For the latest of my 7-round New York Giants mock drafts I put the trade scenarios aside and played it by the book. I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator and simply made all 10 Giants’ picks in their assigned spots.
I went on record the other day saying I believe offensive tackle is the way to go with the Giants’ first pick. Thus, it would have been hypocritical of me to do anything other than select an offensive tackle with the No. 4 pick.
I believe that there is an internal debate in the Giants’ organization between Clemson’s do-it-all defender Isaiah Simmons and whichever player is OT1 on their draft board. I don’t know how that is going to turn out.
I favor making certain that the Giants address the tackle position, but it’s not my choice and if the Giants decide Simmons is a game-changer they can’t pass on I get that. Adding Simmons, if that’s what they ultimately do, will make the Giants better. It will just mean that GM Dave Gettleman, who has shown a knack during his career for identifying quality offensive linemen beyond the first wave, will have pressure to do that again. I simply don’t see how the Giants can kick the offensive tackle can down the road in this draft.
Now, let’s move on to this week’s mock draft scenario.
Round 1 (No. 4) — Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Sorry, Chris, Joe, Nick, and Invictus. I know you guys have Jedrick Wills of Alabama as OT1 in your consensus offensive position rankings, but if the Giants go offensive tackle here I don’t think Wills is their guy. The Alabama connection with Joe Judge having worked for Nick Saban is there, but I don’t believe as of now that it will sway the decision if Wirfs is on the board. Some think Wills, a right tackle at Alabama, could play left tackle. There is, however, no proof. Wirfs did both at Iowa. Some think he could follow the path of former Iowa lineman Brandon Scherff and be an outstanding guard.
Mekhi Becton? I have said again and again that I think Gettleman will have a hard time passing on the 364-pounder. He seems to be the biggest risk of the Big 4 offensive tackles, though, and I’m not sure it’s a swing for the fence that Gettleman can afford to take right now.
Thus, Wirfs is the choice.
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Round 2 (No. 36) — Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
I thought about A.J. Epenesa here. He just seems like the kind of solid player the New England Patriots have been attracted to over the years. and the Giants, of course, have former Patriots assistants Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.
I went with Okwara. The Chase Young dream never materialized. Jadeveon Clowney isn’t a Giant. Neither is Yannick Ngakoue. The Giants need to keep adding talent on the edge.
In his Okwara prospect profile, Chris wrote:
Julian Okwara projects best as a rotational edge defender and pass-rush specialist early in his career at the NFL level. He has the traits to take on a significant share of the defensive snaps, particularly as the league continues to rely more on the pass. Okwara has the athletic upside to become a starter with some development and the right coaching. ...
Okwara’s blend of length, athleticism, and versatility make him an intriguing piece for a one-gap, attacking “multiple” defense. Even if he only remains a pass-rushing specialist, that is a very valuable skillset in the modern NFL.
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Antoine Winfield, S, Minnesota
A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa
Terrell Lewis, Edge Alabama
Round 3 (No. 99) — Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Two straight players from Notre Dame? It’s almost like I don’t dislike the Fighting Irish!
The Giants will almost certainly add to their wide receiving corps at some point in the draft, and when they do it would be nice if whoever they add brings a different body type and skill set than Sterling Shepard.
At 6-foot-4, 238 pounds Claypool certainly does that. After lighting up the Combine he might not last until the end of Round 3 in the real draft, but since he’s here now I’m grabbing him.
In his Claypool prospect profile, Chris wrote:
Notre Dame wide receiver is a big, long, and thick wide receiver who could be a candidate to transition to tight end at the NFL level. Claypool has experience as both a wide and slot receiver in Notre Dame’s offense. He is capable of threatening all three levels of a defense, producing on crossing routes, come-back routes, and on vertical routes. Claypool wastes little motion releasing off the line of scrimmage and is capable of using his size and physicality to separate from man coverage. He has deceptive speed for a big player, lengthening his stride to pick up yardage in the open field. Claypool is capable of creating big plays off of mesh concepts, opening his stride after the catch and proving difficult to run down when he catches the ball in space. His size, speed, and catch radius make him dangerous on vertical concepts as well. Claypool flashes the ability to adjust to the ball in the air, extending to catch the ball away from his frame and expand his catch radius. Claypool also flashes good field awareness and body control to toe-tap on the sideline or just inside of the end zone. He very good competitive toughness and a willingness to play through contact, make tough catches and be physical in straining for extra yardage.
Alohi Gilman, S, Notre Dame
Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
Round 4 (No. 110) — Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
I strongly considered Biadasz at 99. Looking at the draft board my instinct was that the former Badger might have been the last viable center prospect available. I took the risk that he would still be available here, and that paid off.
In his Biadasz prospect profile, Chris wrote:
Tyler Biadasz projects as a starting center with a high floor and the ability to execute both man and zone schemes. Biadasz should be able to step in and compete for a starting job immediately in the NFL after starting for 41 straight games in Wisconsin’s pro-style offense. He doesn’t offer an ideal athletic upside, but his football IQ, competitive toughness, technique, and adequate athleticism should shorten his learning curve. ...
While he might never be considered a “top” center, Biadasz can be a steady center on an offensive line that is more than the sum of its parts.
Troy Dye, S, Oregon
Brandon Jones, S, Texas
K’von Wallace, S, Clemson
Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
Round 5 (No. 150) — Tanner Muse, S, Clemson
I’m intrigued by the versatility and athleticism of the 6-foot-2 1/2, 228-pounder. I passed on Simmons earlier. I will take his teammate here.
Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline says: Muse was a terrific defender for Clemson who consistently made plays on the football, then turned in a great Combine workout, running much faster than anyone expected. He’s a versatile defender who can play a hybrid safety/linebacker position and add value on special teams.
Round 6 (No. 183) — Isaiah Coulter, WR, Rhode Island
Coulter comes with Gil Brandt’s endorsement as a sleeper who could be one of the best wide receivers in this class, and that’s good enough for me. Besides, this gives me a chance to drop in the podcast interview I recently did with Coulter.
No. 218 — Dane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh
Another guy to add to the mix as a potential slot cornerback. The more I think about the Giants and the slot, the more I wonder if the new coaching staff will give Julian Love an opportunity there. If that happens, though, it opens the question of who plays safety alongside Jabrill Peppers.
The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs says: Dane Jackson projects as a potential nickel cornerback at the pro level. Jackson shows quick feet and good stickiness on route stems to stay attached and contest receivers, plus he offered the needed tenacity to play in the D-gap as a nick. That said, he’s somewhat light and heavier receivers will toss him around — complicating some bad habits of Jackson’s with his back to the ball. He’ll need to amend his grabbiness to reach his full potential as a sub-package cornerback.
No. 238 — Stephen Sullivan, TE, LSU
I know, the Giants have a bunch of tight ends on the roster already. It’s a seventh-round pick on a player with some upside, though.
The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs says: Stephen Sullivan projects as a developmental receiving specialist at the NFL level. Sullivan has the athletic tools necessary to be an effective route runner and contested catch target — he possesses a massive wingspan to pluck throws up the seam. He’ll need to be more savvy on his press and stem to avoid contact and play into space without having his timing disrupted; but it is easy to appreciate the upside he offers. Sullivan is a TE3 candidate early in his career but with room to grow.
No. 247 — Charlie Heck, OT, South Carolina
A developmental hog mollie near the end of the draft. Never anything wrong with taking a swing at one of those guys.
The Draft Network’s Joe Marino says: North Carolina offensive tackle Charlie Heck is a surprisingly fluid mover for a man of his stature and he does a great job taking advantage of his long arms in pass protection. A three-year starter for the Tarheels, Heck is the son of an NFL offensive line coach and has been pretty consistent in pass protection throughout his college career despite some areas that he can improve with his technique. Heck will always have to fight his naturally high center of gravity that leads to body control issues and he needs to clean up his pass sets. Heck profiles as a potential starter but likely a valuable reserve swing tackle.
No. 255 — Carter Coughlin, EDGE, Minnesota
Mr. Irrelevant! Gotta admit, I just get a kick out of drafting a guy named Coughlin.