John Fennelly, Lead Writer
The Giants are selecting 12th overall in the upcoming NFL Draft, and who they choose, naturally, depends on who is available when their turn comes. That will be somewhere around 9:20-9:30 on Friday, May 8th if all goes well.
The eleven teams selecting in front of the Giants is bound to change, either in order of selection or teams. The Rams, who possess the second overall pick, are always looking to trade out. The Falcons are at No. 6 and want to get into the top three very badly. The 49ers don’t pick until 30th, but then have five selections in the next 70.
The two most coveted players in this draft are DE Jadeveon Clowney and LB Khalil Mack. The Houston Texans draft first and they have several options: take Clowney and keep him; take Clowney and trade him, or simply trade out. It would be foolish to pass on Clowney altogether and take Mack or a QB. San Francisco will be dangling a nice booty of picks in front of GM Rick Smith’s face. SF is looking at a season without top defenders Navorro Bowman and Aldon Smith and want either Clowney or Mack.
The Rams will be seeking to move down. They have the 13th overall pick, too, so they’re still in a good position. The 49ers will still want to move up, but there is no way in hell the Rams will give them this pick. If by some chance no deal is struck, they will take Mack and try to shop him to a team other than SF. If Clowney is still available, their options obviously change.
Jacksonville will likely stay put and choose from the rest of the pool. They will get value with either OT Greg Robinson or WR Sammy Watkins. There will be several QBs still available when they select in Round Two. The Niners may be calling them on draft night as well.
Cleveland will likely not be foolish here and take QB Derek Carr as rumored. They will, at the least, end up with either Watkins or Robinson but could still trade with San Francisco for a package of picks and then take their QB later with the 26th pick.
Rumors are flying that the Raiders could take Taylor Lewan at No. 5. Then again, if Watkins is there, all bets are off. They also probably not pick up the phone when SF GM Trent Baalke calls. A trade with the local rival 49ers would be an infamnia.
In reality, the Falcons probably don’t have the pieces to lure the top picks away from Houston and St. Louis, but that won’t prevent GM Thomas Dimitroff from giving it a go. The likely scenario is they take the BPA at this spot which could be Robinson or Jake Matthews.
Tampa Bay is not expected to move up and could take a QB right here. Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles we’ve heard.
The Vikings want a QB as well and may trade up ahead of Tampa to get one. The vibe is they can go for a defender here and pick up LSU QB Zach Mettenberger in the second or third round.
Buffalo, at No. 9, can go in several directions. If one of the big three OTs are there, they could bite. TE Eric Ebron and WR Mike Evans are also possibilities. GM Doug Whaley has ruled nothing out, including moving up in the order. Word is they like Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller, but this may be too high in the draft to take him.
At 10, the Lions are on the apron of trading up or back. If they realistically believe they can make a play for Watkins, they’ll give it a shot. If they cant, Evans could go here to bookend Megatron to create a very scary scenario for opponents. They will also entertain any takers for DT Ndamakong Suh, who they may not be able to sign to an extension before the draft. If they trade Suh, Aaron Donald could be the pick.
The Titans are an enigma at 11. What they do will directly impact the Giants, who select directly after them. Many mockers have them looking for a pass rusher or a CB right here and taking a QB in one of the next two rounds. Perhaps DE/OLB Anthony Barr or Justin Gilbert is the pick here with a QB (AJ McCarron or Zach Mettenberger?) getting selected Day Two.
The Giants will be looking at about half-dozen realistic possibilities at the No. 12 spot. I don’t see them taking a TE until the middle rounds, so cross out Eric Ebron. Evans, Donald, Lewan and Matthews will likely be gone, too. If a team wants to move up, the Giants should consider, as long as they get a first and second rounder. SF has three of those, so the Giants could bite on a trade with them. Should they stay put, my preference would be S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, if he’s there.
Will Hill is probably gone, Stevie Brown has yet to prove his knee is reliable and Antrel Rolle is in the final year of his contract. Safety is a need and HCD is a value pick at this spot.