I have been slacking on the whole NFL draft process this year. I think a large part of that has to do with the fact that we are a much better team this year and there is hope for something after the regular season. That being said, I will be honest and say that I have not watched a ton of college football this season, because of being busy, but I have quite a few players I like quite a bit. I will start watching more videos and trying to get familiar with this draft class throughout the next few weeks. I figured I would go ahead and give my first attempt at a mock draft. I did one every week basically for like half the NFL season up until the NFL draft last year. I will try and keep up with it most weeks now that I am getting started.
1st round- DeMarcus Walker DE Florida St- Personally I think we have bigger needs than DE at the moment, especially if we bring JPP back, but I don't like the value in the position we will be picking for a need based selection. The OL class seems pretty thin and no one really jumps out to me at where we would be picking in the first round. LB is a position I would love for us to upgrade, but I do not think that we will be in a position to get guys like Zach Cunningham and Reuben Foster. I also think that we could upgrade RB and TE. I do think there is a chance a really solid RB could be available when we pick, but I think the class is deep enough to where you could find better value in the 2nd-3rd or so.
Walker is a guy that was the leader of the FSU defense basically. He is a guy that could be a really solid rotational DE for us early on. I think he is someone that could be put inside on obvious passing downs to rush the passer. He is a very physical pass rusher and player in general. I like his game and think that he could definitely improve our depth at DE. I do like the rotation of Vernon, JPP, and Okwara with guys like Odiggy and Wynn being able to get in there from time to time. It is not certain that we bring back JPP. If we do then maybe this pick wouldn't necessarily be the one to go with.
2nd round- Royce Freeman RB Oregon- I really like this round for either RB or TE. I was tempted to put Leggett the TE from Clemson here, but decided to go with Royce here. I do think that Perkins should be a huge part of what the Giants are doing going forward. I do think he is the best RB on the roster. I do think it would be a good idea to pair him with a bigger back and I think Freeman would be a really good option. He is a big guy, but can make cuts and do things out of similar formations to what the Giants like to run. I think he would do a lot of things that Jennings does, but just be a younger version of that.. Meaning he would likely be more effective and explosive
STRENGTHS: Freeman is above average in two critical areas of playing the position: vision and balance. He is able to decipher all the moving parts in front of him and find space to work, setting up moves and following blockers. Freeman isn't an explosive athlete, but he runs with a flexible lower body and torso to make hard stops and subtle moves in tight spaces, collecting himself to redirect with ease.
He is a patient runner and absorbs contact while keeping his feet due to his thick build and natural power. Freeman runs with a workhorse mentality and is physical as a blocker, showing the base strength to hold his ground vs. defensive linemen.
STRENGTHS: While he runs low, Freeman doesn't always stay behind his pads and needs to be more of a hammer, especially in short-yardage situations. A one-speed athlete, his run style clearly lacks burst, which allows fundamentally-sound defenders to square him up. Freeman has a number of NFL qualities, but he will face somewhat of a learning curve transitioning from Oregon's spread scheme.
3rd round- Scott Quessenberry OG UCLA- I like what I have seen from him in fairly limited time. He is a guy that plays his heart out from what I have seen and I think guard is a position we really need help at. I will give John Jerry credit, he has played better than I expected, but he is not the long term solution for sure. I know that we need help or depth at OT, but I think if we are going to find a replacement, that would probably need to be done in FA, because I am not that high on many of the OT prospects this year and OL in general.
4th round- Jalen Reeves-Maybin OLB Tennessee- I am going off of CBS Sports projections when I making this mock, so I don't know if he will make it this far in the draft. He was someone I was really hoping for if he declared last year, but he decided to come back. He did get hurt, which will likely hurt his stock, but when he is out on the field he is someone that is really fun to watch. We haven't had a LB that is extremely mobile in a long time. I think Jalen Reeves-Maybin can be that type of LB for this team
STRENGTHS: Reeves-Maybing has terrific diagnosis skills, frequently breaking through the line of scrimmage on outside runs and is especially keen to blowing up screen passes. He possesses excellent spatial awareness and body control, helping him slither past blockers on his way to the ball. He has light feet and flexible joints, helping him change directions fluidly and accelerates quickly, allowing Reeves-Maybin to catch many ballcarriers from behind.
Reeves-Maybin's athleticism and instincts allow the Volunteers to slide him outside to nickel cornerback, on occasion. His previous experience at safety shows with his comfort with his back to the ball. He's also a savvy blitzer, showing good timing, burst and active hands to defeat blocks. Reeves-Maybin may lack ideal stopping power due to his size but he's a scrappy, generally reliable open-field tackler who wraps his arms securely. He showed improved hand-eye coordination and aggression in punching out the ball as a junior, as well.
WEAKNESSES: Reeves-Maybin's size does limit his fits at the next level. He would fit in well as a traditional "chase" weak-side linebacker in a 4-3 scheme and some 3-4 proponents could see him as a possible coverage inside 'backer. Reeves-Maybin is surprisingly effective in slipping past would be blockers, showing good balance and quick hands to remain free, but his marginal arm length and ballast show up when offensive linemen are able to latch on.
5th round- Jeremy Sprinkle TE Arkansas. I think Sprinkle would be a nice pick at this spot. I think he is a guy that has some real potential. I caught a couple games last year keeping my eye on guys like Hunter Henry and Alex Collins, but Sprinkle kept making plays. He is a big TE, so I think he would be more than capable of blocking. I do think that Jerell Adams is a guy that could develop into a really solid NFL TE. I think he is the best blocker we have at TE by quite a large margin and he is a pretty good receiving threat when they give him the opportunity. He is a guy that can make things happen after the catch which is rare for a NYG TE as of late. If we don't address the TE position earlier in the draft I think Sprinkle would be a nice pick later in the draft.
6th round- Amba Etta-Tawo WR Syracuse- I do think we are pretty set at the WR position with OBJ/Shep/Cruz/Lewis Jr/King, but we are not sure if Cruz will return. We do have guys like Lewis Jr, King, and Harris that wouldn't be the worst option as a replacement. I do think that if we do lose Cruz we could use some more depth at the position. I think Etta-Tawo is someone who would click in this offense. He is someone that had a MONSTER year this year. He did get the ball thrown to him an insane amount of times, but he delivered almost every week. He is someone that I think could make a push for that third guy if Cruz were to walk and it was between him, Lewis Jr, King, and Harris.
STRENGTHS: Etta-Tawo does an excellent job making himself available in his route with strong finishing skills at the catch point, finding the ball well in flight and showing natural ball skills on 50-50 passes. When matched up one-on-one downfield, Syracuse force feedd him the ball and scouts are taking notice.
--Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler), 9/27/16
7th round- Clint Van Horn OT Marshall- I would obviously like to address this position earlier in the draft, but I think the Giants' best bet is to address this position in Free Agency if they are looking for a replacement at LT or RT. Van Horn is a guy that would be well worth the gamble in the later rounds, because I think he has really nice upside if he can piece it together
STRENGTHS: Van Horn looks the part with a wide base and natural center of gravity, forcing defenders to go around him because he won't let anyone go through him. Van Horn has some hip tightness and average-at-best quickness in his kick slide, but he has patient eyes to stay balanced and mirror his man.
He extends well to meet rushers off the edge with heavy hands to stall the pass rush and be a people-mover in the run game. Van Horn possesses many of the intangibles scouts are looking for, including toughness and competitiveness.
WEAKNESSES: Lacks ideal agility and flexibility to handle NFL speed rushers and has no experience playing inside. Played out of a two-point stance at Marshall and may struggle acclimating to guard (where he'll likely be asked to play with his hand in the dirt in the three point stance). Has a brawling playing style with inconsistent technique, allowing his hands to slide outside and his pad level to rise.
IN OUR VIEW: Van Horn plays with the aggression and physicality that will endear him to offensive line coaches in the NFL, though he remains a significant project. The three-year starting right tackle lacks the foot quickness and balance to remain outside in the NFL and may struggle acclimating to the three-point stance if moved to guard. He's a brawler with the natural size and strength to warrant a Day Three investment.
--Dane Brugler (12/21/15)