Mock drafts are not my favorite thing. They are, however, the lifeblood of discussion about prospects leading up to the NFL Draft every year. Opinions are just that, opinions. No one knows for sure what’s going to happen, though they all hope to sound smart.
- Cleveland Browns -- Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: I’m just not buying the idea that the Browns would blow up the entire draft right here and select Mitchell Trubisky.
- San Francisco 49ers -- Jamal Adams, S, LSU: The 49ers seem to desperately want out of this pick, but most observers think they will have to make it. New GM John Lynch, a former All-Pro safety, starts his tenure by grabbing a safety who could become the leader of his defense.
- Chicago Bears -- Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: Lots of ways the Bears could go here. The one I’m not buying is quarterback.
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: This just feels like a Tom Coughlin pick — a traditional big, power back. Unless TC grabs a QB (Trubisky? DeShaun Watson?) or trades out of here.
- Tennessee Titans -- O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: The Titans need weapons for QB Marcus Mariota. If Howard turns out to be as good as many think, he’ll be a special one.
- New York Jets -- Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State: The Jets need a lot of help, and corner is one of those places. Again, not buying that they’ll go QB with all of the young guys they already have.
- Los Angeles Chargers -- Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State: The second safety in the top seven picks. Not sexy, but he would help LA.
- Carolina Panthers -- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: I will buy the chatter that if they can’t get Fournette they will take McCaffrey. He’s a much different player than Fournette, obviously , but we’ve discussed the kid of offensive weapon he can be many times.
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama: Allen could go much higher than this. Or lower, depending on how teams see his shoulder issues.
- Buffalo Bills -- Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: If the Bills are going with Tyrod Taylor as their QB the least they could do is get him more help.
- New Orleans Saints -- Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: An edge rusher for a team in need of help at multiple levels of its defense.
- Cleveland Browns -- Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: Too much smoke around this for there not to be fire. The Browns will probably have to trade up, maybe all the way to No. 2, to make it happen. They have the picks to get it done.
- Arizona Cardinals -- Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech: Another spot where there is a lot of smoke, and I’ll bite that there’s fire. The Cardinals might even be able to trade down and get this done.
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida: Someone is going to take a chance on Cook’s talent, either in Round 1 or early in Round 2. The Eagles, needing to put play-makers around Carson Wentz, do so here.
- Indianapolis Colts -- Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama: The Colts could really use offensive linemen to keep Andrew Luck healthy and upright, but they also need help on defense and can’t pass on the draft’s best linebacker.
- Baltimore Ravens -- Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama: Lots of talk that the Ravens want to try and build a Dallas Cowboys-style offensive line. Also lots of talk that Robinson could be the first tackle taken. So, there you have it. A potential Giants target gone.
- Washington Redskins -- Haason Reddick, LB, Temple: Linebacker seems to be a possibility for Washington. Why not one who can get to the quarterback off the edge?
- Tennessee Titans -- Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: The Titans add another weapon for Mariota.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- David Njoku, TE, Miami: Sorry, Giants fans.
- Denver Broncos -- Garett Bolles, OT, Utah: I’ve been told for a while that Denver is likely to go offensive line, and that Bolles is the guy they like. Now, watch them take Forrest Lamp or Ryan Ramczyk.
- Detroit Lions -- Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida: Another disappointment for Giants fans.
- Miami Dolphins -- Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Michigan: Laremy Tunsil is moving to left tackle. Lamp makes a lot of sense as a guy who could start immediately on the side for Miami.
- New York Giants -- Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss: Surprise! See full explanation below.
- Oakland Raiders -- Kevin King, CB, Washington: Oakland gets help for a secondary that needs it.
- Houston Texans -- DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson: The Texans are desperate for a quarterback. If they have a chance not to get shut out for one of the top three or four guys on the board I think they take it.
- Seattle Seahawks -- Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin: The Seahawks send the Giant a “thank-you” note and then waste no time grabbing an offensive lineman they could desperately use.
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama: Probably not what the Chiefs hoped for, but really good value here.
- Dallas Cowboys -- Tyus Bowser, OLB, Houston: The Cowboys need to add a play-maker on defense. Chris has Bowser going to the Giants in his final mock. Here, I give him to Dallas. This could also be a cornerback. The only really safe bet is that it will likely be a defensive player.
- Green Bay Packers -- T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin: This just makes too much sense.
- Pittsburgh Steelers -- Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA: Feels like a nice fit and a nice value here.
- Atlanta Falcons -- Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: Atlanta is ecstatic to find one of the draft’s best defensive ends still on the board.
- New Orleans Saints -- John Ross, WR, Washington: A speedy wideout for Drew Bress.
Yes, I passed on Ramczyk. Pick your jaw up off the floor and I will explain.
Let’s start there, with Ramczyk. If this were purely what I would do, I wouldn’t hesitate to select Ramczyk. His recovery from hip surgery is a concern, but his play is as good or better than any offensive tackle in the class. Offensive Line Scouting and Performance Consultant Duke Manyweather has Ramcyzk as the No. 1 tackle on his board, and that’s good enough for me. He would, in my mind, be a fine pick here. I’m trying, though, to also factor in what I think the Giants might do.
Recent indications, though, are that the Giants might prefer Garett Bolles and Cam Robinson. I believe the Giants would really like to give D.J. Fluker a chance to win the right tackle job and would be happy adding offensive linemen later in the draft. So, I let Ramczyk slide by.
Linebacker Zach Cunningham of Vanderbilt is the other “chalk” pick the way this mock played out, and I agonized over whether or not to just play it safe and select Cunningham. It is very possible that the Giants would, maybe even probable. There’s a bigger need at linebacker than many realize, with only B.J. Goodson under contract beyond 2017. So many analysts, though, see Cunningham as more of a Day 2 pick that taking him here feels like settling. I could easily be wrong here.
As mentioned above Chris took Bowser, another guy we both believe is a possibility for the Giants, in his final mock. Maybe T.J. Watt is in play, too. But, as much as Bowser or Watt make sense to me, I’m going a different way.
So, back to the original question. Why Engram?
Well, with all the chatter about the dream scenarios of O.J. Howard or Christian McCaffrey falling to the Giants, I think that in a perfect scenario the Giants would love to add one more potential big-time play-maker on offense. Howard, McCaffrey and David Njoku, though, are gone.
Engram is a guy who is generally ranked just below Njoku in the tight end class. But, at 6’3”, 234 pounds he is part of the new breed, more slot receiver than traditional tight end. His pro comparison is usually Jordan Reed of the Washington Redskins. Who wouldn’t want to add a Jordan Reed clone to the Giants’ offense? Forget about the blocking stuff. That’s what Rhett Ellison and Jerell Adams are for.
There is also this to consider. Remember last year when the entire world seemed to know that the top two targets in the draft for the Giants were Leonard Floyd and Jack Conklin, and then the Chicago Bears and Tennessee Titans traded in front of the Giants to grab those two players?
Maybe it’s my imagination, and maybe it’s because at 23 it’s harder to identify targets, but this year feels different. Maybe the pick will be Cunningham or Colles, the players who ae seemingly most often talked about. This year, though, it feels like the Giants have done a much better job of shielding what their true intentions might be.
Because of that, I think the pick could end up being a player who has not been widely connected to the Giants. It’s why I like Chris’s selection of Bowser, who could fill the role the Giants envisioned for Floyd. And why, ultimately, I rolled the dice with the selection of Engram.