Mel Kiper Jr. updates Giants' picks in two-round mock draft
The 2023 NFL Draft kicks off exactly two weeks from tomorrow.
Many draft pundits will update their picks between now and April 27, and the latest to do so is one of the most notable names in the business - ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.
In his first three mock drafts, Kiper predicted the Giants address the wide receiver position at No. 25 in the form of USC WR Jordan Addison (twice) and TCU WR Quentin Johnson.
But in his latest projection, the ESPN draft analyst went away from the offense and instead mocked a speedy cornerback to the Giants in the first round.
Pick for No. 25: DJ Turner, CB, Michigan
Analysis: "I've slotted in wide receivers to the Giants in my previous mock drafts, so let's switch gears and go with another position they could target. They could use a player to challenge Aaron Robinson and Cor'Dale Flott on the other side of Adoree' Jackson. Turner is a hot name in the league right now, largely because scouts and execs went back to the tape after his 4.26-second 40-yard dash at the combine. That was the fourth-fastest time at the combine since 2003. He's in the first-round discussion now. At 5-foot-11, 178 pounds, Turner isn't very big, but he has some versatility -- he played outside and in the slot for the Wolverines. New York ranked 25th in the NFL with 19 takeaways last season."
Turner had a strong senior campaign last year as he finished with 10 passes defensed and an interception while starting 14 games en route to being named Second-Team All-Big Ten by the conference's coaches. As a junior in 2021, the 5-foot-11, 178-pound corner registered two interceptions and seven pass breakups in 13 games and was named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention.
NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein listed Turner's pro comparison as Avonte Maddox.
"Explosive athlete combining fluidity, speed and superior technique to excel at his craft," writes Zierlein. "Turner is scheme-diverse with the ability to line up inside or outside in coverage."
As for the Giants' second-round pick, Kiper predicted the Giants land one of the top centers in the draft.
Pick for No. 57: John Michael Schmitz, IOL, Minnesota
Analysis: "The Giants could be in need of an immediate starter at center, with Nick Gates and Jon Feliciano departing in free agency. Schmitz started 31 games there in college. He is physical in the run game and has good balance in pass protection. He allowed just one sack over the past three seasons."
After redshirting in 2017, Schmitz went on to play five seasons at Minnesota. He saw his first extensive action in 2021 when he started 13 games at center and was named Second-Team All-Big Ten by the conference's coaches after surrendering zero sacks and just five hurries on 317 pass block snaps (according to Pro Football Focus).
The 6-foot-3, 301-pound lineman continued his breakout this past season when he started 12 games and allowed just two sacks and eight total pressures on 302 pass block snaps. He was named First-Team All-American in addition to First-Team All-Big Ten.
Zierlein has Schmitz's pro comparison as 2022 Pro Bowl center Ben Jones.
"Schmitz is a strong, tough and reliable center prospect out of Minnesota," says Daniel Jeremiah, who has Schmitz at No. 48 in his latest top 50 draft prospect rankings. "In the pass game, he plays with knee bend, balance and awareness. He uses his inside hand as an under hook to latch and control blockers. He is rarely out of position or driven back. In the run game, he can latch, sink his weight and create movement... Overall, Schmitz should be a quality starting center as soon as he enters the league."
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