We held our NFL Nation mock draft on Tuesday. Each ESPN NFL team reporter made the pick for his or her team in the first round. So I had the New York Giants' pick at No. 12, and I took Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan.
You can see the whole mock draft here.
I got an email from Vikings reporter Ben Goessling asking if I'd be interested in trading up from No. 12 to No. 8. I told him we could talk if Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews or Mike Evans were still there when his pick came around. But Robinson went No. 2 to St. Louis, Matthews went No. 6 to Atlanta and Evans when No. 7 to Tampa Bay. So there wasn't anyone for whom I'd have been willing to send, say, a third-round pick to Ben to move up four spots. (We never did talk price.)
Then when Mike Rothstein was on the board for the Lions at No. 10, he and I talked trade. He offered me the No. 10 pick in exchange for the No. 12 and a fifth-rounder (No. 152). But at that point, Lewan and Zack Martin were still on the board, and I didn't have any fear that they'd go at 10 and 11. I felt strongly that one of them would fall to 12, so I decided just to sit tight and take whichever one did.
(NOTE: Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald was still on the board, and I know some of you think the Giants should or would take him in that case. But I look at the profile of the defensive tackles the Giants like, and I fear Donald's relative lack of size for the position will scare them off. I don't think it should, mind you. I think Donald is great and would be a wonderful pick here. But I'm supposed to try to do what I think the Giants would do in this scenario, and my hunch is that they'd pass on Donald.)
So I had a choice between Lewan and Martin, and it was a tough one. Martin may be the "cleaner" prospect -- as in, the one that comes with fewer red flags. He's also the more versatile -- a guy they can use at tackle or guard or even center as their needs dictate now and in the future, whereas Lewan is a tackle only. But the Giants always talk about taking the best player available, and in my opinion Lewan is the better player, so I took him. If he's great and Will Beatty rebounds and Justin Pugh keeps playing well, they could sort out who plays tackle and who plays guard down the road. Good problem to have, etc.
What I do not know at this point is what the Giants would do in this scenario. I don't know whether they'd take Lewan over Martin or vice-versa. I hope to know more between now and the time they pick Thursday night, but as everyone knows it's tough to know what to believe when people tell you things this time of year.
Regardless, if the No. 12 pick comes around Thursday night and the Giants have a choice between two offensive linemen this good, I believe they'd be thrilled.