Back for another week of answering your New York Giants questions as the NFL draft approaches.
From Tarik Ammour (via email)
Based on your sources and reporting, can you tell us how the following prospects stack up against one another (ex: McCaffrey > Cunningham > OJ Howard...) on the Giants board? And can you then tell us how these same prospects would stack up on your board?
Look, nobody is showing me the Giants' draft board. I'm just putting the pieces together and taking a crack at this. It's contingent on Jarrad Davis checking out medically.
1. O.J. Howard
2. Christian McCaffrey
3. Cam Robinson
4. Jarrad Davis
5. Zach Cunningham
6. Taco Charlton
Howard is clearly at the top. He's that well-regarded with his ability to block, run and catch passes. The Giants are also high on McCaffrey. He's viewed as an offensive weapon. Robinson has his flaws but is the draft's best offensive lineman. I've been going back and forth between Cunningham and Davis, but I think I'm settling on Davis unless there is something more that comes of his health. He struggled with injuries at Florida but looked like a sure-fire first-round pick at his pro day and on tape. The buzz on Charlton is that he's a good player but doesn't do anything special.
Forget about Joe Mixon. The Giants aren't drafting him, especially after dealing with the Josh Brown situation last season. He's off their board.
Malik McDowell and Dalvin Cook are unlikely first-round picks for the Giants as well. General manager Jerry Reese likes clean prospects early in the draft. McDowell is too much of a boom-or-bust prospect with his inconsistency on the field, and he didn't impress in interviews at the combine. Cook is also too risky (off-the-field issues, health and fumbles) to see as the Giants' selection at 23. So Mixon and McDowell are definitely "no" and while I wouldn't completely rule Cook out, put him in the doubtful category.
The answer is really both. The Giants will add one or more tackles, probably in the draft and in the final wave of free agency. Ereck Flowers is undoubtedly still the favorite to start at left tackle, but the Giants aren't guaranteeing him or anyone a starting spot. They're going to throw whatever offensive linemen are on the roster in a pot this spring and summer and see what comes out. Flowers will, at the very least, need to play a lot better than he did last year to beat out a rookie and/or veteran at left tackle.
This is the question that keeps getting asked, and for good reason. It's April, the draft keeps inching closer and Johnathan Hankins remains unsigned. It's hard to really know where this stands right now. All has been quiet on the Hankins front lately. The Giants have an offer that continues to sit. I would put his chances of returning right now at 60 percent. I don't see anybody else coming with a last-minute offer that blows away what the Giants have on the table. At best, it will be comparable and, from everything I can tell, he wants to return. But really, who knows? The way Hankins' team has played this has been an awkward approach from Day 1.