The NFL Draft is a strange beast. It's mostly men shaking hands with each other, and another guy talking into a P.A. system. Why is this on TV? Why is it on TV for three days!? For many fans, it's to see which college prospects land on their team. For others, it's about seeing how the NFL evaluation process pans out in real time. It's difficult to look away, and with each passing year, I try my best to block out the early media noise and preserve the fun of the draft until closer to the event, but again, with each passing year, I fail.
The NFL Draft is addictive, and it's because of opinions. It's a game where bar stool arguments are played out with massive consequences by hugely valuable sports teams. The real draw of the draft is that regardless of what player ends up where, you the viewer can argue about it. It's likely that everyone has their list of preferred prospects, and I'm no different.
Here I have provided my 50 favorite players in the 2016 NFL Draft. This is not my top 50 in terms of talent. I have to be very, extremely, super, absolutely clear about that. This is a list of players that I would like to see end up on the New York Giants. It's not who I think should be selected with the first 50 picks in the draft.
Also, important to note I have some Big 10 bias. I'm a half-hearted Penn State fan. It's not my alma mater, but being Irish, I had to adopt a team, and they're the closest I've got because they played here a couple of years ago against UCF and it was a good laugh seeing actual football up close for the first time. Any bias I have here should be offset by the round projection I've given each player. I like ol' Hack but he's not a top QB. I know that. So, he's here, but he's not rated highly.
1. Vernon Hargreaves III -- Florida (1)
Only player who I think has the possibility to be the best at a position in the NFL.
2. William Jackson III -- Houston (1)
Well-rounded. Could work with almost any team in the league.
3. Briean Boddy-Calhoun -- Minnesota (3-4)
Short but productive outside corner.
4. Eric Murray -- Minnesota (3-5)
See above. Minnesota started two below-average height corners, and it worked.
5. DJ White -- Georgia Tech (4-5)
Strong fundamentals, but had a down year. Could turn it around with the right coach.
6. Mike Hilton -- Ole Miss (4-5)
A Day 3 version of Hargreaves. If you still need a slot-corner at that point, he's your guy.
7. Trevon Stewart -- Houston (6-UDFA)
A slot corner with fantastic tackling ability, not afraid to break against the run.
8. Nick VanHoose -- Northwestern (4-5)
A good fit for any team looking to run zones, could potentially convert to safety.
9. Sean Davis -- Maryland (3-5)
The most versatile DB in this class, but needs a lot of polish.
10. Tanner McEvoy -- Wisconsin (4-UDFA)
A 6-foot-6 QB-turned-receiver-turned-safety with excellent coverage skills.
11. Darian Thompson -- Boise State (2-3)
Could be the safest pick at safety in this class.
12. Kevin Byard -- Middle Tennessee (3-4)
Ball-hawk type, would be excellent complement to Landon Collins.
13. Karl Joseph -- West Virginia (1-2)
ACL question mark, but widely regarded as best at the position this year.
14. Carl Nassib -- Penn State (2-3)
Excellent edge presence, will beat you in a number of ways, always working.
15. Austin Johnson -- Penn State (1-2)
The linchpin of a defensive line that kept its team alive for the past two years.
16. Anthony Zettel -- Penn State (4-5)
Not as NFL ready as Johnson due to size, but every bit the player.
17. Sheldon Day -- Notre Dame (2-3)
My favourite interior line player. Balanced pass-rush and run-defense . So polished.
18. Chris Jones -- Miss. State (1-2)
Defensive tackle who is always around the QB.
19. Jarran Reed -- Alabama (1)
You can't run on him. Can't.
20. Emmanuel Ogbah -- Oklahoma State (1-2)
Disruptive edge player who likely won't make it to the Giants at No. 40.
21. Bronson Kaufusi -- BYU (2-3)
"The Stormin' Mormon" gets on base.
22. James Cowser -- Southern Utah (3-5)
Small school player whose numbers transcend his competition level.
23. Yannick Ngakoue -- Maryland (4-6)
Undersized pass-rusher who always finds a way.
24. Matt Ioannidis -- Temple (5-7)
Made a name for himself at the Senior Bowl. Gets a shot somewhere based on that alone.
25. Blake Martinez -- Stanford (3-5)
Run stuffer, gets to the point of attack, wins blocks.
26. Deion Jones -- LSU (2-3)
Good player. Ran a 4.38 second 40-yard dash at his Pro-Day. 4.38!
27. Joshua Perry -- Ohio State (2-3)
Can cover, can play the run. This is what the Giants need.
28. Kevin Hogan -- Stanford (5-7)
Followed Andrew Luck and will be remembered for his own play. Think about that.
29. Christian Hackenberg -- Penn State (4-7)
Flawed but intriguing player who could surprise someone down the line.
30. Vernon Adams -- Oregon (3-5)
He's the only QB I think could actually start as a rookie despite not getting picked early.
32. Kyle Murphy -- Stanford (2-4)
My ideal offensive lineman for the Giants. Could fit in multiple spots and be great.
33. Nick Martin -- Notre Dame (1-2)
I like Martin slightly more than Alabama's Ryan Kelly as the top center.
34. Vadal Alexander -- LSU (1-2)
Polished Day 1 starter at guard, potential right-tackle upside.
35. Cody Whitehair -- Kansas State (1-2)
The meanest, toughest, most refined guard in the draft.
36. Shon Coleman -- Auburn (2-3)
Beat cancer, then beat up on everyone else.
37. Joe Thuney -- NC State (3-4)
A really strong guard that may be available on Day 3.
38. Joshua Garnett -- Stanford (1-2)
Run-blocker of the year. Pair him with Kyle Murphy for maximum Stanford power.
39. Christian Westerman -- Arizona State (1-3)
Whoever he plays beside will benefit from his pass-protection skills.
40. Corey Coleman -- Baylor (1)
The player I think would best be suited to playing opposite Odell Beckham Jr.
41. Laquon Treadwell -- Ole Miss (1)
Best receiver in the draft. Ignore the nonsense about his 40-time.
42. Michael Thomas -- OSU (1-2)
Won't last until the Giants at No. 40. Too good. Will be snatched up early.
43. Daniel Braverman -- Western Michigan (3-5)
I think he's best slot receiver in this class.
44. Rashard Higgins -- Colorado State (1-3)
Matt Harmon's "Reception Perception" metric rates Higgins similarly to Beckham.
45. Paul McRoberts -- South East Missouri State (4-6)
Owned the Senior Bowl and showed his small school status does not define him.
46. Moritz Boehringer -- Germany (5-UDFA)
He's German and he's good. As an Irishman, I'll always root for a European invasion!
47. Dan Vitale -- Northwestern (5-7)
Played "superback", which is sort of like a receiving-fullback, and did it really well.
48. Glenn Gronkowski -- Kansas State (6-UDFA)
It's Gronk's fullback brother, but he's good even outside of name recognition.
48. Thomas Duarte - -UCLA (3-5)
A TE-WR hybrid. Not going to block well for you, but will catch like the best of them.
49. Jerell Adams - South Carolina (3-4)
The best blocking TE just happens to be pretty nifty at routes, too.
50. Brad Craddock -- Maryland (6-UDFA)
Makes long kicks in pressure situations. What more could you ask for in a kicker?