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Mel Kiper Jr. predicts Giants' pick in new mock draft


*Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. has released his newest Mock Draft: *

The Giants just locked up Jason Pierre-Paul for the long term, but don't count out the possibility of the team taking a defensive end in the first round next month.

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On Wednesday, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his third mock draft and projected edge rusher Derek Barnett of Tennessee to Big Blue at No. 23. The 6-foot-3, 259-pound Volunteer set the school's all-time career sacks record at 33.0, breaking the previous mark of 32.0 held by the legendary Reggie White. Barnett also recorded 52.0 career tackles for loss, second most in school history.

"The Giants' 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl teams featured a fearsome pass-rushing rotation, and this would be an attempt to build out that rotation again," Kiper said. "Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon are entrenched as starters -- and they have the big-money deals to show for it -- but they played too many snaps last season. Vernon had more than 1,000, and Pierre-Paul was on his way before a groin injury ended his season in December. Barnett had 33 sacks in three seasons for the Volunteers, and he's an all-around 4-3 end at 6-3, 259 pounds."

This is the second consecutive mock draft that Kiper slated Barnett to the Giants. In his first mock draft, he chose offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk of Wisconsin.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock unveils the second position-by-position rankings for the 2017 NFL Draft.

Here's a look at other mock drafts that are currently circulating:

Bucky Brooks, (3/20)
Pick: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
**Analysis:** "Giants add a rugged blocker who is capable of keeping Eli Manning upright in the pocket."

Will Brinson, CBS Sports (3/16)
Pick: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
**Analysis**: "Eli Manning was under siege for a lot of the 2016 season and the Giants need to get more protection for him up front. That can start with the draft."

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports (3/16)
Pick: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
**Analysis**: "They need help up front in the worst way. Bolles can play left tackle and they could move Ereck Flowers to the right side."

Todd McShay, ESPN (3/15)
Pick: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
**Analysis:** "With Eli Manning turning 36, don't be surprised if the Giants draft a QB at some point in this draft. But that's more likely to come in the middle rounds. Ramczyk is dealing with a hip injury, so the medical recheck in April will factor into where he's selected. But if everything comes up good, Ramczyk has the length and mirroring ability to finally answer the Giants' problems at left tackle."

Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated (3/15)
Pick: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
**Analysis**: "My guess is, when all is said and done, at least one OT sneaks into the top 15—maybe even top 10. Robinson has franchise LT upside and a starting guard/RT baseline."

Dane Brugler, (3/13)
Pick: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
**Analysis**: "The Giants have been able to find bargain-bin tight ends in recent draft classes, but the value of Howard at this point in the draft might be too enticing to pass up."

Daniel Jeremiah, (3/13)
Pick: Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple
**Analysis**: "Reddick has the ability to play any of the three linebacker spots and he can provide some pass rush off the edge if needed."

Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus (3/14)
Pick: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
**Analysis**: "This move is all about loading up on playmakers for the Giants' offense. They already brought in former Jets WR Brandon Marshall to pair with Odell Beckham, Jr. and Sterling Shepard, and Howard adds a middle-of-the-field complement to the strong receiving corps. Howard wasn't used often in the passing game at Alabama, but has the size and speed to stretch the seam; he averaged 7.1 yards after the catch per reception over the last three seasons."

Rob Rang, The Sports Xchange (3/13)
Pick: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
**Analysis**: "The Giants rushed for a miniscule 3.5 yards per carry in 2016 and scored a league-low six touchdowns on the ground and (their) tackles struggled with speed rushers. Adding former first-round pick D.J. Fluker helps at guard, but if a gifted left tackle like Ramczyk was still on the board, incumbent starting blindside blocker Ereck Flowers could be moved to his more natural right side, potentially improving three positions immediately."

Charlie Casserly, (3/7)
Pick: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin (Projected trade up with Titans to No. 18 pick)
**Analysis**: "The Giants get the left tackle they desperately need."

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