Amari Cooper will be the pick if he makes it this far, but I'm beginning to think that's unlikely. Thus, the Giants will look at a more-pressing need with a slightly lesser talent.
Brandon Scherff makes a ton of sense. New York has had issues protecting Eli Manning the past few seasons, and its most-glaring hole is on the interior. Brandon Scherff, seen by many as this year's Zack Martin, would be a massive upgrade.
*** OTHER 2015 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Ereck Flowers, OT - It's a close call between Scherff and Flowers. The former is the better prospect, but Flowers provides more upside in terms of being able to play left tackle down the road.
2. Trade Up - The Giants have an extra pick in this draft, so they can afford to move up and grab a prospect who falls. Possibilities include Dante Fowler, Amari Cooper and Vic Beasley.
Rd. 2, Pk. 8
Malcom Brown, DT/3-4DE/NT, Texas
I had Malcom Brown too high last time, but he's too low in this update. However, players can slip, and that's what is happening to Brown here. The Giants will be happy to scoop him up, as they have a need at defensive tackle. Johnathan Hankins was a stud this past season, but he had very little help next to him. Mike Patterson looked done, so the Giants will have to address this position via the draft.
Rd. 3, Pk. 10
Nate Orchard, DE/OLB, Utah
General manager Jerry Reese is looking for pass-rushers. He tried to sign Brandon Graham a month ago, so he may take a defensive end in the first couple of rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Rd. 4, Pk. 9
Durell Eskridge, S, Syracuse
New York's top three safeties all had expiring contracts. Antrel Rolle signed with the Bears, so a replacement is needed for him.
Rd. 5, Pk. 8
Deontay Greenberry, WR, Houston
Victor Cruz is coming off a brutal knee injury and may never be the same again. The Giants will probably take a receiver at some point as a consequence.
I'm torn between projecting Brandon Scherff and Ereck Flowers. I'm going with Flowers because he has the ability to play right or left tackle for the Giants while Scherff has to be a guard. The Giants already have to move Justin Pugh to the inside, so having two first-round picks invested in guards doesn't make a lot of sense. Flowers told us that he was visiting the Giants , so the interest is there.
Flowers has an excellent combination of size, strength, quickness and athleticism. The 6-foot-6, 329-pounder didn't get a lot of publicity at Miami, but has become something of a hot prospect. Flowers played extremely well in 2014. After missing a few games because of a torn meniscus, he came back in impressive fashion against Florida State. Flowers also had an impressive game against Nebraska taking on Randy Gregory. For the year, Flowers was a very consistent run-blocker for Duke Johnson and pass-protector. Flowers is shockingly fast and agile for such a big and strong blocker who can bully defensive linemen.
In 2013 as a sophomore, Flowers took the left tackle job from Seantrel Henderson and had a fabulous debut for Miami. In his true freshman season, Flowers was a backup who started four games.
Rd. 2, Pk. 8
Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State
New York lost Antrel Rolle and could use more talent at safety.
Randall (5-11, 196) had a strong senior season with 101 tackles with three interceptions, eight passes broken up, two forced fumbles, 9.5 tackles for a loss and a sack. He was a big presence for the Sun Devils' defense and stayed around the ball. Randall could have some free safety potential for the NFL, and he had a quality week at the Senior Bowl. As a junior, Randall recorded 71 tackles with three passes broken up and three interceptions.
Rd. 3, Pk. 10
Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson
The Giants could use some interior defensive line depth and grab an understudy for Cullen Jenkins.
The 6-foot, 288-pound Jarrett had 43 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 2014. He totaled 83 tackles with 11 for a loss, two sacks and 14 quarterback pressures the year before. In 2012, Jarrett had 49 tackles with two sacks.
The senior is quick at the point off attack, but could use some strength for the NFL. He had a good week of practice at the Senior Bowl, but is undersized and really only fits a 4-3 scheme.
Rd. 4, Pk. 9
Akeem Hunt, RB, Purdue
The Giants want a fast change-of-pace back црщ can contribute in the receiving game. Hunt is a perfect fit and New York loves him according to sources.
The senior averaged 5.5 yards per carry as he totaled 949 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught 48 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns. The speedy Hunt (5-9, 189) has generated a lot of buzz behind the scenes. He is a natural receiver and returner and could go much higher than expected.
The Giants lacked any sort of dominance in the trenches last season and selecting Scherff would be a great first step in changing that. He played left tackle in college, but many have questioned his size. He looks like he’ll play guard at the next level. While this is a high selection for a guard, Scherff’s abilities aren’t in question. He’s one of the strongest players in the class and he uses that to his advantage while run blocking. He’s relentless and aggressive when paving lanes for runners. His pass blocking isn’t a standout quality, but it gets the job done. Scherff would be a great immediate presence for the Giants. If coached right, he could turn into a premium NFL guard.
ODB and Cruz are gonna be a wicked duo in the Giants receiving game. The only problem is Eli Manning is gonna need time to get them the ball, and that's something he has not had in years. Peat, who in my opinion is the best OL in the draft, will certainly help that. He has a massive lower body and powerful upper, Highly intelligible when it comes to knowing blocking schemes and can dominate D-Lineman.
With Thompson gone, the Giants pick the next best player available, as they always seem to do. Veteran Stevie Brown won't be back next season, and Antrel Rolle is also in jeopardy depending on how negotiations play out. Safety is not a popular pick for the Giants right now, but with only Taylor Cooper certainly on the roster for 2015, it probably will be as draft season nears.
Previously: Shaq Thompson
Ray looks like a sure thing at 4-3 right end. Even though he's a bit small for the position, he was productive at Missouri rushing the passer, stopping the run, and even dropping into coverage, which really surprised me. Ray looked great dropping back and moving laterally to the outside. That's not something any other 4-3 end prospect is going to bring to the table.
Previously: Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska