Jackson Thompson's Seven-Round Giants-Only Mock Draft
The New York Giants have 10 picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. After plugging some holes in free agency with the signings of linebacker Blake Martinez and cornerback James Bradberry, general manager Dave Gettleman has some more freedom with his strategy.
The roster still has questions at key positions, however, so those 10 picks can go a long way in bolstering some of the roster's weaknesses.
Round 1, No. 4: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
The Giants have needed answers at tackle for years, and there might not be a better opportunity to find that answer than if Wirfs is available at the fourth overall pick.
As an Iowa product, Wirfs comes out of one of the nation's best programs for offensive linemen and offers above-average athleticism for the position, evident from his combine performance.
If the 6-foot 5, 322-pound Wirfs falls past Detroit, don't be surprised if general manager Dave Gettleman brings the former Hawkeye to New York.
Such a move would make sense because by adding a solid young offensive tackle. Gettleman would be adding protection to his previous two first-round picks, quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley.
Round 2, No. 36: DE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
The Giants' other major position of need is pass rusher, as their team leader in sacks from 2019, Markus Golden remains unsigned and, with cap dollars dwindling, appears likely to be headed elsewhere in 2020.
Aside from adding former Packers linebacker Kyler Fackrell, the Giants pass rush group is now spearheaded by recent Gettleman draft picks in Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines.
Gettleman can bolster that young core if Okwara falls into the second round. The younger brother of former Giant and current Lion Romeo Okwara, Julian possesses more athleticism and superior fluid movement to get around offensive linemen and reach the quarterback.
Having played in both a 3-technique and 5-technique in college, Okwara tallied 19.5 sacks in his career and might have gotten more if not for a broken left fibula that prematurely ended his final season.
It's not known if the injury dented his draft stock, but if he falls to the Giants in the second round, he might be hard to pass up.
Round 3, No. 99 Overall: S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
Chinn is a small-school product that has surged up draft boards lately. With the departure of safety Antoine Bethea, Chinn could fill in as a potential rookie starter for the Giants, playing opposite Jabrill Peppers.
Chinn's versatile skill set is comparable to that of Clemson's Isaiah Simmons, but with arguably better ball skills as he tallied 13 interceptions and 31 passes defended in his career at Southern Illinois.
With desirable speed for NFL defensive back, Chinn boasts the ability to play man-to-man, which is when he's at his best. He can even fill in as a nickel corner.
Round 4, No. 110: C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
The Giants offensive line could use more than one addition in this year's draft. With Jon Halapio not only unsigned but also still recovering from an Achilles injury suffered in the regular-season finale, the Giants can explore getting younger on the offensive line.
Ruiz, if drafted, could be worth a look if the Giants want to provide some competition for veteran Spencer Pulley, who is still under contract and who projects as the starting center as of right now.
Ruiz has the ideal body for an interior offensive lineman but did have some issues with recognizing pressures and calling pre-snap protection in college.
As with any rookie, coaching will be essential, and the Giants, in tabbing former NFL offensive lineman Marc Columbo as the offensive line coach, the hope is that Columbo can develop a cohesive offensive line by opening day.
Round 5, No. 150: LB Joe Bachie, Michigan State
After finding some fifth-round promise at inside linebacker by picking up Ryan Connelly out of Wisconsin last year, Gettleman could go right back to the ranks of the Big Ten to find a similar contributor with Bachie.
Bachie is a former team captain and MVP for Michigan State, but he missed the final five games of the 2019 season after testing positive for PEDs.
Despite the suspension, Bachie was voted an All-Big Ten honorable mention as a senior. He is an instinctive tackler and elite run defender, with the ability to recognize play design and play ahead of combo blocks. He tallied 100+ tackles twice as a Spartan but has been inconsistent in coverage.
Round 6, No. 183: WR Kendrick Rogers, Texas A&M
Quarterback Daniel Jones could use a taller target on the perimeter, and Rogers needs a team to take a chance on him after a disappointing junior season. Might the Giants and Rodgers be a match?
Rogers had only 30 catches for 351 yards with two touchdowns in 2019. Despite the low production, Rogers chose to forgo his senior year and head right to the NFL Draft, with the belief that his talent and physical gifts will land a spot on a roster.
At 6-foot 4, Rogers had rare flashes of elite pass-catching ability but fell well short of NFL-worthy production. However, his potential as a red-zone threat is promising, which the Giants could use in their core of talented, but undersized receivers.
If he stays healthy and improves upon his college production, Rogers could carve a spot for himself as the big receiving target.
Round 7, No. 218: TE Mitchell Wilcox, South Florida
A poor performance at the combine likely hurt Wilcox's draft stock, but he still draws praise for his work ethic and character as an NFL prospect.
As a four-year starter at South Florida, Wilcox played best as a powerful in-line blocking tight end, which dates back to his high school career in which he played guard.
Wilcox did, however, show receiving potential in college, especially in 2018, when he broke the program record for receptions and receiving yards by a tight end.
He was also named a first-team All-American Athletic Conference selection.
Round 7, No. 238: CB Javaris Davis, Auburn
Davis, the cousin of former NFL players Vernon and Vontae Davis, flashed his ball skills as a rotational nickel back at Auburn, where he recorded eight career interceptions despite limited playing time.
His biggest flaw, according to multiple scouting reports, is his tackling, which could delay his quest to find a spot as a starter at the NFL level, but his elite speed, evident in his 4.39 40-time at the combine, makes him an NFL-caliber athlete.
As a bonus, Davis has experience as a returner, a role that he could instantly compete for while he waits for a more prominent role on defense.
Round 7, No. 247: G Ben Cleveland, Georgia
Playing on one of the best offensive line units on the country relegated Cleveland to being a backup at Georgia.
But in the time he did get into games, he proved to be an effective run blocker.
At 6-foot 7 and 340 pounds, he has ideal size for the position, and his physicality and size should make him a fit into any offensive line room in the NFL where he'd have to work his way up the ladder toward a starting role.
Round 7, No. 256: DE Markaviest "Big Kat" Bryant, Auburn
With the final pick in the draft, Gettleman can make Bryant this year's Mr. Irrelevant. The 6-foot 5, 247-pound Bryant comes with a headline ready name, but if he comes to the Giants, he might have to yield to another teammate who already has the "Big Cat" moniker: defensive lineman Leonard Williams.
Auburn's Big Kat earned a starting assignment in 2019, recording 16 tackles, 2.0 tackles for a loss, and nine quarterback hurries for the season.
At 247, Bryant might be a little too light for a prototypical defensive end role, where those players' weights start around 265 and up, so Bryant, wherever he ends up, would probably need to add some muscle to his frame, making him a developmental project with potential.