Mel Kiper Jr. Says Isaiah Simmons is Most NFL-Ready Prospect

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Jackson Thompson

ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his third official mock draft Tuesday, mocking Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons to the Giants at the No. 4 overall pick.

A day later, Kiper didn't sound like he was about to change his mind any time soon as he continued his praise of the draft prospect he believes is the "most NFL-ready" prospect in this year's draft.

“Certainly, I think Isaiah Simmons, with the versatility he has, will be the No. 1 guy on that list,” Kiper said.

“He can run, he can cover ... get to the quarterback. He would be the one guy you would highlight just because he’s the most versatile. He would be the so-called 'most NFL-ready' player."

Although the Giants added a pair of linebackers, edge Kyler Fackrell and off-ball linebacker Blake Martinez, a player with Simmons' skillset could potentially fill several different holes on the Giants' defense while giving them an impact starter.

Yet not everyone is on board with Simmons to the Giants in the first round. After their free-agency splash, the most pressing need for the Giants is still offensive tackle despite their signing of former Cowboys swing tackle Cam Fleming to a one-year deal.

Of the top four tackle prospects--Georgia's Andrew Thomas, Louisville's Mekhi Becton, Iowa's Tristan Wirfs, and Alamabam's Jedrick Wills--Kiper believes that Willis, who like Wirfs played predominantly at right tackle in college, is the most NFL-ready tackle in the draft.

"[Wills] is a solid player," Kiper said. "He’s technically sound, and he’s consistent. He didn’t have any hiccups at right tackle this year. He’s the type of guy who could be a plug-and-play right tackle."

Kiper believes that Wills is the better option ahead of Wirfs, but added that Wirfs would likely be a top-10 selection, perhaps falling to the Cardinals.

"[Wirfs] is a right tackle who played two games at left tackle and did a pretty good job," Kiper said.

"I don’t have Wirfs as the top tackle, but I think for Arizona, it would be a good fit ... this is not based on what I think. This is what the league thinks."

If Kiper's prediction of Simmons to the Giants at No. 4 proves correct, several alternate tackle options might be available in later rounds, including Georgia's Isaiah Wilson and Boise State's Erza Cleveland.

"Cleveland had a great combine on the heels of a really good career as a left tackle," said Kiper.

"I think you look at Cleveland as a guy who's moved up. I think he's [a late first-round option]; I think at worst, he's an early second. Right now, when you stack the offensive tackles on the board, he's moved up to the point where he's the sixth guy."

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