The draft is a little over a month away and ESPN draft expert Todd McShay has his latest mock draft out. This time, McShay has included second-round projections as well.
The New York Giants select 19th overall and ESPN draft gurus McShay and Mel Kiper have had the Giants pretty much concentrating on offensive line in their mock drafts. Both have the Giants strengthening their interior offensive line by taking Florida’s guard/center Mike Pouncey in their latest mock drafts.
Kiper had the Giants tabbing Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder in last month’s mock draft. In his first mock in January, he had the Giants drafting Pouncey.
Kiper has already explained his stance on why the Giants will go with Pouncey. Here is why McShay thinks the Giants will take Pouncey and who he thinks they will draft in the second round:
New York Giants
Top needs: LB, C/LOG, TE, RB, DT
19. Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida
“The Giants don't have many big needs and taking Pouncey here would provide depth behind Shaun O'Hara, who made the Pro Bowl in 2009 but was nagged by injury all year and is on the downside of his career, and oft-injured LOG Rich Seubert. This might seem a little high for Pouncey but he is clearly the top interior offensive lineman in this class, and I've heard of at least three teams that are considering him in the top 20.”
52. Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois.
Ohm’s take: Pouncey makes a lot of sense for the Giants because their top three centers –- Shaun O’Hara, Rich Seubert and Adam Koets –- are all rebounding from surgeries.
O’Hara had surgery on his foot and is scheduled to have another procedure to clean out his ankle and Achilles. Seubert is recovering from surgery on a dislocated kneecap while Koets had ACL surgery last year.
O’Hara said he fully expects to be ready for training camp whenever that may be. Koets is also expected to make a full recovery in time for the season opener. Seubert has an arduous rehab and could be back in time by the first game of the season.
The Giants can cover themselves for the present and future by adding Pouncey, the consensus best center/guard in the draft. While the Giants’ biggest need is linebacker, the greatest value at 19 appears to be an offensive lineman with several tackles available in that range.
There are plenty of defensive linemen available in the first round as well so you can never discount them taking another defensive lineman again. But considering how they used their first two picks last year on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and defensive tackle Linval Joseph, the Giants might strengthen their offensive line this time around.
As for Leshoure, the running back's stock has been rising and he is considered by Kiper to be the second-best every-down running back behind Alabama’s Mark Ingram.
The Giants arguably have a greater need at linebacker and even cornerback. Kiper says there are plenty of corners that will start going off the board in the second round. And there are 4-3 linebackers available after the first round as well.
But they do have to re-sign Ahmad Bradshaw. While the Giants are expected to bring Bradshaw back, Leshoure would provide insurance in case the Giants were unable to re-sign Bradshaw.
Drafting Leshoure would also cast uncertainty around Brandon Jacobs’ future. Jacobs has two years remaining on his contract and is slated to earn $4.65 million in 2011 and $4.9 million in 2012.
Already uncertain about his future since the Giants want to re-sign Bradshaw, Jacobs has mentioned that he would consider taking a paycut to remain a Giant as long as it were fair to him.
Adding Leshoure, though, would give the Giants another potential Earth, Wind, and Fire combination should they bring back Bradshaw and Jacobs in that scenario.
Tell us what you think about the Giants drafting Pouncey and Leshoure and who you think the Giants should take by leaving a comment below.