We don’t mark or comment on every mock draft that graces the Inter-Google. If we did, I think I would have transformed into some insane Gollum-like creature a long time ago. But we do like to stop and take notice when one of the “heavy hitters” releases a mock draft.
The reason being, that the guys at the top of the heap at ESPN and the NFL Network (or .Com), have greater resources and extensive contacts throughout the league. And as we get closer to the draft the statement “What I think” is more like code for “what I’m hearing from scouts and front office sources.” In other words, these mocks tend to be informed by the league itself and can give us insight on what various teams are thinking.
It isn’t exact, but we should pay attention to them anyway.
Wednesday morning ESPN’s Todd McShay released a 3-round mock draft with some specific rules.
The concept for this is simple: I play general manager for every team. This isn't me projecting picks; this is me making them, for three full rounds, based on what's best for each team at that slot.
Please read the ground rules:
1. At each slot, I make a pick in the best interest of only the team with the pick. I won't pass on a player at No. 4 just because I like the team better at No. 5.
2. No trades unless they're already done. I try to address team needs, but like in the draft, value can supersede need.
3. Again, I'm not projecting picks. It's more a look at where I see value up and down the board.
And now, let’s skip forward a bit to the New York Giants’ pick.
Round 1 (23): Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Round 2 (55): Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
Round 3 (87): Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama
The Giants have invested heavily in their front four and secondary the past few offseasons, and I like the idea of adding a playmaker to the second level. Davis still has room to grow in coverage, but he's an elite run defender, showing the ability to react and close on the ball in a hurry (much like Bucs LB Kwon Alexander). Brantley, Davis' Florida teammate, is another disruptive run defender, and Everett's athleticism and ball skills give him the potential to be a pass-catching mismatch at the next level.
Raptor’s Take: Okay, before I get to McShay’s picks for the Giants, I need to address a few first-round picks before the Giants’ turn came around.
14th overall - Philadelphia Eagles: Christian McCaffrey (RB, Stanford)
17th overall - Washington Redskins: Haason Reddick (LB/EDGE, Temple)
...C’MON MAN! You know what, just for that, I’m bringing back this, TODD!
Okay, back to the Giants.
Let’s start (logically enough) with the first round. McShay has Garret Bolles and Cam Robinson off the board with the 19th and 20th picks, but Ryan Ramczyk still there when the Giants pick.
Personally, I’m not sure I see Jarrad Davis here. Based on his tape I had him as a mid- to high second-round pick, and I think his impressive pro day performance is forcing him higher. There is no doubt he is a talented prospect and a good athlete, but some over-aggressive and impatient play could get him in trouble at the next level. He also has a troubling injury history, and has missed multiple games in three of his four seasons at Florida — he has played in 38 of 52 potential games over four years.
In one year the Giants have gone from the most injured team in the league to the least. Part of that is a shift in philosophy of their practices as well as strength and conditioning program, but another is shying away from players (both theirs and college players) with significant injury histories. Davis’ extensive injury history might remind them of Jon Beason, and that might be enough to scare them away.
In the second round I have no problems with Caleb Brantley. I’m pretty much expecting the Giants to draft a defensive tackle at some point in the first four rounds, regardless of what happens with Johnathan Hankins. With Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas both free agents after this year, they need a talented defensive tackle on a long-term and inexpensive contract.
Finally we come to Gerald Everett, who we heard had piqued the Giants’ interest heading into the Senior Bowl. He might still hold their interest, but I think his hands might disqualify him outright from consideration. As nearly as I can tell, they have never taken a receiving option (wide receiver or tight end) with hands smaller than 9 1⁄2 inches. Everett’s 81⁄2 inch hands fall well short of that physical threshold. Also, Everett’s route running is most charitably described as “a work in progress.”
So, does McShay have it right?