The New York Giants entered the offseason with numerous holes scattered across their roster. When free agency came along a couple of weeks ago, general manager Jerry Reese filled some of the major holes by taking advantage of their loads of cap space and signing some of the top free agents available. They enter the 2016 draft in a much more comfortable position now, but they still have a bunch of holes to fill.
Ever since free agency ended, the majority of Giants mock drafts have shifted from the defensive side of the ball to the offensive side of the ball. They think that a team who finished with the worst defense in all of the NFL last season, after only signing four free agents and still possessing needs on all three levels, can all of a sudden put to rest the need of possibly getting a game-changing talent to solidify the defense in exchange for yet another offensive weapon. Now don’t get me wrong, offensive weapons are essential to have, especially when you have aging quarterback like the Giants do in Eli Manning, but they have enough to the point where they can look to add more weapons in later rounds rather than grabbing someone with the 10th overall pick.
It’s time to put the focus back on defense, the unit that should be the main talk inside the war room when the Giants are on the clock with the 10th pick.
ROUND ONE: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
Opening up the draft, the Giants need to attack all areas of the defense, so they’re main focus should be the best defensive guy available. With the first two picks likely to be quarter back thanks to the blockbuster trades, there could be some legitimate studs available. One guy very likely to be there is Hargreaves, who would be the missing piece to complete a stellar group of corner backs. Hargreaves may not have ideal size, but I’ve believed for months now that scouts are making too big of a deal about that. Some of the top corners in the game possess his size or some even shorter, so I think there won’t be much of a problem at all with Hargreaves translating his game to the pros. With the Giants having a great tandem of of DRC and Janoris Jenkins, Hargreaves will only need to play the slot for the first few years of his career. Maybe he can even see some free safety, and he will provide valuable depth that was lacking. He has great coverage ability, elite ball skills, and he is a very physical player. Adding him would be a great addition and make the Giants feel a lot better about having a future replacement when DRC eventually decids to move on.
ROUND TWO: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
The Giants still need to add another pass rusher to complete their totally revamped defensive line. With a top-five talent in Nkemdiche slipping to the second round due to off-the-field concerns, the Giants are ecstatic when they see him available with the 40th pick. If this draft were based solely on talent and ability, Nkemdiche could arguably be the number one overall pick and definitely a top 5 pick. Since he has some concerns off the field, he is expected to take a fall in the draft similar to Randy Gregory last year. Nkemdiche would be the perfect addition to the defensive line. He would raise the defense to a whole new level, and transform the line. He will become an extremely valuable weapon and really help take some of the load off the starters. He also can prove to be a valuable replacement just in case Jonathan Hankins doesn’t get re-signed following this season. He has amazing power, a physical build similar to that of JJ Watt, and freakish athletic ability. Picture this Giants fans, a defensive line consisting of JPP and Vernon on the ends, Harrison and Hankins in the middle, and a clean Nkemdiche plus a healthy Owa in the rotation. Yeah, I’m smiling too.
ROUND THREE: Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech
The Giants will definitely find themselves a right tackle in the first three rounds, and I think round three is the best time. They need defense first and foremost, and with the luck they’ve had with their first two picks, I’m sure they are happy to wait till now. With Le’Raven Clark still sitting there, Jerry Reese and the Giants are counting their blessings. Clark, standing at 6’5″ 316 lbs, possesses ideal size and physical build. He has great quickness and instincts, and was very productive in both run and pass blocking. He can play either tackle spot and will get better every year. He can start from day 1 and grow alongside the rest of this young offensive line to become an elite tackle. Clark really has Pro Bowl potential, and while it is rare he will be available this late, every mock draft has to have a surprise or two. If the Giants first three pick go like this, nobody will be complaining.
ROUND FOUR: Keyarris Garrett, WR, Tulsa
Even though I’m confident the Giants will add a veteran wideout after the draft, they desperately need to find their future number 2 wide receiver with the VIctor Cruz uncertainty. They need somebody who possess great size and good hands that will draw double teams and compliment Odell beautifully. Keyarris Garrett is the perfect guy for this. Standing at 6’3″ 220 lbs, he has the size scouts drool over. He also possess the ability to go up and snatch footballs out of the air. He will almost certaintly draw double teams from time to time, especially in the red zone. He will give defensive coordinators somebody else to worry about, and will grow and get better every year. Drawing lots of similarities to Calvin Johnson coming out of college, Garrett has the chance to be a very productive wideout in the NFL.
ROUND FIVE: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Ah, Jaylon Smith. The Giants, after filling four big needs with their first four picks, are able to sit back and take a guy who is the biggest mystery in the draft, but could also be the biggest steal of the draft. Despite his injury he was most likely projected to be a late first, early second round pick, but mocks have him scattered all over. With his most recent medical check not showing any signs of improvement, I think there will just be too much uncertainty and teams will become afraid to take him due to the multiple injuries and nerve damage he currently has. I could honestly see Smith lasting until day three of the draft, and NFL.com has him projected to go in rounds 5-6. So nobody really knows. Nevertheless, if this happens the Giants could very well have snag a future All-pro at linebacker. He very well could have been the first overall pick if he didn’t have the injury. Drawing comparisons to Luke Keuchly, Khalil Mack, and Derrick Johnson to name a few, Smith could pay off immensly for the team that takes him. He has great size and build at 6’2″ 223 lbs, is extremely versatile, and has jaw-dropping ahtleticism to go along with amazing explosiveness. They may have to wait a year, but that’s such a small price to pay when you get the next great NFL linebacker in the fifth round.
ROUND SIX: Landon Turner, OG, North Carolina
To close out an extremely productive draft, the Giants add some much needed depth to their offensive line, and someone who can compete for that starting right guard spot. Turner, 6’4″ 330 lbs, has electrifying force centering around his insane lower body. He simply demolishes his blockers, and really makes sure he finishes the job. He is improving in his pass protection, but still has lots of room for improvement at that area. With Bobby Hart looking promising, Turner can play a backup role and get used to the system to maybe one day become a starter. This could be a nice value pick in the late rounds of the draft and pay off pretty well.