which one is right for Giants?

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Let's make the case for both players.

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Jack Conklin
Jack Conklin
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Giants remain at No. 10 in the 2016 NFL Draft and use that pick to select an offensive tackle, the choice will almost certainly be either Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame or Jack Conklin of Michigan State. Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss, thought by some to be the best player in the draft, should be long gone. Taylor Decker of Ohio State might be first-round material, but he isn't going in the top 10.

But, which guy should it be? Each has his supporters and, to an extent, his detractors. In our mock draft database, Stanley is the pick in 15 of the 53 mocks, or 28.3 percent. Conklin is the selection seven times, or 13.2 percent of the time. For what it's worth, Gil Brandt of NFL.com has Stanley as his ninth-ranked draft prospect and Conklin as his 10th, so the value would lie in what a team was looking for.

Many will argue that the pick should be something -- almost anything -- other than an offensive lineman considering the heavy amount of resources the Giants have allocated to the line in recent years. There is validity to that argument, but that isn't the purpose of this exercise. We are looking at this in a Stanley vs. Conklin vacuum. For this discussion, the only thing that matters is which of those two players would be a preferable choice for the Giants.

Before we build the case for each player, I asked our man Chris Pflum for his opinion. Here is what he said:

"Tough choice ... I like parts of both. Stanley is better now, and a better pass protector. Conklin is meaner and a better run blocker. I think for the Giants I'd go with Conklin and let Solari coach him up. He's got the athleticism and if they can fix his footwork, his mentality fits in well with the rest of the OL (who are all mean between the whistles)."

Now, let's make the case for either player.

The case for Stanley

Throughout the draft process Stanley, 6-foot-5, 312 pounds, has been regarded more highly than Conklin, albeit slightly, by the majority of draft analysts. There are plenty of draft analysts who believe Stanley won't even last to the Giants pick at 10.

Stanley is considered by many to be the best pass protecting tackle in the 2016 draft class. In its draft guide, Pro Football Focus anoints him as such, saying he is "silky smooth in pass protection."

"It’s rare to see a tackle move as fluidly as Stanley does, and he should be protecting the blind side for many years in the NFL."

The Giants drafted Ereck Flowers No. 9 overall a year ago, installed him at left tackle, and have been adamant that he will stay there. That likely cost them a chance at free-agent left tackles like Russell Okung and others. Would it prevent them from drafting Stanley? Probably not. Both Stanley and Flowers have right side experience. Which guy plays which side is really of no concern to me.

In his draft guide, Dane Brugler of CBS Sports writes:

"Boasting an ideal NFL frame for the position, Stanley is a dancing bear on the edges with God-given athleticism, long arms and above average feet to handle speed and mirror rushers in space. He still needs to develop functional power and fine-tune his mechanics before he’s ready for NFL snaps, but his upside and athletic skill-level for man his size makes him a very attractive NFL prospect."

If the Giants want a real option aside from Flowers on the left side, Stanley would be the guy. If pass protection for Eli Manning, Stanley's strength, is the priority then Stanley is again a logical choice.

The case for Conklin

It might be a distant, hard-to-hear drumbeat, but more and more as the draft approaches Conklin is gaining support. Pro Football Focus has Conklin ranked No. 13 and Stanley No. 16 on its list of the draft's top 150 prospects. That's really splitting hairs, since PFF is highly complementary of both players, and PFF's player rankings are definitely not the status quo -- witness Laquon Treadwell as PFF's fitth-ranked wide receiver -- but it is evidence that some believe Conklin could be the better pick.

In its prospect list, PFF writes:

A power scheme is ideal for Conklin who moves defenders at the point of attack while holding up well in pass protection. His two-year body of work is right up there with any offensive tackle in the nation on a snap-for-snap basis.

In its draft guide, PFF writes:

Conklin may not always look the part, but he gets the job done as well as any tackle in this class. He’s a guy that will move the line of scrimmage in the run game and has few enough deficiencies in pass protection to be a quality NFL left tackle.

In his draft guide, Brugler says that "Conklin is well-coached, physical and a natural competitor, which makes him NFL ready from day one – starting right tackle or guard as a rookie with upside to move to left tackle once he adjusts to the speed of the pro game."

NFL.com says Conklin should be able to "step in right away and become a quality starter" on the right side.

Per PFF, Conklin's 2015 pass-blocking efficiency score of 97.4 is identical to Stanley's.

If the Giants want a plug-and-play right tackle who probably offers more in terms of run-blocking than Stanley, Conklin would be the guy.

Final thoughts

What it comes down to is what are the Giants looking for? Asked about that recently, offensive line coach Mike Solari had this to say:

"The qualities you want are the core strength, the agility, the mobility of the offensive linemen, and you are always looking for agile and mobile linemen."

That doesn't tell us much, although Conklin's 3-cone, 20-yard shuttle, and 40-yard dash numbers are all far superior to Stanley's. Does that give us a hint? Only time will tell.

In the end, there is probably no right or wrong answer between these two -- especially if the idea is to put the player at right tackle. It will simply be a matter of preference.