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Experts talk Giants' draft needs in exclusive Combine interviews


NFL Draft experts joined Big Blue Kickoff Live at the NFL Combine to talk Giants needs:

The Giants haven't held the No. 2 overall in the NFL Draft since 1981. That year's selection, Lawrence Taylor, would redefine the linebacker position en route to a Hall of Fame career.

> NFL Combine: What you need to know
> Experts predict Giants draft pick
> What to watch for at the Combine
> Mike Mayock's position rankings
> GM Dave Gettleman press conference

Thirty-seven years later, the Giants find themselves in the No. 2 spot once more. So what will Big Blue do when it's on the clock at April's draft? The annual NFL Scouting Combine, which is up and running from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, will help determine just that. Personnel from all 32 NFL teams have gathered to evaluate the 336 prospects in what amounts to the biggest job interview in sports.

Most mock drafts have the Giants going quarterback or Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. Several NFL Draft experts appeared on Wednesday's Big Blue Kickoff Live show from Indy to break down a few of the potential options.

"I'm a Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold guy," said Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo. "I'm a big Sam Darnold fan. I know he wasn't great at times last year but I think Darnold would be a really good fit there. I just think his high-end play that he showed at such a young age is going to translate to the NFL."

"I'm a Baker Mayfield guy because I think he got pigeon-holed as the short guy without a great arm, but people were nitpicking the wrong stuff. He has all the NFL tools minus height. Everything else he does is outstanding - decision-making, accuracy, accuracy under pressure, and he makes plays inside and outside."

"To me Sam Darnold is the top quarterback this year," added Dane Brugler of "The intangibles and what he's done at such a young age at 20-years-old really checks a lot of the boxes you look for in a young player. His ability to anticipate passing windows, his ability to create outside of structure and that athleticism where he can evade the rush, keep his eyes downfield and still make plays."

As a redshirt freshman, Darnold helped lead University of Southern California to a win in the 2017 Rose Bowl over Penn State. This past season, he threw for 4,143 passing yards and 26 touchdowns while completing 63.1 percent of his passes.

Speaking of Penn State, Barkley, the Heisman Trophy finalist, claims the top spot on many draft experts' big boards. The Bronx native totaled 5,557 all-purpose yards in his three-year collegiate career and was a consensus All-American this past season for the Nittany Lions.

"He's a home-run hitter, and he looks for that home run," said Brugler. "Sometimes he needs to be ok taking singles and doubles instead of looking for the homerun. If you're going to attach some weaknesses to Barkley, it is the running-back specific traits. He's a freak as an athlete. They might name the combine after him by the time we leave. He's going to be really impressive with what he does at that size. He's a better athlete than Ezekiel Elliott was or Todd Gurley."

Down to brass tax. Who will the Giants take with the No. 2 pick?

"I'm, going to go with Bradley Chubb at number two," Brugler said. "I keep going back and forth between quarterback and a position player, but right now I'll lean Chubb as another pass rusher to get after the offense. In the second round I'll go with Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson. No exaggeration, he might be the toughest running back I've ever evaluated just in terms of physical toughness."

"If you take quarterback out of the equation, I'd have to look at Maurice Hurst, the defensive tackle from Michigan," Palozzolo said. "He's an Aaron Donald type. Aaron Donald is a number one overall pick the way he's played on the field. I'm not saying Hurst is Donald, but from a pure PFF production standpoint, he's been at a different level in our four years of grading."

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