Mel Kiper Jr.'s third mock draft of the offseason is out, and once again he has an offensive lineman going to the New York Giants at No. 9. But this time it's Stanford's Andrus Peat instead of Iowa's Brandon Scherff, and I'm intrigued by the change because I think there's a big difference in the kind of pick that would be for the Giants.
Scherff is the offensive lineman you take if you're the Giants and you want a guy who can start right away at guard or possibly right tackle (if you want to move Justin Pugh to guard). If you're looking at what Dallas did last season with first-rounder Zack Martin and you want some of that All-Pro goodness, Scherff is where you're putting your chips.
But if you have the No. 9 pick and you want to make sure you use it on a player who can become a franchise cornerstone at a position of significant value, Peat makes more sense. He might not be the run-blocking mauler Scherff is, but the Giants can probably find that in free agency, whether it's a guard or a right tackle. Peat is an upside guy. If he starts at right tackle as a rookie, he's not likely to be a liability in pass protection, and he's the kind of guy who could potentially develop into a franchise left tackle once they're done with Will Beatty. And if that's the case, then he feels a lot more like a top 10 pick than a guy like Scherff, who might always be an NFL guard.
Part of me still finds it hard to believe Jerry Reese takes an offensive lineman at No. 9 if guys like Amari Cooper, Trae Waynes, Danny Shelton, DeVante Parker, and Arik Armstead are still on the board at No. 9, as they are in Mel's mock. Reese loves those electric playmakers, and though committing another high-end resource to wide receiver doesn't seem like a great roster-management decision, the Giants aren't picking No. 9 because they have been shrewd roster-managers over the past half-decade. When push comes to shove, I still think Reese is the kind of GM who falls in love with the flash in the first round instead of making the duller, more sensible pick.
But if the Giants are thinking about a long-term foundation on the offensive line -- as they absolutely should be -- then Peat would be a fine choice at No. 9.