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Mel Kiper mock draft: A stunner for Giants in Round 1

Kiper actually makes a pair of unexpected choices for New York in two-round mock

Michigan v Wisconsin
DJ Turner
Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

Unexpected things always happen in the NFL Draft. Mel Kiper’s newly-released two-round mock draft [ESPN+] is certainly an example when it comes to his choices for the New York Giants.

Kiper offers a stunning selection selection for the Giants in Round 1, and picks a center in Round 2 mock draft groupthink would have us believe won’t be available at that point. Let’s get to the picks.

Round 1 (No. 25) — DJ Turner, CB, Michigan

Kiper says:

I’ve slotted in wide receivers to the Giants in my previous mock drafts, so let’s switch gears and go with another position they could target. They could use a player to challenge Aaron Robinson and Cor’Dale Flott on the other side of Adoree’ Jackson. Turner is a hot name in the league right now, largely because scouts and execs went back to the tape after his 4.26-second 40-yard dash at the combine. That was the fourth-fastest time at the combine since 2003. He’s in the first-round discussion now. At 5-foot-11, 178 pounds, Turner isn’t very big, but he has some versatility — he played outside and in the slot for the Wolverines. New York ranked 25th in the NFL with 19 takeaways last season.

Valentine’s View


This is the first time I have seen Turner land in Round 1 of a mock draft. The NFL Mock Draft Database has Turner as the No. 58 overall prospect, and shows that he thus far has peaked with a ranking of No. 51.

It is worth noting that wide receivers Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Zay Flowers and Jordan Addison are off the board, as are cornerbacks Devon Witherspoon, Christian Gonzalez, Joey Porter Jr., Deonte Banks and Emmanuel Forbes by the time pick No. 25 rolls around.

Cornerback at 25 isn’t a huge surprise, but the selection of Turner catches me off guard. The Giants have shown interest in South Carolina’s Cam Smith, but in Kiper’s mock Smith doesn’t come off the board until pick No. 56 (Jacksonville).

Kiper leaves cornerback Kelee Ringo, centers Joe Tippmann and John Michael Schmitz, defensive linemen Calijah Kancey and Bryan Bresee, linebackers Trenton Simpson and Drew Sanders, and wide receivers Jalin Hyatt and Quentin Johnston on the board to select Turner.

I am going to be curious to see if this pick gains momentum over the next couple of weeks. For now, this one seems to come out of left field.

Round 2 (No. 57) — John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota

Kiper says:

The Giants could be in need of an immediate starter at center, with Nick Gates and Jon Feliciano departing in free agency. Schmitz started 31 games there in college. He is physical in the run game and has good balance in pass protection. He allowed just one sack over the past three seasons.

Valentine’s View

The surprise here is not that Kiper has selected a center for the Giants in Round 2. It is that Schmitz lasted to the 57th pick. If you believe the buzz in most of mainstream draft media, Schmitz could be the Giants’ pick at 25 and there is no chance to is available at No. 57.

Kiper also has Wisconsin center Joe Tippmann going off the board long before Schmitz. In Kiper’s mock, Tippmann goes to the New York Jets at pick No. 43.

Final thought

This entire exercise is a reminder of the draft’s unpredictability. The way draft analysts and the media sees players means absolutely nothing. Read enough draft guides or player profiles and you realize there is a wide disparity of opinion about most players. Each NFL team is going to set its own draft board based on its own perceptions of players, and we have no idea what those boards will look like.

When the draft does get here we will all be shocked by some of the players who are taken in Round 1, and by extension some of the players who last until Day 2 or even into early Day 3.