- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have released their newest mock drafts and there’s one slight change. The ESPN NFL draft experts had Florida center/guard Mike Pouncey as their choice at 19 for the Giants in their previous mock drafts.
Here are their takes this week with picks for the first three rounds:
Kiper: 19. Mike Pouncey, OL, Florida
“I don't think Pouncey is quite as versatile as his brother, who was taken at No. 18 overall last year and became a Pro Bowl player in his first year with the Steelers. But Mike offers a very similar skill set. He can play guard or center, gets to the second level very well and should help the Giants in the running game. I'd slot him in at guard to start and only look for help at center in a backup role, but he's easily the top interior lineman in the draft.”
McShay: 19. Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
“The ideal scenario for the Giants is Pouncey falling to them, and trading back is also a possibility if the right player is not available. Their biggest need is for a difference maker at linebacker and (Mark) Ingram could also be in play, but with no impact linebacker available the best offensive lineman on the board would be the best option. Castonzo could play inside at guard as a rookie and then kick out to tackle, or the Giants could plug him in at tackle immediately and shuffle their existing personnel. Either way, Castonzo has the ability to be a quality starter for the next decade and the Giants would do well to start addressing the future of their offensive line.”
Kiper: 52. Quan Sturdivant, LB, North Carolina
McShay: 52. Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
Kiper: 83. Terrell McClain, DT, South Florida
McShay: 83. McClain, DT, South Florida
OHM’s take: McShay has Pouncey going 15th overall to the Dolphins, who would be passing up on Alabama running back Mark Ingram.
If that were the case, the Giants would have to think about Ingram if he were available at 19 with Ahmad Bradshaw potentially becoming a free agent. Even if they re-sign Bradshaw as expected, the Giants can start thinking about the future at running back. Brandon Jacobs is under contract for two more seasons but trying to keep both Jacobs and Bradshaw could be too expensive.
Of course, if Ingram’s knee scares teams away, the Giants’ best value at 19 may be offensive line. There are plenty of defensive linemen available and of value at 19 and I would never discount Jerry Reese from taking a defensive lineman in the first round. In McShay’s mock, he has the Giants passing on Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers, a defensive end who has top-10 talent but is also a medical risk.
With free agency likely coming after the draft and uncertainty surrounding free agents and restricted free agents, the Giants have to protect themselves with offensive linemen Shaun O’Hara, Rich Seubert and Adam Koets all rebounding from surgeries. That doesn’t include Shawn Andrews, who had back issues last year.
Pouncey would give the Giants a center for the future and one who can start there or at left guard in case O’Hara and Seubert are not physically ready for the season. Pouncey, though, tweeted that he would be shocked if he weren’t a Cowboy after he visited Dallas. The Cowboys draft ninth overall and that would be a lot higher than most mock drafts have Pouncey going.
Castonzo is on the Giants' radar as offensive line coach Pat Flaherty ran Castonzo through drills at Boston College’s Pro Day.
Both Pouncey and Castonzo make sense for the Giants and fill a need. The Giants’ other greatest need is at linebacker and Kiper has the Giants drafting a linebacker in Sturdivant in the second round. McShay has the Giants going with Williams, the Virginia Tech running back who could be one of the top three backs in the draft. McShay had the Giants drafting Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure in his previous mock draft.
And in the third round, it’s interesting that both Kiper and McShay have the Giants drafting McClain, the defensive tackle who was Jason Pierre-Paul’s teammate at South Florida. McClain would certainly provide insurance in case the Giants don’t re-sign Barry Cofield, who said he will consider asking for a trade if he doesn’t receive a contract extension and has to play for a restricted free agent tender.
So what do you guys think of the latest mock drafts? Tell us below.
3dMorty Ain and Stevland Wilson