There are just eight days to go until the 2017 NFL Draft, which means mock drafts will be coming at us even faster and more furiously than in the previous months.
At this point, drafts give us plenty of material for reading and discussion. It also has the potential of giving us more potential insight into who various teams might be looking at in what range.
The mock drafts we take the time to hit here come from draft experts with extensive contacts throughout the NFL, so they get the most “official” input into their drafts. However, that also means that they likely get the most smoke blown in their direction as well.
So with all that in mind, let’s take a look at who ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. is mocking to the New York Giants in the first three rounds.
Round 1 (23): Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Round 2 (55): Marcus Williams, S, Utah
Round 3 (87): Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
I'm not sold on the Giants' offensive tackles, but for now, I'm going with a pass-rusher who can spell Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. Harris is a versatile defender who could play for all 32 teams. He had 16 sacks the past two seasons. Last year's third-round pick, Darian Thompson, missed most of the 2016 season because of injury, and we still don't know if he's the long-term answer at free safety. Williams is a super athletic (43½-inch vertical) center fielder who would fit alongside Landon Collins. Perine is just a bully. At 5-foot-11, 233 pounds, he steamrollers defenders. New York had one of the worst rushing offenses in the league last season, and Perine brings value late in the third round.
Raptor’s Take: Interesting to see a mock drafter go defense for the Giants not once (which is almost likely considering how the first draft could fall) but in the first two rounds.
And I’d have a hard time arguing with either of these players.
Harris is one of the best edge rushers in this draft class. He has a lightening first step and already has a solid arsenal of pass rushing moves with which to beat tackles. His combine performance was disappointing to say the least, but it was so far removed from what he put on tape and his Pro Day performance that I’m willing to discard it. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he was working out through an illness like Derek Barnett or Darian Thompson last year.
My only concern about Harris is his run defense, or rather, his lack thereof. He is just not good at defending the run, and in the NFC East that could haunt him. However, as a third end who can come in and hunt quarterbacks in passing situations and give some rest to the starters, he has plenty of value (similar to Osi Umenyiora circa 2011).
I might opt for Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis. He offers better run defense than Harris and passes several metric and analytic thresholds (production and measurable) that predict a multiple Pro Bowler or All-Pro. However, as I said, I can’t argue with Harris either.
If the Giants aren’t sure about Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams, Marcus Williams is a good pick in the second round. He has some things he needs to work on, but he is a natural free safety with a knack for getting the ball back for your offense. Just based Jerry Reese’s draft history, I think it’s more likely that one of these day-2 picks goes for a defensive tackle. However, if they think they need a safety, I can’t argue. The position doesn’t get as much recognition as it deserves, but good (free) safety play is almost a pre-requisite for good defensive play. Especially given the type of defense Spags likes to run.
Finally, Samaje Perine. This is a pick where I would have to trust Jerry Reese.
Perine definitely has power, decent vision, and good balance. However, if the Giants’ run blocking in 2017 is similar to the 2016 vintage, I think Perine would look awfully similar to Rashad Jennings. Perine doesn’t have much burst to take advantage of holes that aren’t open long and can’t really make players miss in the hole. If we’re dead set on taking a running back here, I think I’d rather take D’Onta Foreman of Texas or Alvin Kamara of Tennessee. I should also note that Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Alabama), Larry Ogunjobi (DT, Charlotte), and Bucky Hodges (TE, Virginia Tech) are all on the board here as well.