The stretch-run to the NFL Draft rolls on, so if you thought we were being inundated by mock drafts before, watch out.
This time both ESPN draft gurus, Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay combine for a three-rounder.
The ground rules are simple: alternate picks; no trades; no deals that say "I won't take Player X if you don't take Player Y." It's just "This is whom I'd take" at every slot on the board for three full rounds.
(Note: It works out that Kiper made all of the Giants’ picks)
23rd Overall - Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida (Mel Kiper)
Love the fit here. Davis is my No. 1 inside linebacker, a day one contributor with athleticism and A-plus intangibles.
Still on the board: Derek Barnett, Jordan Willis, Ryan Ramczyk, T.J. Watt, Tyus Bowser, Patrick Mahomes II.
Raptor’s Take: I have a couple takes on this: First, I would be conflicted about Jarrad Davis in the first. On one hand, he is a hell of a football player. He is undoubtedly athletic, and as a fan of defensive football I have to love how aggressively he flies around the field, even if it gets him in trouble at times. He also has a great reputation as a leader on and off the field. However, his injury history gives me serious pause. He has missed significant time in three of his four seasons and had two seasons ended by injury in college. The first one by a knee injury, the second by a badly sprained ankle, which he had previously broken back in high school. Giants fans should recognize that lower-body injuries like these can snowball and quickly rob a player of what makes them special — We’ve seen it with Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks, and Jon Beason.
From a more “meta” perspective, ESPN has to be talking to somebody in the Giants organization. The hype for Davis to the Giants seems to rapidly come out of nowhere over the last two weeks or so. Their contacts in the NFL give them access to quite a few people, but that also means they get access to a lot of smoke. It’s their job to sift through it and vet the information, but after the Giants’ plans were apparently known to the whole world last year, it behooves all of us to take what’s presented with more than just a grain of salt.
With the value of this pick and the risk associated with Davis, I think I would take a long look at one of the edge rushers or Ramczyk.
They don’t allow trades in this scenario, but in real life I’d also be working the phones for a trade for Mahomes. Both the Texans and Chiefs seem to be in the QB market, and there are a number of teams at the top of the second round who need a QB as well.
55th Overall - Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy (Mel Kiper)
Garcia started 42 games at left tackle for the Trojans. He could stick on the left side in the NFL, and he might even beat out former first-round pick Ereck Flowers.
Still on the board: Jordan Willis (DE, Kansas State), Derek Rivers (DE, Youngstown State), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Alabama)
Raptor’s Take: In general, I don’t have a problem with Garcia. I think he is being overlooked in the draft process, and he is one of the few tackles in this class who has starting upside in the League.
But honestly, I would take any of the three I noted here, especially Willis or Rivers. I believe they are both players who have a strong chance of being first rounders, and have All-Pro upside. Athleticism matters for edge rushers, and those two have it in spades, particularly Willis. The Giant need to get a player who can convert pressure into sacks and cut into Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul’s snap counts.
87th Overall - George Kittle, FB/TE, Iowa (Mel Kiper)
A fullback in the third round? Well, not exactly. Kittle is the best hybrid H-back in this class. He can play tight end and line up in the backfield, if needed.
Still on the board: Bucky Hodges (TE, Virginia Tech), D’Onta Foreman (RB, Texas), Jermaine Eluemunor (OT, TAMU), Dorian Johnson (OG, Pittsburgh)
Raptor’s Take: Well, the Kittle Klub (yeah, I just named you — you’re welcome!) will be happy about this pick, and I don’t blame them.
Kittle fits with what the Giants want to do with the “tight end” position. McAdoo wants to move them around and play them as big slot receivers, in the backfield as full backs, and as traditional tight ends. He is athletic and very good blocker, providing upgrades the Giants would sorely need.
Kittle would be a bit of a surprise considering he would fill a similar role as free agent Rhett Ellison, and the size of his hands. People will scoff at this, but hand size is a legitimate physical threshold for the Giants. It matters for them, and from what I can find, they have only drafted one receiver with hands smaller than 9 3⁄4 inches (Rueben Randle), and their free agent additions tend to have hands at least that big as well.
I won’t rule Kittle out, but I could also see them going for Virginia Tech tight end Bucky Hodges, who’s size and athleticism could make him one of the top red zone threats in the entire league from the moment he is draft.
They could also look at D’Onta Foreman of Texas. Kareem Hunt (Toledo) and Samaje Perine (Oklahoma) were drafted just before the Giants pick. It looks like the league could be going on a run on running backs, and they need a big back. The Giants value running backs’ speed score (a measure of a running back’s speed for his size), and depending on which pro day 40 time you use in the formula, Foreman’s speed score is somewhere between 119.3 and 123.7. That is good for either the second best or best speed score since 1999.
(Note: Bo Jackson is considered to have the top speed score of all time, but his 40 time is as more rumor than fact)