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Kiper: O.J. Howard, Christian McCaffrey won’t reach Giants at No. 23

ESPN guru dishes on draft after releasing new mock

NFL: Combine
O.J. Howard
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Mel Kier Jr. and Todd McShay of ESPN put together dueling 2017 NFL mock drafts on Wednesday. Kiper followed that up with a media conference call during which he addressed a variety of topics. Here are five takeaway from Kiper’s remarks that could be considerations for the New York Giants.

O.J. Howard, Christian McCaffrey won’t reach 23

Kiper believes that Howard, the coveted Alabama tight end and McCaffrey, the jack-of-all-trades Stanford running back, won’t be available to the Giants.

Howard, the way Kiper sees the draft, is a likely top 10 pick. In his mock, Kiper had him going No. 10 to the Buffalo Bills.

“We haven’t seen tight ends over the last few years with this type of multi-dimensional talent. You saw these tight ends in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s,” Kiper said. “Now you have these glorified wide receivers who can’t block. He is an extension of your line. He will help your running game. A tight end that can block inline is a rarity these days.”

Kiper said McCaffrey could go as high as No. 8 to the Carolina Panthers, but doubts he would slide past the Washington Redskins at No. 17.

“He’s not going to be there in the late first. It’s just not going to happen right now,” Kiper said. “He’s more than a running back. … spectacular player.”

What happened to Zach Cunningham?

Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham is picking up steam as a potential pick for the Giants at No. 23 in Round 1. Kiper, though, did not have Cunningham anywhere in his two-round mock. McShay had him going 44th to the Bills.

“Very rangy, very athletic inside linebacker,” Kiper said. “He probably will go second round and I probably made a mistake not putting him in there.”

The most NFL-ready QB is ... Nathan Peterman?

Kiper said that the top four quarterbacks in the draft are all players who should not be expected to play right away.

“All these quarterbacks have issues going in. What they were this season, the system they come out of. I would say Nate Peterman has the best chance to come in and play from a mental standpoint and knowing the game and playing in a pro offense like [Carson] Wentz did, which really helped him. I think he gets an edge over all these quarterbacks,” Kiper said.

“[Mitchell] Trubisky is a one-year starter, he needs some time. [DeShaun] Watson has accuracy issues. He got better late in the year, but the accuracy issues are still there. [Patrick] Mahomes comes out of a system that has not translated well to the NFL. Then you think about [DeShone] Kizer coming out of an offense where he didn’t seem like he was the right fit and he kind of had some struggles, but a lot of those struggles were because of the supporting cast.”

Why Samaje Perine to the Giants?

Both Kiper and McShay gave running back Samaje Perine to the Giants in the second round, with Kiper explaining that he thought Perine would be “a great complementary pounder to Paul Perkins.”

In his conference call, Kiper referred to Perine as “a powerhouse destroyer running with the ball.”

Mid-round quarterbacks

There is a school of thought that the Giants will select a quarterback in the upcoming draft, but will wait until the middle rounds to do so. Kiper was asked Wednesday about two player who could fall into that discussion, Davis Webb of Cal and Joshua Dobbs of Tennessee.

On Webb ...

“You love the size, you love the ability to see the field. He can make all the throws, it’s just the accuracy. I saw some throws that left you scratching your head. ... Some people think he could go second round. I would not think about Webb that early.”

On Dobbs ...

“He has the physical traits. ... If you feel like a better supporting cast would have helped him maybe play a little bit better on the surface at Tennessee then you could think about him in the second or third round.”