Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
I just spent an hour participating in a live ESPN Radio mock draft in which callers made the selections. The Redskins lucked into former Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo at No. 13, the Eagles took Ohio State running back Chris "Beanie" Wells and the Giants selected Rutgers wide receiver Kenny Britt. I know the Redskins are in love with Orakpo, but it's hard for me to imagine him dropping to 13. I think the Eagles will be tempted to trade down a few spots and take Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew. And I wouldn't have any problem with that. Pettigrew will be a starter in this league for the next 10 years.
The Giants know Britt really well because they've been watching him closely at Rutgers. I read where Peter King called him flaky, but then, have you ever met a wide receiver who's not a bit flaky?
Anyway, Newark Star-Ledger Giants beat man Mike Garafolo, who usually has the pulse of the team, chose Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis with that No. 29 pick. He made the pick for an NFL.com mock draft, and he did so after several wide receivers went off the board. Here's his explanation for taking the middle linebacker.
Laurinaitis seems to be a consistent player, an excellent tackler who doesn't shy away from contact, a "student of the game" (sorry for the cliche) and a guy who simply loves to play footbal. If that's not a description of exactly what you want from a middle linebacker, I don't know what is. And if that's not the description of a Tom Coughlin player, again, somebody needs to point me in another direction.
I also heard Michigan State QB Brian Hoyer on Sirius/XM NFL Radio yesterday saying Laurinaitis is as good as anyone at reading and diagnosing the play, knowing what's coming and putting himself and his teammates in the right spot to make a play. Sound like anybody you know? Anybody that currently wears No. 58 for the Giants?
Look, I don't think Pierce's 2008 season was nearly as bad as many believe. He was highlighted and seemingly exploited by Brian Westbrook on a few plays, but I've spoken at length about those plays being total team breakdowns, not individual mistakes by Pierce. And I also think he did a good job keeping a banged-up defense together. The big problem with the '08 Giants down the stretch was not the defense. No way.
Garafolo goes on to say that Laurinaitis could be an effective backup until Antonio Pierce's career with the Giants ends. But I'm not sure you need to worry about drafting Pierce's replacement in the first round. Especially when you could draft a receiver such as Britt or Hakeem Nicks who could eventually become No. 1 receivers. I know it's a popular theory, but count me among the group that fears the Ohio State linebacker. Just ask the Cowboys and Packers about taking those guys in the first round. Bob Carpenter is a backup in Dallas and A.J. Hawk hasn't really turned into anything special. Anyone remember Andy Katzenmoyer?
Anyone agree with Garafolo's pick? Disagree?