It must really be 2017 NFL Mock Draft season now. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. is out with his first mock draft, joining NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah, whose first mock we have already been discussing.
Kiper’s pick for the Giants cuts right to the heart of the team’s core issues heading into next season. Here it is:
23. New York Giants
Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Picking another tackle would allow the Giants to move 2015 top-10 pick Ereck Flowers over to the right side -- he struggled in 2016. Ramczyk, who has had an amazing path to the NFL, is a 6-6, 314-pound road grader with all the traits of an NFL starter, but he's not a talent on the level of former Badger Joe Thomas (who is?). New York could also target a pass-rusher or tight end (none are off the board so far).
Valentine’s View: The way most draft boards look right now, matched up with the Giants’ apparent needs, make it pretty much impossible to argue with this pick. In Kiper’s mock, Cam Robinson and Garett Bolles, the only other two players considered potential Year 1 left tackle starters, are off the board. That makes Ramczyk, a player I’ve loved watching in my early prospect film studies, the last likely hope on the board of finding an immediate left tackle starter.
Yes, this means the Giants would have used three first-round picks (Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh and Ramczyk) and a second-round pick (Weston Richburg) on the offensive line since 2013. That’s a big investment. What, though, is more important than getting the line right? Nothing else on offense will work the way it could or should until that problem is solved.
Kiper leaves running back Christian McCaffrey (29th, Green Bay Packers) and tight end O.J. Howard (32nd, New England Patriots) on the board to choose Ramczyk. As of now, I have to endorse that decision.