As we while away the minutes and hours until the opening of Free Agency at 4 p.m. ET, we have some moments of relative calm to take a breath and see where we are.
At this point we have two ways to pass the time. We can either constantly refresh the tab, looking for any trickle of news to come out of the pre-FA “legal tampering” period. Or we can take a look at how the NFL Scouting Combine has impacted draft boards, and which prospects might be in consideration when the New York Giants pick at 23rd overall.
With about eight hours of “legal tampering” to go until the start of actual free agency, let’s take a look at a group of prospects could be a Giant by the end of April 27th.
- Ryan Ramczyk (OT, Wisconsin) - Ramczyk was my pick for the New York Giants in our post-combine mock draft. He is a strong, athletic, and nasty blocker. Thanks to inexperience and a hip injury his stock could be incredibly fluid, but he would be an immediate upgrade to the offensive line. [Prospect Profile]
- Forrest Lamp (OL, WKU) - Lamp is a versatile blocker in the mold of Justin Pugh or Zach Martin. He was a college left tackle, but his athleticism, frame, and build suggest that he might be able to play any position on the line. He could go higher than 23rd overall, but if he is a Giant, they can slot him at either right guard or right tackle and he would be an upgrade. [Prospect Profile]
- Christian McCaffrey (RB, Stanford) - McCaffrey is probably the most versatile offensive player — and one of the most versatile players overall — in the entire draft. He is a fast, patient, smart, and agile runner and an incredibly natural receiver of the ball. He has a stronger lower body than he gets credit for and can allow the playbook to be wide open.
- David Njoku (TE, Miami) - The Giants are reportedly interested in Njoku, and after a slightly disappointing combine, he could be there at 23rd overall. While he isn’t as fast as we all thought he would be, he is an explosive receiver and a match-up problem who can block at the second level.
- Bucky Hodges (TE, Virginia Tech) - If Njoku didn’t get the “combine bump” we were all expecting, Hodges may have gotten an unexpected one. Weighing in at roughly 260 pounds and running a sub-4.6 second 40-yard dash, jumping 39-inch in the vertical and a combine-record 11’2” broad jump, he is the freakiest tight end, and receiver, in the draft.
- Haason Reddick (LB/EDGE, Temple) - No prospect has helped himself more over the course of the draft process than Temple’s Haason Reddick. Reddick put his impressive athleticism and diverse skill set to work and not only blew away the combine but had an impressive week at the Senior Bowl transitioning from defensive end to linebacker. He can still rush the passer, but showed the ability to play in space. Given the Giants’ reported interest in Leonard Floyd in the 2016 draft, the similarly versatile (though not nearly as long) Reddick could catch their eye as well.
- Malik McDowell (DL, Michigan State) - At his best, McDowell should interest the Giants. He is a versatile and athletic defender with the ability to play inside or outside. Inside he is simply too long and fluid for interior blockers to cope with, and his size and athleticism make him a tough draw for tackles as well. However, his effort at Michigan state was inconsistent, and there are questions about him off-the field and between game days. Those questions could scare the Giants away.
- Taco Charlton (DE, Michigan) - Charlton is on the list of players who just look like Giants. He has the frame, size, and length that the Giants covet and had a very solid workout. Charlton was inconsistent in college, but he also only has a single season at his natural position as a 4-3 defensive end. The hope is that he is an ascending player who will learn how to use his tools and his best football is still ahead of him.
- T.J. Watt (EDGE, Wisconsin) - A rush linebacker for Wisconsin, Watt has the size and power to put his hand in the dirt. He tested out as one of the most athletic edge defenders at the combine, and brings the now famous Watt work ethic and tenaciousness with him.
- Jabrill Peppers (S, Michigan) - Peppers proved himself to be not only an incredible (and incredibly well conditioned) athlete at the combine, but an intense competitor. While he is the other contender for “most versatile player” along with McCaffrey, his usage at Michigan likely stunted his growth as a safety. His best football is likely ahead of him, and attitude to just compete harder when faced with a raw deal will likely appeal to Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo (and 31 other draft rooms).