No one knows for certain right now what the New York Giants will do in the 2017 NFL Draft, not even general manager Jerry Reese. All anyone has at this point is an opinion, some obviously based on more actual inside information than others.
There is, truthfully, no right or wrong answer as to who the Giants should draft. There are many factors that could impact how the draft turns out and which players the Giants end up with. We have mock drafts to discuss the options and the potential scenarios.
NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter came out with a four-round mock on Wednesday. That, of course, gives us a chance to discuss a variety of players and scenarios. So, let’s go through Reuter’s choices for the Giants and do that.
Round 1 (23) — Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan St.
Reuter says: “Power, length, and athleticism? Sounds like a Giant to me.”
NFL.com says: “Has similar physical traits and abilities of Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner, but may not share their football character. McDowell lacked production along the interior and could benefit from a move to a defensive end spot in a 4-3 or 3-4 front. McDowell is raw, but when he flashes, it can be blinding. McDowell is an explosive, ascending prospect with All-Pro potential if he grows into his body and takes the necessary coaching.”
Players off the board: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee; Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama; O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama; Garett Bolles, OT, Utah; Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan; Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Players passed on: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina; Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin; Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford; Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky; David Njoku, TE, Miami
Valentine’s View: I certainly get this pick here. If the Giants and Johnathan Hankins ultimately part ways, the combination of Robert Thomas and Jay Bromley filling that spot is probably not going to cut it. ESPN’s Todd McShay said Wednesday that McDowell “might be the most talented interior defensive lineman” in this class and 23rd overall is in the proper range for him.
There are, however, some concerns about McDowell. From the NFL.com scouting report:
"He has a chance to be a dominant player in our league. I mean dominant. It hasn't turned on for him all the way yet but if it does, he could be like Mario Williams. He's just a little lazy and I worry about whether he is going to be a self-starter." -- NFC North area scout
If I was making this pick it would not be McDowell. I would take any of Ramczyk, McCaffrey or Njoku before selecting a defensive tackle at 23. Chris suggested the idea of using this pick as trade bait for teams who might want Trubisky. That’s interesting, but for our purposes I’m not messing with a trade.
In the end, I’m going to eliminate the tight end, address that position later and choose between Ramczyk and McCaffrey. The choice? McCaffrey.
Why? That goes against two of my philosophies — offensive line before play-makers and no running backs in the first round. I think, though, that given this scenario this is the choice Reese would make. He has often talked in the past about how a team can never have enough play-makers, and that is what McCaffrey is. In a myriad of ways Ben McAdoo would love. Also, I think in this scenario the Giants would be OK waiting to address the offensive line.
Round 2 (55) — Taylor Moton, OL, Western Michigan
Passed on: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt; Davis Webb, QB, Cal; Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova; Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida; Dorian Johnson, G, Pittsburgh; Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
NFL.com says: “Four-year starter for ascending Western Michigan program. Size and potential to dominate at the point of attack with pure power should make him a coveted right guard prospect. He can be a little stiff in his movements and his footwork needs plenty of work, but he's functional in both areas. Might need additional work before he is ready to take on the wily, athletic defensive tackles in the NFL, but his physical traits and power give him a chance to become a reliable NFL starter.”
Valentine’s View: I like this pick for the Giants. If Temple’s Dion Dawkins, a player similar to Moton, had still been on the board he would also have been a consideration. Draft analysts are split on whether Moton can play right tackle in the NFL or if he will have to move to guard. Mike Mayock of NFL Network said recently he believes Moton can play right tackle.
Just because I like the pick, and believe Moton is a player the Giants could realistically have on their radar at some point, does not mean it is the pick I would make in this spot. Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham is still on the board here, and that makes my eyes light up. He’s a guy who has three-down NFL potential and often gets late-first round consideration. I can’t let him pass here. By taking Cunningham here I probably miss my opportunity to get a left tackle out of this draft, but in my view the player is too good to pass on.
If I was selecting an offensive lineman in this scenario it would be Antonio Garcia of Troy. With John Jerry, D.J. Fluker and Bobby Hart the Giants have enough right guard/right tackle types. Garcia has left tackle potential, and if I were to take a lineman here that is what I would want.
Round 3 (87) — Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson
Passed on: Derek Rivers, OLB, Youngstown State; D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas; Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech; Sidney Jones, CB, Washington; Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma; Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma; Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland
NFL.com says: “Has elite size for the position, but his motor and effort leave a lot to be desired. Despite his size, might not have the attitude necessary to be an in-line blocker on the NFL level. Tape shows a route-runner who could struggle to uncover against quality man coverage. Leggett has traits and talent, but his production was helped along by Clemson's system. Will need a more ramped-up motor to reach his potential.”
Valentine’s View: Right position, wrong player. The pick in this scenario I am absolutely banging the table for is Bucky Hodges of Virginia Tech. A massive target for Eli Manning who is a match-up nightmare for linebackers and safeties. With Rhett Ellison and Jerell Adams I wouldn’t be concerned at all about Hodges’ limited in-line experience. Split him out and let him go to work.
Here’s what NFL.com says about Hodges: “Hodges still has work to do as a route-runner and his inconsistent hands could be a concern. He can line up inside or outside while his size and ability to work all three levels of the field should be appealing to teams looking for pass catching options. The competitive nature of the NFL could bring out more consistent toughness in him as a blocker. He has the tools to be a long-time starter and touchdown-maker in the league.”
Round 4 (141) — Ben Boulware, LB, Clemson
Passed on: James Conner, RB, Pitt; Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin; Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
NFL.com says: “Tough and highly competitive. Has the attitude and swagger for the position but lacks the desired size and quickness. Margin for error might be too small to become a starter in the league, but his potential on special teams could be a way to open the door to an NFL career.”
Valentine’s View: I like Boulware as a late-round Chase Blackburn type, but not here in the fourth round. Not a player this limited athletically.
It’s difficult in this spot to say who exactly I would pick, simply because Reuter doesn’t offer a list of best available players remaining and it’s difficult to figure out what the choices are.
In this scenario, my choices have been McCaffrey, Cunningham and Hodges. That means I’m probably looking at a developmental offensive tackle or perhaps a defensive tackle to add to the rotation. Cornerback would be another position to look at, as would adding someone to the defensive line. Maybe even a quarterback. It all depends on the board.