John Fennelly, Lead Writer
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes the Giants will select Florida State DT Timmy Jernigan with the 12th overall selection:
“Given the departures of Justin Tuck and Linval Joseph, the Giants need to restore some bite to a defensive line that didn’t necessarily carry them to a pair of Super Bowl appearances, but helped deliver victory once they got there.”
Jernigan (6’2″, 300) is considered the No. 2 overall DT in the draft, behind Pitt’s Aaron Donald, who Florio believes will be gone by the time the Giants select.
Florio is under the impression the Houston Texans will select South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall selection. The rest of his early mock draft is as follows:
2. St. Louis – WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
3. Jacksonville – QB Johhny Manziel, Texas A&M
4. Cleveland – QB Derek Carr, Fresno State
5. Oakland – OL Greg Robinson, Auburn
6. Atlanta – LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
7. Tampa Bay – WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
8. Minnesota – QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida
9. Buffalo – OL Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
10. Detroit – DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
11. Tennessee – QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
The Giants would then select Jernigan at 12, bypassing popular picks such as Michigan OT Taylor Lewan (who Florio has going to Baltimore at 17) and North Carolina TE Eric Ebron, who Florio has mocked to the Jets at 18.
Personally, I would be comfortable with this selection although it does not address the club’s more pressing needs such as OT and TE. Drafting Lewan would put a lot of Giant fans’ anxieties to rest and taking Ebron would give the Giants some much-needed dynamism in their suddenly stale passing attack.
Although I believe Donald is the more ideal candidate for the Giants, Jernigan would provide the Giants with a surging presence in the middle of the defensive line. He has all the tools to become a top DT in the NFL. He is versatile, quick and will only get stronger as he matures. Jernigan is coming out of FSU a year early, and his final showing vs Auburn in the National Championship game was extremely impressive. His combine performance has scouts talking about Jernigan as a player on the rise.