By Michael Stewart
Introduction: In my final mock draft, I have the Giants not trading back in round 1 or trading Odell Beckham Jr. GM Dave Gettleman received many calls on both options, but decided to keep what he has and build from the 6 picks. While selecting the Giants picks, keep in mind that some prospects selected in previous mock drafts may not be available in this one. Therefore; here are my picks and alternative selections for the New York Giants Final Mock Draft:
RB-Saquon Barkley-5’11/230 (Penn State): With the 2nd overall pick the Giants select RB Saquon Barkley over DE Bradley Chubb. Despite a need for a edge rusher with the departure of Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants decide to take Barkley over Chubb to improve a running game that has been rated one of the worse in the NFL over the last few seasons. Barkley is an elite prospect and currently the top offensive skilled-position prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft. He is a game changer and would help take a load off Eli Manning’s shoulders and possibly prolong his career.
Alternate Pick: DE-Bradley Chubb-6’4/275 (North Carolina State): Chubb is a devastated pass rusher and the best all round defensive player on the board. The combination of speed and power off of the edge, enables Chubb’s to utilize his exceptional strength, along with quickness and powerful hands; to be a playmaking machine.
Round 2 (#34)
OLB-Lorenzo Carter-6’6/250 (Georgia): Carter has a lean athletic body and could add more size without effective his play. Carter played in a 3-4 system at Georgia as a DE and OLB. Carter’s strength and quickness provides to be equally affective as a pass rusher and against the run will only increase his value and make him a valuable addition for the Giants.
Alternate Pick: RB-Sony Michel-5’11/222 (Georgia): Michel has good size and is equally affected between the tackles as he is turning the corner. Michel has excellent stop and go ability and can change gears with the best of them. Michel improved his receiving skills last season; which is why he should be taken at the top of the 2nd round.
Round 3 (#66)
OC/OG-Frank Ragnow-6’5/320 (Arkansas): Ragnow fits the mold of the new player profile at center, which will allow a team to not have a liability in protection at the center position against physically dominant defensive tackles. Ragnow went 41 starts without allowing a sack and is exceptional on the move (sweeps and screens). Ragnow can also play guard as well, adding depth and talent to a Giants line that needs it.
Alternate Pick: OC/OG-Billy Price-6’3/315 (Ohio State): Price had a minor mishap during the NFL combine with his injury; which could push him out of the 1st round and into the 2nd round. Price has good size and strength and is an exceptional athlete. His versatility to play center and guard will benefit him in the NFL. Price has excellent technique with his footwork and is very mobile.
Round 3 (#69)
DE- Da’Shawn Hand-6’4/290 (Alabama): Hand may not be Bradley Chubb, but make no mistake of his football talents and ability to get to the quarterback. Hand is very mobile for his size and can be equally effective as a run stopper as well as a pass rusher. Hand displayed equal ability to handle the inside and outside responsibilities effectively and has an endless motor.
Alternate Pick: OLB-Shaquem Griffin-6’1/225 (TCU): Not only is Griffin an inspirational story, but he is also an extremely gifted athlete and a very good football player. After watching game film on Griffin, NFL defensive coordinators would welcome his ability as a hybrid linebacker/safety type that can handle the mismatches created by opposing teams.. Griffin is relentless and can go sideline to sideline with the best of them. Griffin is a play maker and a ball hawk.
Round 4 (#108)
WR-Tre’Quan Smith-6’1/205 (UCF): Smith’s speed immediately stands out as he can separate on downfield routes and is a smooth, fluid mover in space. Smith is dangerous after the catch with a combination of quickness and strength. Smith’s is fearless over the middle and usually wins the one on one battle’s in traffic for the ball with his long arms and strong hands.
Alternate Pick: CB-Kevin Toliver-6’3/202 (LSU): Toliver has great size and strength combination and is a physical corner that plays with an edge. Excels at press and man coverage, and knocks receivers off of their routes regularly. Has the speed to cover efficiently on the outside and a willing tackler that can be used in blitzes and against the run.
Round 5 (#139)
CB- Holton Hill-6’2/202 (Texas): Hill has arguably day 1 talent, but a suspension violating team policy will hurt his draft position. Hill has the height and length that teams covet, and his technique through plays is very good. The Giants have gambled before on late round talent with character issues (Ahmad Bradshaw, seventh round). In the end, getting a day 1 talent in the 5th round should be worth the risk.
Alternate Pick: WR-Jaleel Scott-6’6/215 (New Mexico State): Let the Randy Moss comparisons begin as Jaleel Scott has so many physical characteristic of the Hall of Famer it’s surreal. Scott has deceptive speed to go along with soft hands and outstanding leaping ability. Scott is a vertical, deep route threat that will not only take the top off of defenses, but has the route running ability to be productive on shorter routes as defenses will inevitably start to play off due to his deep speed.
Final Thoughts: The Gettleman era continues to get better with his 1st draft as the Giants GM. Gettleman addressed both sides of the ball in my final mock draft and has added much needed talent that will not only help the Giants in 2018, but for years to come. However; look for Gettleman to make an even bigger splash during the UDFA signings immediately after the draft; which he is known for finding hidden talent.