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Mel Kiper mock draft 1.0: Isaiah Simmons to the Giants

Will the Giants finally draft a linebacker in the first round?

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Louisiana State John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Every draft season is swamped with mock drafts. For the most part they're fun and as useful a way as any to look at prospect stock and team needs.

But some have more value than others. And mock drafts from national outlets in particular can be informed by sources in NFL front offices and the scouting community. Those mock drafts can give us some insightinto what teams are thinking and how prospects are viewed by teams around the league.

Mel Kiper, one of those with sources from around the league, has released his first mock draft of the season.

4. New York Giants

Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

An off-ball linebacker in the top five? Believe it — Simmons is that good. He is the perfect run-and-cover linebacker for today’s NFL, and he can do anything and play every down. Just look at his incredible stat line from 2019: 104 tackles, eight sacks, three interceptions and 16 total tackles for loss. The Giants have many needs, but Simmons is the type of defender who makes everyone around him better. This is another spot to watch for a rising pass-rusher, but I don’t have another one graded this high. I also thought about offensive line; New York could upgrade at both tackle spots. By the way: The last time the Giants picked No. 4 overall, they ended up with a pretty good player (good luck in retirement, Eli).

Raptor's Thoughts: I can't say I would have any problems with this pick. Simmons is both a very good player and an incredible athlete. He would give the Giants the kind of speed and versatility at the linebacker position that they have, frankly, never had.

Having Simmons, Lorenzo Carter, and Jabrill Peppers would give the Giants an intriguing trio of athletic and versatile second-level players. The bigger question is whether or not Patrick Graham would be able to use Simmons to his potential. There are questions from traditional evaluators as to what Simmons' position and role would be at the NFL level because he doesn't fit any established league archetypes. But if the Giants are willing to adopt a more progressive and fluid college-inspired defense, the upside is tremendous. It could be worth potentially missing out on a starting offensive lineman.