The countdown of the days until the 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago has reached single digits. With that in mind, here is my final mock draft for the New York Giants. Check out my first two mocks here and here.
The Pick: OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa
My Original Picks: OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa/ OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa
NFL Comparison: Joe Staley, San Francisco 49ers
Although the question remains as to whether or not Scherff will be a guard or tackle at the NFL is still up for debate, the fact is that Scherff fills the biggest need for the Giants. The 6’5″ 319 lbs monster is the hands down best run blocker in this year’s draft, something the Giants desperately need after finishing 22nd in the league in rushing last season. Scherff can at times rely too much on his strength and power, getting himself beat by speedy edge rushers.
Yet, current Giant offensive lineman Justin Pugh does not seem to worried about putting Scherff on the outside against NFL rushers. Pugh said:
“I like the kid from Iowa, just from what I’ve seen. Seems like a tough kid. I just watched a few games on him and I’d like to play with someone like that…If you look at every single Giants offensive lineman that has been here when we won Super Bowls, the David Diehls of this world who moved from guard to tackle to left tackle, won a Super Bowl playing left tackle, no one thought he could do that.’’
That is high praise for the Iowa captain, as Pugh continued by saying he would not care if the Giants drafted Scherff to play tackle and have him move over to the guard slot. To have an established veteran adamantly express a desire for his team to draft another play to take his position in order to better the team, speaks volumes about just how good Scherff could be.
Scherff has displayed excellent footwork for his mammoth size already, he just needs to do it more consistently to become an elite pass blocker. Run blocking wise he is already bordering on Pro Bowl potential. Mastering his balance when dropping into pass protection would turn Scherff into one of the NFL’s best linemen.
The Pick: S Damarious Randall, Arizona State
My Original Pick: OLB Alvin Dupree, Kentucky/S Gerod Holliman, Louisville
NFL Comparison: Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers
Alvin Dupree will not fall to the Giants’ second round pick, his physical tools will be to intriguing for NFL teams to pass up late in the first round. Gerod Holliman will likely be available when the Giants are on the clock in round two, however, in a choice between Holliman and Randle, Randle gets the nod due to his superior tackling ability. Holliman put up video game-like interception numbers last season with a nation leading 14 picks. His tackling is just atrocious at times though, and New York would rather the more complete player over the one trick pony.
Randall could be the total package and more for the Giants. He is not the biggest man on the field, standing just at just 5’11” and 196 lbs. Yet, the First Team All-Pac 12 member plays much bigger than his size would suggest. An aggressive and downhill player, Randall is a willing tackler with above average speed (he ran a 4.46 second forty yard dash at the NFL Combine, the time fastest among the defensive backs) which helps make up for his less than impressive size.
Randall missed the start of his 2013 season with a groin injury and played in only nine games, but still managed to finish his junior year with an impressive 71 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, six passes defended and three interceptions. He went on in 2014 to lead the Sun Devils with 106 total tackles, 12 passes defended and three interceptions.
He has great ball skills, as evident by his seeing snaps as a receiver during his time at Mesa Community College, and as a return man with Arizona State averaging 29.8 yards per return with two touchdowns.
Randall’s ultra aggressive play can some times come back to bite him, sometimes getting left in the dust on trick plays and not always breaking down properly when tackling. He is mostly a center-field zone safety at this point, lacking the discipline to play NFL caliber man coverage.
However, aggressiveness is always a trait you would rather see a player have too much of rather than too little. His tough play can force turnovers on both defense and special teams. Randall has all the potential in the world to develop into New York’s best safety during his rookie season, even if Stevie Brown re-signs.
It could also be interesting to see if Randall can compete at all with newly signed return specialist Dwayne Harris for some looks as a returner in the preseason. He likely will not outperform Harris, but if he shows enough promise New York’s return game could become even more electric with both Randall and Harris back deep during kickoffs.
The Pick: LB Shaq Thompson, Washington
My Original Pick: WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma/ LB Denzel Perryman, Miami
NFL Comparison: Brandon Marshall, Denver Broncos
As was the case in the previous round, the Giants will likely be faced with two options at a position of need. The safe option, in this case, would be Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman. But despite Perryman’s superior grasp of the football fundamentals, New York would do well to take a gamble here on an incredibly gifted athlete who had been originally mocked to them in the first round at the start of the Draft season.
Washington linebacker, Shaq Thompson, has free fallen down draft boards due to being the Draft’s greatest question mark. What will the athletic specimen become at the NFL level? A running back, a safety, or a linebacker? Heck, the man was even drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 18th round of the 2012 MLB Draft.
The 6’0″ 228 lbs does not have the ideal size to play linebacker yet, on the other hand, does not posses the ideal speed to play running back or safety (Thompson ran just a 4.64 forty yard dash). The Paul Hornung Award winner (given to the nation’s most versatile player) does have some excellent strength and agility though, putting up 20 reps on the bench press at his Pro Day and running a 4.08 second twenty yard shuttle at the Combine, the best among linebackers.
Thompson rushed for 456 yards on just 61 carries (7.5 per rush average) with two touchdowns last season. On defense he recorded 81 tackles, one sack, one interception, four passes defended, three forced fumbles, and four defensive touchdowns (one interception returned for a touchdown and three fumbles recoveries returned).
A productive collegiate player on both sides of the ball, Thompson is a reliable tackler with great ball skills who knows how to make plays in the open field. He would likely project to be an outside linebacker with the Giants, due to his effectiveness in getting off blockers and in pass coverage.
The Pick: WR Tre McBride, Williams & Mary
My Original Pick: RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska, TE Nick O’Leary, Florida State University
NFL Comparison: Brandon Lafell, New England Patriots
Tight end Nick O’Leary would still be an excellent and realistic option here, however, I feel the Giants could snatch him up later and go best player available with this selection.
That player would likely be receiver Tre McBride, someone who posses the hands and top-tier speed reminiscent of current Giant, Odell Beckham Jr. The 6’1″ 210 lbs receiver was able to take over and dominate games during his collegiate career, racking up 11 catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns against Villanova. He is fearless at the point of attack, sacrificing his body to make catches and going up to grab the ball at its highest point. An intelligent person (he finished in the top 5% of his high school class while being a three sport varsity athlete) and great locker room guy, McBride finished his senior season with 64 catches for 809 yards and four touchdowns. He also won the CAA Special Teams Player of the Year Award in 2013, leading CAA in kick-return yardage with 605 yards.
Nearly every scout that has seen this kid play raves about how he just physically dominates his opposition. McBride’s greatest issue is his tendency to round off routes, allowing defenders to get the jump on him. His incredible catch radius and physicality prevented this from being a major problem in college, but with more talented defensive backs waiting for him at the NFL level, it is something McBride will have to improve on to become consistently effective in the pros. If he can work on making sharper cuts on his routes, he could have a ceiling which would rival that of fellow prospects Amari Cooper and Kevin White. Otherwise, he will be destined for the role of just a third receiver throughout his career.
The Pick: TE Nick O’Leary, FSU
My Original Pick: DB Josh Shaw, USC/ DB Josh Shaw, USC
NFL Comparison: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
Despite versatile defensive back Josh Shaw climbing up draft boards, the Giants still come away the winners here with nabbing playmaker Nick O’Leary.
Although a good-sized player at 6’3″ and 252 lbs, O’Leary’s limited athleticism remains his greatest detractor. His ceiling is limited but his blue-collar attitude and willingness to block hard seem to make up for that weakness. He can play the H-back role as well, even scoring one touchdown on the ground last season. Giants offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo will have fun playing around lining up O’Leary in different spots as his good hands, blocking, and ball carrying ability make him an extremely useful tool.
The Giants recently re-signed last year’s back up tight end Daniel Fells and tenured starter Larry Donnell, but that should not deter them from scooping up O’Leary if he is still available in the fifth round. The Mackey Award Winner (given to the most outstanding tight end in college football) racked up 48 receptions for 618 yards and six scores, proving to be the kind of playmaker Eli Manning could get the best out of from the tight end position.
The Pick: LB Tony Washington, Oregon
My Original Pick: LB Tony Washington, Oregon / LB Tony Washington, Oregon
NFL Comparison: Pernell McPhee, Baltimore Ravens
The Giants have had little success with getting production out of collegiate athletic projects in the past, but Tony Washington is much different from the others (namely fellow Oregon alum and former Giant linebacker Jacquian Williams). The difference being he was one of Oregon’s most productive defenders last season and not purely an athletic project. The 6’5″ and 247 lbs “tweener” garnered 60 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and six sacks while leading the team with three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Washington will likely be a defensive end at the NFL level due to his size, but the lack of strength he showed when getting off blockers after failing to make a finesse move around them, concerned scouts about his ability to make the transition to a full-time defensive end.
Destined to be a situational pass rusher until he puts on more weight, Washington’s speed and penchant for stripping the ball could make him a valuable contributor on special teams.
The Pick: DT Louis Trinca-Pasat, Iowa
My Original Pick: OT Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin/ DT Louis Trinca-Pasat, Iowa
NFL Comparison: Brodrick Bunkley, New Orleans Saints
The Giants addressed their offensive line need in the first round, now its time to turn their attention to the defensive line. The team drafted Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley in the third round of last year’s draft, although his lack of production or able to see much playing time makes it necessary to add a few more bodies to the position. New York currently has in addition to Bromley budding star Jonathan Hankins, aging veteran Cullen Jenkins, newly signed free agent from the New York Jets Kenrick Ellis, former seventh round pick Markus Kuhn, and practice squad player Dominique Hamilton on their roster.
Adding Trinca-Pasat to the mix gives the Giants another young body to rotate in on passing downs. Slightly undersized at 6’1′ and 290 lbs with short arms, Trinca-Pasat lacks the size to be a run stuffer at this point in his career. Pass rushing and making plays behind the line of scrimmage is where the nimble play maker ears his due. He often gets the first step on slower, interior offensive lineman as he accumulated 69 tackles, including 29 solo stops and 40 assists, 11.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, one safety and three pass break-ups last season.
Adding more weight and bulk to his frame could make Trinca-Pasat an every down player down the stretch in his career.
The Pick: LS Joe Cardona, Navy
My Original Pick: N/A /WR J.J. Nelson, UAB
NFL Comparison: Zak DeOssie
Long snapper is probably the least glamorous position in the NFL. The unsung hero of the special teams, more and more NFL teams have begun carrying long snappers as an individual position, including the Giants and their special teams’ captain Zak DeOssie.
DeOssie is one of the best and most consistent at it in the league, therefore making the question as to why one would spend a draft pick on a fairly irrelevant position becomes even more valid. Despite a stellar NFL career, in which he has helped the Giants to two Super Bowl victories, DeOssie is now 30-years-old and the clock is ticking on his NFL career. It might not end next year or even the year after but DeOssie’s retirement is on the horizon within the next half decade. That is why New York must pounce on the opportunity to male Cardona the fourth long snapper ever to be drafted, a title he is well deserving of.
The future U.S. Naval officer snaps with pinpoint accuracy and NFL level velocity. While he needs to become more of a factor on punt coverage and work on his break downs, Cardona has all talent to be an NFL level player. At 6’2″ and 242 lbs, Cardona has shown a willingness to improve and continue to muscle on his frame.
His U.S. five year service commitment should make him an even more attractive option for the Giants. Stashing the serviceman overseas until he is ready to comeback and replace a then 35-year-old DeOssie, would allow the Giants to not miss a single beat on special teams by moving on from one great long snapper to another.