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NFL Draft: Which players should New York Giants avoid?

Pat Traina has offered a list of 10, and Ed gives his thoughts on them

Capitol One Orange Bowl - Florida State v Michigan
Dalvin Cook
Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images

We spend months each offseason leading up to the NFL Draft discussing which players should interest the New York Giants. We don’t, though, spend that much time discussing players who should not, for whatever reason, interest the Giants.

Let’s spend some time doing that. I’m going to cheat just a little since Big Blue Chat podcast partner Pat Traina recently penned a “10 players the Giants should avoid” post. I am going to use Pat’s list and let you know whether I agree or disagree with her selections.

So, here we go.

Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma

Pat says:

The Giants, remember, just went through a rather ugly PR nightmare with former kicker Josh Brown, who was alleged to have physically and emotionally abused his now ex-wife.

Since then, the Giants have been trying to repair their image when it comes to domestic violence, making it highly unlikely they’d take a player, albeit a talented one, who has that red character flag next to his name.

Valentine’s View

Agree. Wholeheartedly. After the Brown fiasco during which the Giants came off looking as though they minimized the impact of domestic violence, I can’t imagine they would go anywhere near Mixon. And, in my view, they shouldn’t.

Sidney Jones, CB, Washington

Pat says:

There are some who believe that the Giants' depth at cornerback—starters Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins, slot cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and veteran journeyman Valentino Blake—would be the perfect scenario to provide a buffer of sorts for Jones while he rehabs from his injury.

With no guarantees regarding when Jones might be ready to go and with there being a push to get rookies into the pipeline sooner than later, it’s highly unlikely Jones will be hearing from the Giants, even if, as ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. believes, Jones falls to the second or third round.

Valentine’s View

Agree. On paper, the Giants could “provide a buffer of sorts,” as Pat says. Remember, though, DRC, Jenkins and Eli Apple all missed time with injuries last season. It would be very difficult to take a player like Jones who might not help at all in 2017. Especially if the Giants are going to also draft a quarterback at some point.

Alex Anzalone, LB, Florida

Pat says:

One of the subtle yet big changes the Giants made last year in their draft strategy was to stay away from guys who didn’t have relatively clean injury histories.

Anzalone, unfortunately, does not meet that criteria. Per Lance Zierlein of, Anzalone’s injury history include a shoulder issue as a freshman and as a junior, and a broken left arm suffered toward the end of the 2016 season.

Valentine’s View

Agree. Mostly. Past is prologue to future. In this case, that means players who get injured in college will also tend to get injured in the NFL. If Anzalone lasts until Day 3 of the draft, the way Devon Kennard did back in 2014, I could see taking a risk. Not, however, in the first three rounds.

Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan

Pat says:

When evaluating Peppers for the Giants, the question needs to be asked if he would be an upgrade over what they have.

Peppers is listed at 5’11”, 213 pounds. Per Rob Rang of CBS Sports, Peppers is a tweener who lacks the size to be a full-time linebacker at the NFL level and instead projects as a safety.

Thus, in comparing his skill set and production to what the Giants have, the question is whether he would be an upgrade over Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins.

The answer is no.

Valentine’s View

Agree. I get the fascination with Peppers, but what would the Giants do with him? Collins is far superior to Peppers near the line of scrimmage. Peppers is not a slot corner. He’s definitely not a linebacker. The Giants already have Darian Thompson, Andrew Adams and Nat Berhe to patrol the back end of the defense. There’s a spot for Peppers in the NFL, but not with the Giants.

Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

Pat says:

Per [Lance] Zierlein, a lot of Robinson’s weaknesses lie in sloppy technique that the veteran scout compares to current Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers. ...

If Robinson’s technique is that flawed—Zierlein also notes that Robinson is “on the ground substantially more than a tackle should be”—he would hardly appear to represent an upgrade at this point over Flowers, the latter of whom has been working in the team’s weight room this past offseason to presumably address some strength and flexibility issues that might have contributed to his own technique problems.

Valentine’s View

Disagree. I’m familiar with Zierlein’s opinion on Robinson, and mentioning similarities to Flowers is enough to send many Giants fans running. Yet, analysts I trust think that opinion of Robinson’s technique is overblown.

Offensive line consultant Duke Manyweather has repeatedly said that Robinson’s issues are not close to those Flowers entered the NFL with — and still has.

“People have started to make the lazy comparison of him and another Ereck Flowers. It’s not. His technique is by far head and shoulders beyond Ereck Flowers, and the things that he struggles with can be fixed.

“His technique is so much farther along than some of the recent guys who show those traits. He’s not them. ...

“When you talk about the traits you want a left tackle to have in the first round, especially top 15, Cam Robinson checks those boxes.”

Scouting Academy Director Dan Hatman had told me he believes Robinson is already better than Flowers.

I’ll side with them on this one.

Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan state

Pat says:

An unnamed NFC North area scout shared his mixed feelings about McDowell with Zierlein, saying, "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."

That’s not a ringing endorsement of the young man, nor is Zierlein’s description of McDowell’s weaknesses which are summarized as follows: “Production doesn't match up with the traits and the talent. Scouts concerned about work ethic and leadership.”

Valentine’s View

Agree. To get McDowell, the Giants would probably have to use the 23rd overall pick. If it’s me, I can’t do that on a player who seemingly doesn’t always give his best effort. Chris is so down on McDowell that he completely left him off his top 100 Big Board.

Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech

Pat says:

Early in the draft process, Virginia Tech TE Bucky Hodges was one of the names that some thought might draw the Giants’ attention.

Upon closer review, Hodges might not be an ideal fit for what the Giants need right away, which is a vertical threat who can bust open the seam and, if need be, engage in a little blocking.

Valentine’s View

Disagree. You knew I was going to disagree with this one, right? As many times as I’ve mocked Hodges to the Giants in the second or third round you know this is one of my favorite Day 2 players.

From what I have been told, Pat is correct that the Giants appear to have cooled a bit on Hodges. That, however, does not mean that they would not select him in the right circumstance. I just believe that whoever takes Hodges will end up with a good NFL player.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida

Pat says:

Unfortunately, Cook is another prospect whose off-field decisions have raised some concerns about his character. Per ESPN’s Matt Schlabach, Cook’s poor decisions have included a BB gun incident and a battery arrest. Andy Staples of reported that Cook was cited for mistreatment of animals.

While the Giants, like most teams, seem willing to overlook misdemeanors, the more serious stuff might give them pause in spending a premium draft pick on a player with an alleged history of poor judgement.

Valentine’s View

Agree. I know there are those who look at the talent, and can’t see past it. When you are investing a first-round resource, though, you have to see the whole picture. Character, reliability and trustworthiness count.

I have seen reports that some scouts would rather take a chance on Mixon than deal with Cook. For me, that’s a huge red flag.

Tim Williams, LB, Alabama

Pat says:

Alabama LB rusher Tim Williams is another player whose off-field decisions might make him too much of a risk to draft in the first round.

According to Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports’ Shutdown Corner, Williams admitted to having failed multiple drug tests while in school.

Further adding to any questions regarding Williams is that he was arrested on a gun charge in September 2016, per the Tuscaloosa News.

Valentine’s View

Agree. Again, character counts. You can take fliers on guys like this late in the draft or as undrafted free agents. It is easier to move on under those circumstances if things go sideways. Use a high pick on a guy like this and if it doesn’t work out you have really hurt yourself. Marvin Austin, anyone?

T.J. Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin

Pat says:

The team that ultimately drafts Wisconsin LB T.J. Watt, younger brother of Houston Texans superstar J.J. Watt, most likely is going to keep everything crossed that the younger Watt can be one-half as effective as his big brother.

The Giants, however, might want to think carefully about Watt for a couple of reasons. The first reason is his injury history. ...

The other reason, at least as far as the Giants might be concerned, has to do with Watt’s compatibility for their scheme. Watt, 6’4”, 252 pounds, projects to defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, per Dane Brugler’s 2017 NFL Draft Guide.

Given his weight, Watt, a projected first-round pick, might not fit the Giants’ prototype for a defensive end (players who weigh at least 265 pounds, the added bulk giving them a better base against the run.)

Valentine’s View

Agree. I just believe there will be players available who are better fits for the Giants than Watt.