Todd McShay's first 2014 mock draft is out, and if you have an Insider subscription you can read the whole thing. If you don't... well, you should. Go sign up. You know want to read a mock draft on Dec. 18. Don't pretend you don't.
Anyway, I am authorized to tell you that McShay is projecting Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley to the Giants at the No. 11 pick, which is the pick they would hold if the season were to end right now. Since I think you already know what I'm going to say about this, I'll first offer a bit of Todd's explanation:
The Giants have drafted just two linebackers in the first round since 1980 (Carl Banks and Lawrence Taylor -- I'm not sure why they stopped after those two), but Mosley is worthy of the pick. He's an every-down linebacker who excels in the passing game. His medical history might be a concern (dislocated elbow, dislocated hip, shoulder surgery), but if he checks out he's a good pick here. He has great instincts, good burst as a pass-rusher and can defend receivers one-on-one and cover a lot of ground in the zone.
Thing is, I am sure why they stopped drafting first-round linebackers after Banks in 1984. In the salary-cap era, teams have to set priorities and determine which positions merit the expenditure of significant resources (meaning free-agent dollars and high draft picks) and which do not. The Giants do not believe that linebacker is a position that merits such an expenditure. In an increasingly pass-happy league in which they and other base 4-3 teams are in a nickel defense more often than not (and therefore only need two linebackers and not three), it just doesn't make any sense to use a first-round pick on a linebacker instead of something like a wide receiver or a defensive back or a pass-rusher.
So I don't think there's any chance at all that Mosley is the Giants' first-round pick in 2014. None. I personally think they need to look offensive line in the first round, and Todd acknowledges this as well. He says the reason he didn't hand the Giants a lineman is because he feels their more significant line needs are on the interior and that it doesn't make sense to draft a guard or center as high as 11. And he's right, but I'd take a tackle to increase my overall quality depth and allow me the freedom to move Justin Pugh inside, where I think he could be a dominant player.
But that's me, and until last year the Giants had gone 13 years without drafting an offensive lineman in the first round. They don't buck trends easily around East Rutherford.