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Mike Mayock 2018 NFL mock draft: Giants get Saquon Barkley

Mayock gives Giants an offensive weapon for Eli Manning

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Penn State vs Washington Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Every year NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock releases a mock draft.

That, by itself, isn’t noteworthy. The months leading up to the draft are flooded with mock drafts from pretty much every outlet. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay each release several versions of their mock drafts leading up to the draft itself.

What makes Mayock unique is that he releases one single mock draft a year, on the eve of the draft.

By waiting until the night before the draft to release his only mock draft, Mayock has access to the full draft process, from college tape to All-Star games, to the combine, to pro days, which he uses in his evaluations. On top of that, he has a wide array of contacts throughout the league to draw upon.

All of that makes his mock among the most accurate every year — in fact, he hasn’t missed the first overall pick since the 2008 draft. And with the Giants picking second overall, it only makes sense to pay attention.

2. New York Giants - Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Mayock: Now, I’m talking six-foot, 233 pounds. He ran 4.4, and I think he’s the best football player in the draft. I call it “The Big Three”, Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb, and Quenton Nelson are the three best players in this draft.

He’s special.

The Giants commit to him in the run game, he catches the ball out of the backfield, he makes it easier for Eli, and he buys them time to develop that offensive line. Love the pick right now. They could go Chubb right now, they could go Nelson, but I think he [Barkley] is the best player in the draft.

Raptor’s Thoughts: Overall, the pick isn’t that surprising. He said less than a week ago that he anticipated that the Giants would select Barkley.

... my gut tells me that at 1, Cleveland will take Sam Darnold, and my gut tells me with the Giants, Gettleman likes to stay in his lane. You know he hasn’t moved down before,” Mayock said.

“If he moves down -- by the way, I think the draft starts at No. 2 with the Giants and whatever they decide to do. So here’s -- let me put it this way with Gettleman and the Giants: If they fall in love with the quarterback who they think is their franchise guy for the next ten years, that has to trump everything else regardless of fans that want Barkley or whatever, and you have to take your quarterback.

“However, if you have any concern whatsoever, there are three great position players there, or you can trade down. And I think the furthest he would be willing to trade down would be 6, which is where Indy is, because if he went to 6, and quarterbacks now go 1, 2, and 3, he’s still going to get Chubb, Barkley, or Nelson. So I don’t think he’s going past 6, and if he stays at 2, as much as he likes his hog molly, I still think that Barkley will be the guy.”

We have just about 24 hours to find out who the pick really will be. So far there have been strong indications that Barkley is a favorite of the Giants. We’ll just have to wait and see if Dave Gettleman’s gushing over the running back has been genuine or if it was all a smoke screen.