In this post we will break down the first round of the NFL draft, with particular attention to the Giants selection.
Our draft analyst, Wonder, has been unable to do the hundreds of hours of exhaustive film work required to properly evaluate every player in this year's Draft. But he has been able to share with us an assessment of the Top 32 picks. Never bashful, he makes some pointed remarks about players he likes and dislikes. Everything is about value in the draft, meaning all 32 players chosen will perform in the NFL; it is simply that some will perform at superior level worthy of their selection, while others will have been "reached" for and should not be selected so high.
Let's begin with a quick discussion of the NY Giants. (1) We won't belabor the point about the need for LBer. All we need to say is that there is something wrong when your franchise has not selected this staple position in Round 1 of the Draft in 29 years. (2) For years we have been harping on the aging of the OL, watching as guys like Seubert, McKenzie and O'Hara were shed from the roster. Add that Diehl and Snee have shown their age too and you have a large need. Since Snee was drafted early in R2 in 2004, there has been literally 1 single player (Will Beatty) taken by the Giants in Rounds 1-3 in the last 8 years. That is negligence.
Wonder echoes the sentiments of LBer and OL for the Giants emphatically. While he thinks that a good LBer may be there for the Giants, it is more likely that OL will be there at 19.
In terms of the overall draft, Wonder's pick for Offensive Rookie Player of the Year in 2013 is Tavon Austin. He's tough, never missed a game in 4 years, and he's a blazing version of Wes Welker. Stick him in the slot. He's got the fastest and quickest feet in recent memory. As long as he is in a system that can protect him from getting hurt, he will offer your team an almost unstoppable weapon on 3rd and 5.
Defensive Rookie of the Year projection goes to Dion Jordan. This 3-4 pass rusher has blazing speed, turns the corner well, and a shoulder injury should not be a problem.
A quick pan of Manti T'eo. Wonder does not think the Giants will go for him. T'eo is not a 1st Round NFL player. He cannot shed a block.
The way the draft sets up, it is relatively strong at OL and DL. The cream at OL are 3 really good prospects that should offer their teams 10 solid years: Joeckel, Fisher, and Johnson. They will be gone before the Giants pick, but there are still some very solid road graders that will be available for the Giants.
Without further ado, Wonder's Round 1 Mock Draft:
1) KC. OT Luke Joeckel. And definitely chosen by the Chiefs if they can trade Branden Albert, rumored targeted to Miami.
2) JAX. DE Dion Jordan. This will surprise a few, but it is the right thing to do.
3) OAK. They'll do something ridiculous like taking DT Sharrif Floyd, who is weak and overvalued.
4) PHL. Chip Kelly desperately wants Dion Jordan. Taking Geno Smith at 4 is ridiculous. He will select Star Lotulelei or the one we expect, OT Eric Fisher.
5) DET. CB Dee Milliner.
6) CLE. DT Star Lotulelei.
7) AZ. OT Lane Johnson.
8) BUF. G Chance Warmack.
9) NYJ. They too are upset that the OT's and G's are all raided, so they take DE Barkevious Mingo. (Wonder notes that he wants Tavon Austin chosen here, but that will not happen.)
10) TENN. G Jonathan Cooper
11) SD. They too wanted OL, but with the ones they wanted gone, they take DE Ziggy Ansah.
12) MIA. CB Xavier Rhodes.
13) TB. Trade it to the NYJ and the NYJ take WR Tavon Austin.
14) CAR. WR Cordarrelle Patterson.
15) NO. S Kenny Vaccaro.
16) STL. Trade with Bills or Jaguars and then that team selects QB Geno Smith.
17) PIT. LB Jarvis Jones. Adds to the legend of Steelers Linebackers.
18) DAL. DT Sheldon Richardson, the best available athlete at this spot
19) NYG. LB Alec Ogletree. Very good pick for the Giants. He performs on the field. He tackles. He has some speed. He played in the tough SEC on a top 3 defense in college. Good solid football player. He is the pick over DJ Fluker, another solid pick the Giants could make at this spot. The reason I prefer Ogletree over Fluker here is that while Fluker is the "safer" pick with less downside, Ogletree is the pick with more upside, and upside wins titles.Ogletree is a 3 down LBer, another plus for why Reese can take a LBer here in Round 1.
20) CHI. OT DJ Fluker. Road Grader Right Tackle. Fluker is the best Right Tackle I have seen in years. Very safe solid pick.
21) CIN. CB Desmond Truffant.
22) STL. Great pick of RB Eddie Lacy to replace Steven Jackson.
23) MIN. They make a mistake and take TE Tyler Eifert, one of the most overrated players in the draft. He's a good solid TE, but not a #1 pick.
24) IND. CB DJ Hayden. They are upset that Cin took Trufant, so they take Hayden.
25) MIN. DT Sylvester Williams.
26) GB. Must go OL. So it is either Menelik Watson or G Justin Pugh, and they take the latter.
27) HOU. OT Menelik Watson, the one that GB does not pick.
28) DEN. DE Bjoern Werner to replace Dumervil.
29) NE. Will grab a WR, either Keenan Allen, Deandre Hopkins or Robert Woods, whichever they grade the best.
30) ATL. DE Datone Jones.
31) SF. CB Jamar Taylor.
32) BAL. Will trade down to either BUF or NYJ (or someone else?) who will trade up to take QB Matt Barkley or QB Ryan Nassib. That is an overreach. If no one willing to pay up to move up, BAL takes S Matt Elam.