And after reacting to mock drafts from Lance Zierlein and Mel Kiper Jr., we decided that this is as good a time as any to put out a mock draft of my own.
Rather than go through and mock out the entire draft on my own, I turned to The Draft Network’s mock draft machine — my personal favorite. I tend to agree with their predictive big board and I feel their algorithm is relatively accurate.
So, how did I do?
Round 1 (No. 4) - Chase Young (EDGE, Ohio State)
“DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES!?”
“Believe it and it WILL happen!”
Those were just two of the thoughts going through my head when I saw Young still on the board — as well as a few other choice thoughts that Ed would probably edit out anyway when he reads this over before it gets published.
Young slipped to the fourth pick when the Cincinnati Bengals selected LSU QB Joe Burrow, the Washington Redskins selected Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah (TDN’s algorithm is likely informed by the trade of Quenton Dunbar) and the Detroit Lions selected Auburn DT Derrick Brown.
The Giants still managing to have the best EDGE player in the draft — a position of dire need — fall into their lap despite sliding out of the second overall pick is about as ideal a situation as possible. Young is not only well-coached coming out of Ohio State, but is also an excellent athlete and more athletic than either Bosa brother coming out of college. Young could well be one of the best EDGE players in the league early in his career, and he still has room to get better.
Other options: Who cares!?
Round 2 (No. 36) - Ezra Cleveland (OT, Boise State)
I am in no way complaining about nabbing Young in the first round, but EDGE isn’t the only premium position in need of immediate help. The Giants need help on the offensive line and don’t currently have a starting right tackle.
Cleveland is a high-ceiling tackle prospect with all the tools to take a starting job right out of the gate. He doesn’t quite have the size and polish of the Big 4 tackles in this class, but he is remarkably athletic and still has fundamentals. He needs to gain his play strength and isn’t ideal for a power running game, but is well-suited for the zone blocking schemes in which Saquon Barkley thrives.
Other options: Zack Baun (LB, Wisconsin), Ross Blacklock (DT, TCU), Neville Gallimore (DT, Oklahoma), K.J. Hamler (WR, Penn State)
Round 3 (No. 99) - Bryan Edwards (WR, South Carolina)
I have to admit, I would have been cutting it close turning in my card if this was the actual draft. My top two options were available and I knew I was going to be rolling the dice on whichever one I didn’t pick, as there was a steep dropoff.
I decided to go with Edwards at the tail end of the third round and just cross my fingers that my other choice wouldn’t go off the board my foruth-round selection 11 picks later. Edwards has good size and athleticism to stretch defenses vertically as well as the ability to create with the ball in his hands. He has the potential to be a major sleeper in this draft after being held back by South Carolina’s offensive scheme and quarterback play, then being held out of the draft process by a knee sprain and a fractured foot suffered days before the Scouting Combine. The fact that teams can’t investigate his health could sink his draft stock further, but the fact that he was similarly productive to Deebo Samuel in the same offense bodes well for his transition to the NFL.
Other options: Tyler Biadasz (C, Wisconsin), Alohi Gilman (S, Notre Dame)
Round 4 (No. 110) - Tyler Biadasz (C, Wisconsin)
Somehow, some way, my gamble paid off. There were a couple of linemen ahead of Biadasz on the board and few teams with glaring offensive line needs, so the numbers were in my favor.
Personally, I don’t think there is any reason for Biadasz to fall this far, except that he didn’t live up to the hype from a stellar 2018 season. And it’s not like his 2019 season was bad, either. But more tape revealed some more nits to pick and for a player reckoned to be a Top 20 player after his sophomore year, those molehills appeared much larger.
Biadasz has the ability to execute a variety of blocking schemes, is very smart, and should be able to step in as a starting center immediately for the Giants. I think his technique is good enough that he can play at roughly 310 (down from the, roughly, 320 at which he played at Wisconsin) while maintaining his play strength while improving his quickness to deal with NFL-caliber speed.
Other options: Alohi Gilman (S, Notre Dame)
Round 5 (No. 150) - Julian Blackmon (S, Utah)
I really wanted to address the free safety and linebacker positions before the third day of the draft, but here we are. The value never really came to me at those positions, and I was able to find good value at premium positions of dire need so I can’t be too upset.
Blackmon is a developmental safety who recently converted from wide receiver. He still needs a lot of polish, but his athleticism, range in deep zones, and ball skills are worth investing in. Of the safety prospects available, he is the one who projects best to a free safety role and while things might be bumpy at first, he could fit well with Julian Love playing closer to the line of scrimmage.
Other options: Devin Asiasi (TE, UCLA), Isaiah Hodgins (WR, Ohio State), J.R. Reed (S, Georgia)
Round 6 (No. 183) - Tanner Muse (LB/S, Clemson)
Muse is an interesting prospect. He is listed as a safety, but watching him at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine with the rest of the defensive backs, it was clear that Muse’s best path forward in the NFL is as a linebacker. I had been keeping Muse in the back of my mind, along with Troy Dye, Kyle Dugger, and Jeremy Chinn as possible consolation prizes after passing Isaiah Simmons for Chase Young.
Muse has linebacker size at 6-foot-2, 227 pounds while also running a 4.41-second 40-yard dash. He didn’t perform the agility drills, but it was clear from the field drills at the Combine that while he doesn’t have “DB” levels of agility, he would be a very quick and agile linebacker. This isn’t an ideal solution, but at this point we’re looking for players who can fill a niche and help on special teams
Other options: Antonio Gandy-Golden (WR, Liberty)
Round 7 (No. 218) - Davion Taylor (LB, Colorado)
Speaking of filling a niche and contributing on special teams, Davion Taylor is an undersized but explosively athletic off-ball linebacker prospect (measurables). He isn’t a polished, finished product yet, but for a seventh-round pick, he should be able to contribute on special teams early in his career and could develop into a defensive contributor with coaching.
Other options: Binjimen Victor (WR, Ohio State)
Round 7 (No. 238) - Alex Taylor (OT, South Carolina State)
Sticking with the theme of intriguing developmental prospects, Alex Taylor has rare physical tools at 6-foot-8, a gangly 308 pounds, and 36 1/8 inch arms to go with a 5.09-second 40-yard dash, and a nearly 10-foot broad jump. He is agile, has lower-body explosiveness, and tons of length. If he can keep his hips down and play with better strength, he has the kinds of tools coaches want to work with. This is a lottery ticket, but there’s little downside late in the seventh round.
Other options: James Proche (WR, SMU), Levonta Taylor (CB, FSU)
Round 7 (No. 247) - Levonta Taylor (CB, FSU)
Shame on me for letting Taylor last this long. Honestly, I didn’t notice him still on the board, and that’s my bad. Honestly, I probably would have picked him before my previous two seventh-round picks, and maybe even before Muse in the sixth. Taylor suffered a back injury in 2018 and isn’t yet back to the player he was before. The upside is that he now has experience as a safety and the upside to play slot corner.
He isn’t big or fast, but he has quick feet and before his injury was a good cover cornerback. The Giants need to find an answer for their slot corner position, and Taylor could be an under-the-radar option.
Other options: James Proche (WR, SMU)
Round 7 (No. 255) - Joe Reed (WR, Virginia)
For the final pick in the draft I decided to go with an “Offensive Weapon” on the basis that, at the very end of the draft, picking a player who can do a lot gives you the best chance of the pick paying off. Reed played a bunch of different roles in Virginia’s offense, lining up at wide receiver, slot receiver, H-back, and running back. He has a versatile frame at 6-foot, 224 pounds, while also having very good athleticism. He has reliable hands, good vision, and the ability to be a core special teams player. He can play on all coverage teams and has five kick returns for touchdowns in his college career.
I wouldn’t have had a problem picking Carter Coughlin either — you can never have too many pass rushers. But I felt that Reed’s versatility gives him a higher chance of sticking as a contributor.
Other options: Carter Coughlin (EDGE, Minnesota)