In doing my draft research, I've come across dozens of mock drafts. In the past, I've found that mock drafts help me to understand the perceived value of certain players in the eyes of fans and experts who have had a chance to watch these players more than I have. No, mock drafting is not an exact science, and is often a waste of time, but it does have its uses.
Two years ago, I compiled as many mock drafts as I could find to see what the general prediction was. This method produce the correct answer: Hakeem Nicks. Obviously, this won't always be the case (last year, the same method predicted Rolando McClain), but there is some value to be had from trying to understand the general consensus.
But this year, the general consensus is that the Giants will select an offensive lineman, and overwhelmingly so. I don't get it.
In my research, I've noticed that at least three out of every four mock draft has the Giants taking an offensive lineman. I only watched sixteen Giants games and four pre-season games last season, but I didn't seem to notice that the offensive line was this team's glaring weakness, even with all of the injuries. Certainly not so much that over 75% of draft "experts" should be predicting that the Giants will bolster the line with their first pick.
Even more surprising is that of those roughly 25% that don't have the Giants taking an offensive lineman, only about half of them have the Giants attempting to fix their biggest weakness by selecting a linebacker. I've seen as many defensive linemen (Allen Bailey, Corey Liuget) as I have linebackers (Akeem Ayers, Martez Wilson) linked to the G-men. That’s almost comical to me (then again, with the Giants’ track record, I should probably be surprised every time they don't take a defensive end…)
To me, there’s no question that the Giants need to upgrade at linebacker, and with the uncertainty of free agency, they’ll likely have to do so through the draft. We’ve seen what happens when the Giants take best player available and wait for a linebacker to fall to them in the middle rounds. It results in guys like Jonathan Goff, Bryan Kehl, Gerris Wilkinson and Phillip Dillard vying for starting spots. This is not ideal, to say the least.
With this kind of draft strategy, the Giants have backed themselves into a corner. While there are some things that I don’t like about Akeem Ayers, I think that he is the one first round prospect likely to still be on the board by pick 19 who can actually play linebacker in a 4-3 system. Regardless of your personal opinion of what Ayers will do in the NFL, he should be considered the most logical fit based on need and projected availability.
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be opposed to landing a franchise left-tackle if Reese and company are sure that they are the best player available, and that they can stick at left tackle. I just don't understand why so many people think that it's so obvious that O-line is the right pick.
If Ayers is gone by the time the Giants pick, or they decide to pass on him, there should be a solid tackle to fall back on, namely one of Anthony Costanzo, Nate Solder or Tyron Smith. I'd even take a franchise center, but I have doubts that Mike Pouncey can stick there. No first-round guards, please.
But if the Giants do go the route of taking an offensive lineman in the first round, they better hope there's a solid LB like Martez Wilson available in the second round, or else they'll fall into their old trap of taking a bunch of mid-round linebackers and hoping one of them can step up. So far, we've seen how that's worked out.
Who do you want to see the Giants pick? Remember, there are no stupid picks, just stupid people!