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2017 NFL mock draft: Mocking The Draft gives the Giants DE Taco Charlton

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Do the Giants need another defensive player? Can they afford not to spend a first-round pick there?

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 29 Michigan at Michigan State Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to the offseason.

There will be plenty of posts regarding the Giants’ disappointing exit from the postseason, the state of the team, what they need to fix going forward, and what moves they might make in free agency and the draft.

But for now, let’s just take a look at a Monday mock draft, courtesy of Dan Kadar at Mocking The Draft. With the Giants’ loss, they are now locked in to the

Note: This draft is based on team needs as Dan sees them

23. New York Giants - Taco Charlton, DL, Michigan

Key needs: DL, TE, CB

Along the defensive line, both end Jason Pierre-Paul and tackle Johnathan Hankins are free agents, and the team splashed big money on that side of the ball last offseason. Neither Larry Donnell or Will Tye are the play-maker the Giants need at tight end. In the first two rounds they should have several options at the position. If Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is let go this offseason it opens up a key spot at cornerback.

Raptor’s Take: I think there is a very good chance that the Giants use their first-round pick on an edge rusher. First, the one thing their defense truly lacks is a speed rusher who can get pressure quickly, a player like Osi Umenyiora. Second, this draft is just stacked with talented pass rushers. All told, there are probably a dozen edge rushers (defensive ends and outside linebackers) in this draft class who could garner first round consideration.

Charlton is a good pick, and at 6-foot-6, 270 pounds with long arms and a blend of power and quickness, he has a lot of the traits the Giants tend to covet in their defensive ends. Most of his time at Michigan was spent as a rotation player in their 3-4 front, but he blossomed into an impact defensive end when they switched to a 4-3 in 2016. He was productive in his one year in that scheme, and looks as though he has plenty of upside in the NFL if allowed to play his natural position. The question is whether or not he has the kind of athleticism they need to add to their pass rush.

The Giants struggled at times to get pressure in 2016. They averaged a sack a game over their first six games, and despite their five registered sacks of Aaron Rodgers, they did not get pressure quickly. Part of that was scheme, opting instead to contain Rodgers and collapse the pocket around him, but in long-yardage situations, when they needed to get past a blocker and get a sack, they largely failed to do it. Romeo Okwara struggled, his only pressure coming on a sack when Rodgers left the pocket (per PFF), and Olivier Vernon recorded just one tackle and two pressures despite playing every single snap.

Keeping the defense together should be one of Jerry Reese’s top priorities, but they also need that dynamic pass rusher who can routinely beat his blocker and create havoc in the backfield. The Giants will have to face Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, and Kirk Cousins a total of six times a year for the foreseeable future. All of them are athletic, and the Giants will need to upgrade the speed of their pass rush.