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Giants Now (1/22): Daniel Jeremiah releases Mock Draft 1.0, Giants special teams are special, and Senior Bowl festivities are underway


The regular season may be over, but there is still a ton going on around the New York Giants. Here are some of the big stories surrounding the Giants from Wednesday, January 22.

Jeremiah predicts OL to Giants at No. 4

With 93 days to go until the start of the 2020 draft, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah released his first mock draft. While Jeremiah predicts that general manager Dave Gettleman selects an offensive lineman with the No. 4 pick, the former NFL scout introduced a new name into the discussion- Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton.

Regarding the pick, Jeremiah wrote, "Dave Gettleman loves big, physical football players, and they don't get any bigger than Becton (listed at 6-foot-7, 369 pounds). He is a mauler in the run game, and he's shockingly nimble in pass protection."

The Giants have been connected to several different offensive linemen in mock drafts recently. However, Jeremiah is the first to predict that Becton is the pick at No. 4. Andrew Thomas of Georgia and Jedrick Willis of Alabama, as well as Tristan Wirfs of Iowa, have been popular selections among NFL analysts that think the Giants will go o-line in the first round.

Giants special teams comes in at No. 7 on SI's rankings

Rick Gosselin of Sports Illustrated released his 2019 NFL special teams rankings and the Giants finished towards the top of the list at No. 7, right behind the Kansas City Chiefs and ahead of the New York Jets. Gosselin's rankings are based off of 22 different special teams categories, including kickoff returns, punt returns, kickoff coverage and much more.

Here is a look at the top 10 of SI's 2019 special teams rankings:

1)   New Orleans Saints

2)   Cincinnati Bengals

3)   New England Patriots

4)   Washington Redskins

5)   Jacksonville Jaguars

6)   Kansas City Chiefs

7)   New York Giants

8)   New York Jets

9)   Pittsburgh Steelers

10) Detroit Lions

It was announced last week that Thomas McGaughey will be returning to the Giants for his third season as the team's special teams coordinator. In 2019, the Giants' kickoff coverage team led the league by allowing an average return of 18.1 yards. The punt coverage team was tied for fifth as opponents averaged just 5.7 yards a return. Additionally, the Giants ranked fourth and 10th, respectively, in punt (9.8 yards) and kickoff (23.5) return average.

"I've known T-Mac from going against him as well as being in the business and I have a good relationship with him professionally and personally," Head Coach Joe Judge said last week. "I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a person. He gets the most out of his players. I've competed against him and I knew it was always going to be tough sledding in the game there. From the perspective of having to go against him, you understand you don't want to get him out of the building; you want to hold onto guys like that. They're definitely key assets. He and (assistant former coordinator) Tom Quinn do an outstanding job of working together, coaching the players in techniques and coming up with schemes for game plans that allow them to apply pressure on the opponents."

View photos of special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey

Senior Bowl festivities are underway

Senior Bowl week kicked off Tuesday, as players underwent their official weigh-ins before players and coaches met with reporters for Media Day. Matt Patricia and the Lions coaching staff are leading the North Team, while Zac Taylor and the Bengals coaching staff are heading the South Team. When speaking to the media, Patricia was asked about Giants head coach Joe Judge, who he worked with in New England from 2012-2017. The Lions head coach had nothing but praise for his former co-worker.

"Maybe the place I was at before we would have different people that would speak in front of the team or are able to present in different ways," Patricia said. "Joe's obviously someone in the special teams role that presents to the entire team. Offensively and defensively, a lot of times we're just working with our side of the ball, coaching our side of the ball, unless you've cross-trained at all. He, from day one, hits the entire team. So, he's very much so used to being up in front of everybody, commanding the room that way, drawing their interest, their respect, and trying to get players to play better. So, from that aspect, when you see that and you see his natural ability to do that in front of the room, you say, 'Okay, this guy can handle coaching an entire team.'"

Tuesday was the first day of practices for the Senior Bowl, as both teams hit the field to begin preparations for Saturday's all-star game. The two teams practice from Tuesday through Thursday before spending Friday doing community service in the area. In addition, each position group will go through Formal NFL Club Interviews, Informal NFL Club Interviews and NFL Psychological Testing before the end of the week. The game will take place Saturday afternoon.

NFL releases official list of underclassmen eligible for the 2020 draft

The deadline for underclassmen to declare themselves eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft has now passed. The NFL released the official list of 99 players who have been granted special eligibility for the draft, along with 16 players who have fulfilled their degree requirements with college football eligibility still remaining and are also eligible to be drafted this year.

In all, 115 underclassmen have officially declared, including many of the prospects predicted to land in the top 10 of April's draft. Several of the offensive linemen connected to the Giants in mock drafts, including Wills, Thomas and Wirfs, all decided to forego their senior seasons in order to declare for the draft early, as well as versatile linebacker/safety Isaiah Simmons of Clemson.


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