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7-round Giants mock draft: Quenton Nelson (yes, a guard) at No. 2

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Let’s see what you think of this effort

NFL: Combine
Quenton Nelson
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It is time for our weekly 7-round mock draft for the New York Giants. Let’s see what you think of this one.

As usual, I came in with a pre-determined approach. I’m trying not only to select players I may like, but to give you a different scenario to consider each week. This week, I used the Draft Analyst big board, decided not to choose a first-round quarterback, and rejected all trade offers. As usual, this is a simulation using “Fanspeak.”

Click here to see the full draft and judge the choices I made for yourself.

Round 1 (No. 2 overall) — Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

GM Dave Gettleman said that what the Giants want at No. 2 is “a Hall of Fame player.” Many of you will automatically think “Saquon Barkley.” In this draft, though, the Penn State running back went No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns.

Taking a guard second overall, of course, opens up the positional value debate. Remember what Gettleman said about the Hall of Fame, though? Here is what a scout told me in regards to Nelson and the Giants:

“Everyone here (in Indianapolis) says that a guy like Nelson is the best they’ve seen in ages. ... If Big Blue passes on Quenton Nelson, they can watch him in Canton in two decades.”

A Hall of Fame hog mollie? That sure sounds like a Gettleman pick.

A guard hasn’t been taken in the top 10 since Jonathan Cooper (7th, Arizona Cardinals) and Chance Warmack (10th, Tennessee Titans) in 2013. Nelson, incidentally, absolutely believes he belongs in the conversation for the top five picks. The last guard selected in the top five? Bill Fralic, No. 2 overall by the Atlanta Falcons all the way back in 1985. The Arizona Cardinals selected Leonard Davis No. 2 overall in 2001, but he was not a pure guard. He split time in his career between guard and tackle, and was listed as a tackle when selected.

Nelson believes he should be a top five pick.

“I think I should be talked in that regard, the top five conversation because you have guys that are dominating the NFL right now in Aaron Donald and Geno Atkins, Fletcher Cox that have just been working on interior guys and you need guys to stop them, and I think I’m one of those guys,” he said. “You talk to quarterbacks, and they say if a D-end gets on the edge, that’s fine, they can step up in the pocket and they can throw, a lot of quarterbacks if given the opportunity can do that. That’s what I give is a pocket to step up in, and I think I also help the offense establish the run through my nastiness and establishing the run also opens up the passing game, so I think it’s a good choice.”

Other players considered: Quarterbacks, Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech, Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State

Round 2 (No. 34) — Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

This is a player who is growing on me some during the draft process. He seems to have jumped ahead of Ronald Jones II of USC in the eyes of many analysts. The Giants could use a home run hitter in the backfield, and Michel might be that guy. The only hesitation I have here is that Michel didn’t catch the ball very often at Georgia (64 receptions in four years) and pass-receiving ability seems to be a Pat Shurmur requirement.

Other players considered: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP; Ronald Jones II, RB, USC; Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama; Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA; Brian O’Neill, OT, Pitt, Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon; Harrison Phillips, DL, Stanford; Billy Price, C, Ohio State

Round 3 (No. 66) — James Daniels, OC, Iowa

To be honest, I have my doubts that Daniels will last this long in the draft. Combined with Nelson, this selection would give the Giants anchors in the middle of the line for several seasons to come.

NFL.com says:

Daniels is a fluid mover with tremendous initial quickness to win positioning on most every zone block he’s asked to make -- both on the first and second levels. His height, weight and arm length numbers at the Combine will be critical in either solidifying his draft slot or potentially dropping him a round. Some teams might see him as a zone-only center, but he may be strong enough to fit in with other blocking schemes. He needs to get stronger, but he’s a plus run blocker and pass protector with a chance to become a Pro Bowl starter.

Other players considered: Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State; Braden Smith, OT, Auburn; D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

Round 4 (No. 102) — Darius Leonard, OLB, South Carolina State

Oops, I did it again. The last time the Giants selected a linebacker before Round 4 was Clint Sintim (Round 2, 2009). I have beaten the “linebacker needs to be a priority” drum incessantly this offseason. Yet, I chose Nelson over Tremaine Edmunds in Round 1 and Michel over Rashaan Evans in Round 2.

Here, though, value meets need and I was happy to find this athletic linebacker available.

NFL.com says:

Long and twitchy with athletic ability and straight-line speed that should light up the combine. Leonard has packed on the pounds since hitting campus, but it hasn’t compromised his play speed as he has posted dominant production throughout. He lacks play strength and there are times you want to see more nasty in his field demeanor, but he has the traits and talent to become a good, three-down linebacker who can play 3-4 inside backer or 4-3 WILL.

Other players considered: Fred Warner, OLB, BYU; Nyheim Hines, RB, N.C. State;

Round 4 (No. 135) — DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Penn State

The Giants have not done it yet, but I continue to anticipate that they will release both Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris to clear salary cap space. Behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, that leaves them with a collection of question marks on the outside.

I think all Giants fans should be tired of watching wide receivers run poor routes or not get to the places Eli Manning expects them to be in. Hamilton is reputed to be a quality route runner and a dependable target, both things the Giants could use.

NFL Draft Scout says:

Hamilton doesn’t have noteworthy size, strength or speed and needs to be more consistent finishing catches, but his route savvy and “always available” approach make him a quarterback’s best friend, potentially as a NFL slot receiver in the Doug Baldwin mold.

This actually flashed across my screen a few minutes after I had made the Hamilton selection.

Other players considered: Fred Warner, OLB, BYU; Michael Dickson, P, Texas; John Kelly, RB, Tennessee: Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State; Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State; Jaylen Samuels, H-Back, N.C. State

Round 5 (No. 139) — Jaylen Samuels, H-Back, N.C. State

In this spot there wasn’t a single player I was absolutely banging the table for. I took Samuels because of his versatility, and because I think it would be interesting to see how Pat Shurmur and Mike Shula would employ him in an effort to create match-up issues for defenses.

NFL.com says:

Some may see Samuels as a valuable hybrid talent, while others may see a player who offers roster flexibility but lacks a position where he can win consistently. Samuels isn’t a tight end and has to prove he can handle blocking duties well enough to be a fullback. He will, however, appeal to teams looking to disguise their attacks with more diversified personnel groupings. Samuels best fit may be with a zone-scheme team as a RB/FB with the ability to play slot receiver and become a core special teamer.

Other players considered: Fred Warner, OLB, BYU; Michael Dickson, P, Texas; John Kelly, RB, Tennessee: Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State; Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State

Round 6 (No. 176) — CB Darius Phillips, Central Michigan

This is kind of a need pick. I just thought corner depth, especially in the slot, was something I would be happy to acquire. Especially with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie apparently headed to free safety.

NFL.com says:

Ball-hawking cornerback with athletic ability and short area quickness to handle man coverage from slot and the instincts to play zone effectively. Phillips will have to move inside due to his lack of size so his issues in run support could be exploited by offensive coordinators. He should test well at the Combine so his draft value will depend directly on how teams prioritize toughness versus ball skills.

Other players considered: There was some weirdness in the Draft Analyst big board. Offensive tackles Tyrell Crosby (ranked No. 195) and Jamarco Jones (209) were still on the board. They were. in fact, still so far down the board here that sticking to my conviction to stay within the top 15-20 choices I was presented with in each round I wasn’t selecting them. Shoot, after his impressive Combine work I have heard Crosby mentioned as a potential late-first round choice.