Finishing 7-9 after a disastrous start is commendable, but it doesn't change the fact that the New York Giants need to make significant changes during the offseason. A must for the team is a good, preferably great, 2014 NFL Draft class. What was the case back in November remains true for Big Blue: They could eye one of about four different positions when utilizing their first round pick and be right.
2014 New York Giants NFL mock drafts (January 2): Walter Football
Pick: DE/LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo: Mack's ability to rush the passer and to force turnovers has had him linked with the Giants in mock drafts since early last fall. The front line of the New York defense was, in 2013, a shell of those former great units that helped the team win two Super Bowls in under five years. Some are wondering if Jason Pierre-Paul has already had his best days pass him by, and Justin Tuck may not even be with the Giants next fall.
Defense wins championships. The Giants know that as well as does any other team in the NFL. Mack is the type of player who has, in the past, caught the eye of New York general manager Jerry Reese. If he is still available, don't be shocked if Mack is holding up a Giants jersey on draft day.
2014 New York Giants NFL mock drafts (January 2): Matt Miller
Pick: LB Anthony Barr, UCLA: The NFL Draft expert over at Bleacher Report sees the Giants benefiting from what he envisions will be an early run of quarterbacks taken in the top ten. Multiple mock drafts I've seen in the past couple of months had Barr going early, however, so he may not even be an option when New York is called to the podium.
Barr is, on paper, a safer and more dynamic pick than is Mack. He is deceptively quick at 6-4 and 248 pounds. Former NFL linebacker and current UCLA linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich recently referred to the Barr as being a future “perennial All-Pro.” He would be a perfect fit into the current defense of the Giants.
2014 New York Giants NFL mock drafts (January 2): Todd Salem
Pick: CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State: The Giants thinking secondary with the 12th overall pick is very realistic. New York is already lacking depth at defensive back, and that's said without considering that both Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas could leave the club this winter.
NFLDraftScout.com has Dennard as the number one player at his position in the upcoming draft. If, as some have predicted, up to five quarterbacks are selected before the Giants pick, the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award winner could fall to New York. I'm not sure that the Giants would be able to pass on him.
2014 New York Giants NFL mock drafts (January 2): Rob Rang
Pick: OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M: The Giants need to essentially blow up most of the team's offensive line start from scratch. That doesn't mean that I endorse this pick. Ogbuehi is, as explained by Rang, believed by some to have more of an upside when it comes to the NFL than does teammate Jake Matthews, who could, according to Rang, go as high as fourth overall.
I don't see it, as least I don't yet.
Rang is thus far the only person that I have seen predict that Ogbuehi will be taken with such a high pick. Most of the mock drafts I've read have the OT going in the mid to late 20s. Unless Ogbuehi puts up monster numbers at the combine, this could be a reach for the Giants at 12.
2014 New York Giants NFL mock drafts (January 2): Dane Brugler
Pick: TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina: New York could use the upgrade at the tight end position. Assuming that Brugler is accurate with his predictions for picks 1-11, though, the Giants taking Ebron is, right now today, puzzling. Such a hypothetical world would involve the Giants passing on OT Greg Robinson from Auburn, DT Louis Nix out of Notre Dame and Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
Going TE with pick No. 12 is not in the DNA of the New York front office. Several guys would have to be off the board in order for the team to even consider Ebron here.