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Mike Mayock: O.J. Howard, David Njoku headline “great tight end class”

Draft guru lauds depth at that position

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O.J. Howard
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

O.J. Howard or David Njoku? The more you look at mock drafts, the more the selection for the New York Giants at No. 23 in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft keeps coming back to one of those two talented tight ends. Which one would NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock choose for the Giants?

During a marathon conference call with media on Monday afternoon, Mayock called Howard his “No. 1 tight end,” but would not commit on a choice for the Giants.

“I can't sit here and tell you if I think the head of the Giants is going to take a tight end,” Mayock said. “I do think that Howard and Njoku would both be in a conversation at that point, though. They're both that talented.”

Mayock also indicated, however, that the Giants or any team in need of a tight end will have plenty of options. He called this a “great tight end class.”

“I think the beauty of the tight end class this year is ... it can be in the second or third round or maybe in the fourth round. Or what kind of tight end you're looking for at the end of the day,” Mayock said.

“I think in the second, third, fourth round, you could be looking at an Evan Engram or Gerald Everett, both of whom probably go in the second or third, and they're really good pass-catching tight ends. I think Jordan Leggett is a different conversation. He's about 6-5 from Clemson. He's, again, a move guy. He's out wide. Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech. Shoot, there is a kid named Adam Shaheen, a small school kid that's 277 pounds and catches the ball really well. So my point is I'm not trying to throw a bunch of names at you, but it doesn't have to be the first round.”

Njoku, out of Miami, is currently the player most often mocked to the Giants.

“Njoku is a freaky kid that looks like a wide receiver, and you can't believe that he's actually as big as he is,” Mayock said. “Catches the ball well, can get vertical, and what I like is if you watch enough of his tape, he gets after some people in the run game. He's not really a good run-blocker yet. But the key is he gets after it. And as long as you get after it and you have a willingness to do it, you can be taught. So I'm bullish on Njoku.”

Mayock also mentioned Jake Butt, the tight end from Michigan who suffered a knee injury in the Orange Bowl. He said Butt is “one of those in-line blockers. Tough guy and good enough athletically to catch the ball short and immediate.”

We have heard others mention the depth of the tight end class in the upcoming draft. Add Mayock to the list and consider that more evidence that if the Giants want to get a tight end in the draft they should be able to.