Todd McShay of ESPN is out with version 5.0 of his 2016 NFL mock draft, and he has done something for the New York Giants that they have not done in the real draft since 1984. He selected a linebacker, giving the Giants Darron Lee of Ohio State.
The Giants spent big in the offseason to improve their front four and secondary, but they still need to get a few more linebackers who can cover and get sideline-to-sideline against the run. It would mark the first time since Carl Banks in 1984 that the Giants drafted a linebacker in Round 1. Lee has been blessed with an elite combination of speed (4.47 40-yard dash) and athleticism.
I don't, in the least, disagree with the selection of a linebacker in this spot. Offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley, Laremy Tunsil, and Jack Conklin are off the board. So are defensive ends DeForest Buckner and Joey Bosa. I do, however, disagree with McShay's choice of linebackers.
Both Leonard Floyd (11th, Chicago Bears) and Myles Jack (17th, Atlanta Falcons) are still on the board at No. 10. In this scenario, the pick all day every day is Jack, provided that the Giants are OK with the medical reports on his knee. Remember what GM Jerry Reese said Thursday, that the Giants won't take a player in the first round if they consider him a medical risk. If the Giants are leery of Jack and still take a linebacker here, I believe the pick would be Floyd.
Why? Reese has a type, and his type is that he loves length, he loves size, versatility, upside. Floyd is bigger, heavier, offers the possibility of rushing occasionally as a defensive end, and most analysts believe he has a higher ceiling than Lee. Yes, he may offer somewhat more bust potential but my gut tells me that Reese, with his job quite possibly on the line, might go down swinging. He won't take a character or health risk this early, but he would take a "talent" risk.
There is also this. Many analysts, some I have talked to and others whose work I have only read, peg Floyd as a possible top 10 pick and have him in the conversation for the Giants. That's not the case with Lee. Maybe it's "group-think" but I'm operating on the belief that where there's smoke there's fire.
So, a linebacker to the Giants. But, is it the right linebacker? Your thoughts, Giants fans?