In constructing these weekly seven-round NFL mock draft simulations for the New York Giants one thing I have not done with the Giants’ first-round selection, No. 23 overall, is go the quarterback route. That changes this week with Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes going to the Giants with the 23rd overall selection.
Does that mean I believe the Giants will select a quarterback at No. 23, and that Mahomes would be the guy? No. Remember, I’m painting scenarios here, trying to create discussion and trying to show you different ways the draft could turn out. I’m not really concerned about whether anyone thinks this draft is right, wrong, or somewhere in the middle.
As far as the selection of a quarterback at 23, two months ago I would have said there was very little chance the Giants would do that. Today, I think there is a greater chance of that happening but I’m still not buying that it is anywhere close to the likely scenario.
What I have done here is selected the highest-rated quarterback on the board and run the remainder of the draft to offer you a look at how things could turn out if the Giants do choose to select an heir apparent to Eli Manning in Round.
I used the Fanspeak simulator this week in combination with the CBS Sports Big Board. Here is the full draft.
- Seven-round mock version 1.0
- Seven-round mock version 2.0
- Seven-round mock version 3.0
- Seven-round mock version 4.0
Round 1 -- Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Off the board: TE O.J. Howard, LB Haason Reddick, LB Zach Cunningham, QB DeShaun Watson, QB Mitchell Trubisky, OT Cam Robinson
Considered: RB Christian McCaffrey, OT Ryan Ramczyk, DE Derek Barnett, OT Garett Bolles, TE David Njoku
Mahomes is a boom or bust quarterback prospect. He has the big arm and makes plenty of “wow” throws, but he makes a lot of risky, questionable throws. He also comes from the “Air Raid” offense that has not translated well to the NFL. To be honest, he scares the bezeejus out of me, but the upside is undeniable. I don’t know if the guy is going to turn into a Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers type or if he’s going to be Jay Cutler — or worse.
In his 2017 NFL Draft Guide, Dane Brugler of CBS Sports says:
“A two-year starter at Texas Tech, Mahomes thrived in the Red Raiders’ up-tempo, spread passing attack and became just the second player in FBS history to account for 5,000+ yards of total offense twice in a career, joining Houston’s Case Keenum, who was also a pupil of Kingsbury. Mahomes, who didn’t start at quarterback until his junior season in high school, is a free thrower and looks like he is playing backyard football, relying more on timing and feel rather than mechanics or structure. He has above average arm strength with the creative mobility and growth potential for the NFL level, but was groomed in one of the most quarterback-friendly systems in college football and is inexperienced reading defenses, working through progressions and delivering concepts in the huddle. Although he is nowhere near ready for NFL snaps, Mahomes is an exciting player to watch compete and boasts the raw traits that are worth developing – his upside is worth a draft pick in round two, but he will likely be drafted in the top-32 picks.”
Round 2 -- Dion Dawkins, OL, Temple
Off the board: DT Malik McDowell, Bolles, OL Forrest Lamp, LB Tim Williams, Barnett, Njoku, Ramczyk, DE Taco Charlton, EDGE T.J. Watt, EDGE Tyus Bowser
Considered: OL Taylor Moton, OT Antonio Garcia, DE Jordan Willis, OT Roderick Johnson
You have to have the courage of your convictions, and my conviction is that if the choice was left up to me I would add to the Giants’ offensive line at some point in the first three rounds. After taking Mahomes in Round 1, the board fell in such a way that the value was there to do so at 55.
For me, you could put the names Dawkins, Moton and Garcia into a hat and I would be fine with whichever name you pulled out. Dawkins and Moton are similar players — big, athletic, physical guys about whom there is disagreement over whether their futures are at guard or right tackle. Garcia is the player with starting left tackle upside and, put a gun to my head, maybe the one of the three I would choose.
Why, then, did I pick Dawkins? Well, he’s undoubtedly a viable option here. Second, as I keep saying, I’m trying to paint potential scenarios in these weekly mocks. Dawkins is a player I believe the Giants have on their radar, and that they wouldn’t hesitate to take in the right circumstance.
“A three-year starter at Temple, Dawkins has been a fixture at left tackle for the Owls since his sophomore season, blossoming into a legitimate NFL prospect. Although he needs to clean up mechanical and leverage issues, he consistently gets the job done and will get even better if he shows the same urgency on every snap. Dawkins has the foot quickness and comfort level in space to stay at tackle, but projects as a better pro player inside at guard where he can hone his hand technique and use his natural power to stone rushers in pass protection and create inside run lanes – projects as an early starter in the league and top-60 draft pick.”
Interesting question: Quarterback DeShone Kizer was still on the board at 55. Would Kizer here have been a better choice than Mahomes at 23?
Round 3 -- Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova
Considered: RB Samaje Perine, RB D’Onta Foreman, TE Bucky Hodges, TE Jake Butt
OK, so every Giants fans knows that GM Jerry Reese and the third round of the draft are not on good terms. Round 3 just seems to be a place where the Giants have not been able to get it right.
With that history in mind, I figured I might as well swing for the fences here. Whatever is going on with defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, one of those third-round picks who has yet to produce, the Giants could use another edge rusher.
Kpassagnon is a raw 6-foot-7, 289-pound player with 35-5/8-inch arms who could be great down the line, but could also fall flat.
“A two-year starter at Villanova, Kpassagnon lined up at left and right defensive end, usually inside the offensive tackle in the Wildcats’ 3-4 base scheme. His high center of gravity and questionable core strength lead to balance issues, but he showed intriguing flashes on tape when moved outside and given a runway off the edge to use his length and long strides. Although he clearly needs time to develop physically and technically, Kpassagnon has an intriguing body type with the mature character and coachable intangibles that will land him inside the top-100 selections – will be the first Villanova defensive player drafted since 1981 (Howie Long). Kpassagnon is a lump of clay and projects as a developmental edge rusher in a four-man front with his best football ahead of him.”
Round 4 -- James Conner, RB, Pitt
Considered: RB Corey Clement, TE Jordan Leggett, RB Brian Hill, RB Jamaal Williams
I thought about Leggett here, but as you can see from my “considered” list I had running back in mind when I looked at the board. The Giants need a power back to complement the shifty Paul Perkins. The 6-1, 233-pound Conner is also a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor.
“A hulking ballcarrier with the fighting mentality to match, he is a grinder between the tackles and gives the offense confidence in short-yardage situations. Conner lacks the explosive change of direction skills or pure speed to routinely create with athleticism alone, which will limit his role in a NFL offense. But his north-south, smash-mouth run style and resilient character have a place at the next level – one of the best stories in sports, not just college football.”
Round 5 -- Mack Hollins, WR, North Carolina
When you get to Day 3 of the draft you are looking for developmental players with traits or skills that jump off the page at you. A massive 6-4, 221-pound wide receiver with an 80 3/8-inch wingspan and 4.5 40-yard dash speed, Hollins has physical traits that get your attention.
Hollins is also an accomplished special teams player on kick coverage units, an attractive quality for a back-end-of-the roster developmental player. When I look at Hollins, a think of a bigger, stronger version of Geremy Davis with special teams experience.
“A part-time starter at North Carolina, Hollins lined up primarily outside as a vertical threat in the Tar Heels’ offense. He cut his teeth on special teams at UNC, which helped get him noticed and his experience and hustle on special team coverages will translate well to the pro game. On offense, Hollins is an intriguing size/speed athlete who can get behind the defense and create big plays down the field. However, he lacks sophisticated branches on his route tree and needs to use a more detailed-approach to beat coverage. A self-made player who has the leadership and initiative needed to be a professional, Hollins is still very raw, but his specialteams skills will give coaches a reason to keep him on the roster while he competes for his place on the receiver depth chart.”
Round 6 -- Blair Brown, LB, Ohio
The only linebacker the Giants have under contract beyond the 2017 season is 2016 fourth-round draft pick B.J. Goodson. Thus, there is a definite need to re-stock the position. It would have been nice to get one of the top linebackers in the draft like Zach Cunningham or Jarrad Davis, but it didn’t happen. At this point in the draft, Brown isn’t a bad consolation prize.
At only 5-11, 238 pounds and with short 311/4-inch arms, Brown does not fit the ideal physical profile for a linebacker. What he does offer is production. Pro Football Focus ranked Brown third in the nation among linebackers in run stop percentage and first in tackling efficiency last season. Those numbers tell you he finds the football, and when he is position to make a play he makes it.
“A three-year starter at Ohio, Brown was a three-down WILL linebacker for the Bobcats, turning in the senior season he needed to gain the attention of NFL teams. Scouts rolled through Athens specifically to see senior pass rusher Tarell Basham, but the speedy linebacker quickly established himself as a legitimate pro prospect worthy of their time. Brown is looking to follow in the footsteps of Jatavis Brown (no relation), another athletic but undersized MAC linebacker who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Although his lack of size stands out immediately, Brown flies all over the field and arrives with violence, filling quickly and powerful at contact. He has some limitations once engaged and when dropping in coverage, but his downhill instincts, discipline and hunting mentality allow him to play the run, blitz, zone drop and do a little bit of everything – early day three prospect who will add immediate depth at linebacker.”
Round 7 -- Nate Hairston, CB, Temple
At this point in the draft, perfect NFL prospects do not exist. Players with intriguing traits and potential upside do. I believe Hairston, a 6-foot, 196-pound wide receiver turned cornerback for the Owls, is one of those. He also plays a position where the Giants — with Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie already in place — can take a flier on a player who might help them a season or two from now.
“A one-year starter at Temple, Hairston is a receiver-turned-cornerback who started every game as the field corner in 2016 for the Owls in both man and zone coverage. He needs an overhaul with his footwork and overall mechanics in coverage, often relying on side-saddle technique to hide those issues and keep an eye on the pocket. He plays quick, but not explosive and lacks the elite athleticism to make up for the wasted movements he shows on tape. Overall, Hairston has the toughness and competitive mentality to play on the defense, but requires a prepared coaching staff who will invest the time to develop his instincts, technique and consistency at cornerback.”