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Mock Draft: Christian McCaffrey to Giants in final seven-round simulation

This is a “what I think the Giants would do” mock draft

NCAA Football: Stanford at UCLA
Christian McCaffrey
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

It is time for our final simulated seven-round mock draft for the New York Giants. A week from today, we will be talking about — check that, most of you will be complaining about — whatever the Giants did in the real draft.

For now, one final seven-round mock I’m certain you will tell me is all wrong. I have done something different here. Rather than use “Fanspeak,” which is useful but tiresome because of its delays and the volume of ads it presents you with, I have used a simulation from “Walk The Mock.” WTM creates its own big board, so whatever you think of the choices I was presented with, keep that in mind.

Here is another thing to remember as you go through this mock. I have done here what I think the Giants would do in each situation. Chris Pflum and I have studied these players for months — Chris for longer than I have. I have squeezed information and opinions out of anyone I could in an effort to have at least a glimmer of an idea of how the Giants might be thinking.

All of the study, reading, rumors and whispers we have heard go into making these selections. I can guarantee that the real 2017 NFL Draft will not turn out exactly like this for the Giants. I am reasonably certain, though, that each of the players I chose would be serious considerations for the Giants if they are available.

Round 1 — Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

Other players considered: David Njoku, Cam Robinson, Ryan Ramczyk, Garett Bolles, Malik McDowell, Tyus Bowser, Haason Reddick

I have said many times that I don’t think the Giants would pass on McCaffrey if he were available at 23. Because of that, I’m not passing on him here. I honestly think there is very little chance McCaffrey will be there for the Giants in the real draft, but he was available in this simulation.

Forget all the talk about offensive line, quarterback and linebacker. I truly believe that the dream scenario for the Giants would find them able to select an offensive weapon — McCaffrey, Njoku, O.J. Howard and maybe even Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram.

This is a viewpoint that NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock espoused during a recent conference call.

“I think, more than anything, you [the Giants] need a play maker,” Mayock said. “I don't care whether you call them tight ends, running backs, whatever, you need a play maker.”

During a conference call of his own recently, former Dallas Cowboys VP of player personnel and current NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt was effusive in his praise of McCaffrey.

“He’s going to be a very, very tough guy to defense,” Brandt said. “He will run inside, he will catch the ball, he’s got tremendous work habits, he can return kicks for you.

“Somebody’s gonna pull the trigger on this guy and he’s going to be a matchup made not in heaven but in hell for a long time during his career.”

Among my “other players considered” I also believe each and every one of those players could be a consideration for the Giants at No. 23 if they are on the board. The only one I have doubts about is McDowell, because of his inconsistent effort and because Giants GM Jerry Reese has usually looked to Day 2 for interior defensive line help.

Round 2 — Davis Webb, QB, Cal

NCAA Football: California at Washington State
Davis Webb
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Other players considered: TE Bucky Hodges, OT Antonio Garcia, OL Dion Dawkins, OL Taylor Moton, DL DeMarcus Walker, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, DL Chris Wormley, DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, OLB Tyus Bowser, DE Jordan Willis

There has been a lot of chatter that Cal QB Davis Webb could be a second-round pick, and that the Giants could be one of the teams looking seriously at him as a developmental quarterback. Obviously, I’m buying that there is truth to that. I think Webb in Round 2 is more likely than any quarterback for the Giants in Round 1. Will he be available at 55 in the real draft? That’s a good question.

Remember what NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said about Webb:

“I think he's going in the second round. I think he's an intriguing quarterback for a team that already has a starter toward the end of his career,” Mayock said. “Think of Arizona with a 38-year-old Carson Palmer. Think of New Orleans with the Drew Brees. Think of New York with an Eli Manning, Pittsburgh, et cetera, et cetera. I think -- I love him as a second-round pick developing behind a starter.”

Beyond, the choice of Webb, look at that “other players considered” list. Whether it is in this spot, later, or — in the cases of Willis and Bowser — earlier I believe these are all players the Giants would be happy to land.

Round 3 — Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova

Other players considered: RB Brian Hill, RB Samaje Perine, OT Antonio Garcia, G Dorian Johnson, G Nico Siragusa, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, CB Jalen Myrick, CB Jeremy Cutrer

Round 3 seems to be a sweet spot for Reese and the Giants when it comes to defensive end. On top of that, in 10 drafts, Reese has selected a defensive lineman six times on Day 2. I think that is a sign that he values keeping the line stocked, whether or not he is able to keep guys like Johnathan Hankins and Linval Joseph with second contracts.

Kpassagnon, 6’7”, 289 pounds is one of those freakishly athletic physical specimens Reese is drawn to. His spider chart draws comparisons to Giants defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Romeo Okwara.

The level of competition Kpassagnon played against at Villanova is a concern. If, however, a team can tap into his raw athletic ability and develop him they could have themselves a terrific player. The Giants, I believe, are the type of team willing to take that chance in this spot.

Among “other players considered” Alabama’s Tomlinson was a hard player to pass on. I believe the Giants would consider him seriously at 55 in the right circumstance. Perine and Hill, the power running backs, could factor here. So, too, could Garcia, a potential future starter in the NFL at left tackle.

Round 4 — Julie’n Davenport, OT, Bucknell

Other players considered: RB James Conner, CB Jeremy Cutrer, OT Dan Skipper

I passed on offensive tackles in each of the first three rounds, choosing a different direction. I’m snagging Davenport here. Like Kpassagnon, he is a small-school player who is raw and will need time but who might pay big dividends down the line. Davenport told me in February that he had already gotten a lot of attention from the Giants.

Check Davenport’s spider chart and some of the player comparisons are Cam Robinson, current Giant D.J. Fluker and former Giant James Brewer.

Round 5 — James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh

Other players considered: RB Corey Clement, RB Kareem Hunt

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Pittsburgh
James Conner
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

At some point, the Giants have got to add a running back. They got a pretty good one last year in the fifth round when they selected Paul Perkins. Here, they add a 6’1”, 233-pound battering ram of a runner who would be an excellent complement to the shifty Perkins.

Besides, how can you not love a cancer survivor who wrote a letter to NFL teams detailing why they should draft him? Here is part of what he wrote in The Players’ Tribune:

First off: I’m 100% healthy. I have a clean scan showing I’m still cancer free. The knee injury I suffered a few years ago is fully healed, and I played the whole season on it without any pain. I don’t even think about it anymore. My endurance is all the way back, too. I feel good.

All winter and spring, I trained hard to get back to the shape I was in during my All-America season. When I was doing my chemo treatments last year, I had to take some medications that resulted in my weight jumping all the way up to 260 pounds — I lost most of my muscle mass and gained a bunch of fat. I worked most of that off during the season, but when I started training for the combine, I was still at about 18% body fat.

I’m down to around 7% now.

I’m quicker than I’ve ever been — just lighter on my feet. But, you know, I’m still big. Believe me. No one’s ever gonna be psyched about having to tackle me, bet that.

If you’re looking for a tough, hard-nosed back who wears down defenses, I’m your man.

I know you guys love comps, so my favorite running back of all time is Marshawn Lynch, and that’s the best comparison I can give you. He’s always got such amazing willpower to go along with an “I’m not gonna be denied” mentality, and those are two things I bring to the table every time I suit up. I’m not going down on first contact. It’s just not gonna happen. I’m breaking tackles and fighting for extra yards every time I get the ball, just like Marshawn.

Just call me “Beast Mode 2.0.” (As long as that’s cool with Marshawn, of course.)

Round 6 — Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois

Other players considered: CB Channing Stribling, G Damien Mama, PK Zane Gonzalez, WR Mack Hollins, TE Michael Roberts

Golladay is a 6’4”, 218-pound receiver with upside. Brandon Marshall isn’t a young man by NFL standards and a developmental wideout with size makes sense. Honestly, tight end and corner also make sense here.

Round 7 — Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo

Other players considered: TE Eric Saubert, CB Channing Stribling, PK Zane Gonzalez

I had to come away from the draft with a tight end. I will be really surprised if the Giants don’t, and I’m actually somewhat surprised that this draft ended up with my not getting one until the final pick. That’s just how it worked out.

I think, though, that the Giants would be pretty happy to land Roberts anywhere on Day 3. He’s a 6’4”, 270-pound player who can catch and become an inline blocker. A pretty good find this late.

Full draft

Pick Player Pos College
 1:23   Christian McCaffrey   RB   Stanford 
 2:23   Davis Webb   QB   California 
 3:23   Tanoh Kpassagnon   DE   Villanova 
 4:33   Julie'n Davenport   OT   Bucknell 
 5:23   James Conner   RB   Pittsburgh 
 6:23   Kenny Golladay   WR   Northern Illinois 
 7:23   Michael Roberts   TE   Toledo 

What I didn’t get

  • Linebacker — I don’t believe the Giants would pass on McCaffrey in Round 1, and choosing Webb in Round 2 cost me a shot at Bowser, an under-the radar player from Houston who could be high on the Giants’ board. After that, I didn’t believe the value was there when the Giants selection came up.
  • Defensive tackle — As I said above, Tomlinson was hard to pass on. Again, after missing out on Day 2 I just didn’t find one I wanted on Day 3.
  • Cornerback — I would really like to have added a cornerback somewhere on Day 3. The draft just didn’t fall in such a way that I felt corner would have been the right pick. You can probably argue that wide receiver wasn’t a need, but I made the Golladay pick because I think the Giants might see value there they wouldn’t want to pass up.