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MOCK DRAFTS! New predictions after trade shakes up order


Experts make their predictions for the Giants' first round draft choice:

In the midst of free agency, there was a shakeup at the top of the draft order.

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The New York Jets acquired the No. 3 overall selection on Saturday, moving up three spots in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts. In return, the Colts received the Jets' No. 6 pick, two second-round picks this year and a 2019 second-round selection.

So what does it all mean for the New York Giants at No. 2?

It means they have options, from drafting Eli Manning's heir apparent for the future to giving him more weapons and protection right now. analyst Bucky Brooks thinks they should do the latter. The former NFL player and scout projected Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson for the Giants in his latest mock draft following the recent shakeup in the top three.

"New GM Dave Gettleman is all about the "hog mollies" (big guys)," Brooks wrote, "so he could bypass a quarterback of the future and a dynamic runner to add a Pro Bowl-caliber interior blocker to the roster."

Drafting Nelson would certainly line up with what Gettleman set out to do when he took over in late December, and that is to shore up the offensive line.

In the first wave of free agency, he signed two-time Super Bowl champion left tackle Nate Solder of the Patriots, a move that will have Ereck Flowers competing for the tackle job on the right side. The Giants also brought in ex-Jaguar Patrick Omameh, who has played in 53 regular-season games with 44 starts for three different teams in his career. He has started 24 games at right guard, 20 at left guard, and one as an extra tackle.

Meanwhile, Nelson has emerged as one of the top prospects in this year's draft, another sign of the growing value of interior offensive linemen. The New Jersey native turned heads, including former Giants Super Bowl champion center and current NFL Network analyst Shaun O'Hara's, last month at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

"He's a true O-lineman," O’Hara told after watching the offensive linemen work out at Lucas Oil Stadium. "He cares about one thing – just being the best at his craft. He wants to impose his will, and that shows up on film. The guy looks for work. He wants to suffocate the guy he's trying to block. He just wants to completely eliminate him. I love that. That's the kind of guy you want to play next to and the kind you want to play with. I think his physical attributes and what he does on the field are phenomenal – that's a huge talent – but I also think the type of player he is is almost as important and the culture that he's going to bring and the competition he is going to bring. He's going to make an offensive line group and an offense better just because of the work ethic, the mindset."

O'Hara added: "He reminds me a lot of Chris Snee. Chris was a really quiet kid coming in, powerful as heck. He should have been a first-round guy. Quenton kind of reminds me of that. The way that he plays with brute force is fun to watch. He's not a glitz and glamor guy like Mike McGlinchey (one of the top-rated offensive tackles who played next to Nelson at Notre Dame) – they call him the mayor. Quenton is 'just tell me when it's my turn to kick ass.'"

As for the rest of the new top five, Brooks had USC quarterback Sam Darnold going first overall to the Browns, with the Jets taking UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen with their newly acquired pick. Penn State running back Saquon Barkley also went to the Browns at No. 4, and Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward at No. 5 to the Broncos, who recently signed free-agent quarterback Case Keenum.

"The Jets mortgage the farm to get their quarterback of the future," Brooks wrote. "Rosen is an ideal fit as a classic pocket passer with a high football IQ and a polished game."

Here is a look at more post-trade mock drafts:

Pick: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Analysis: "With new decision-makers (general manager and head coach) in New York, there is a favorable chance this pick will be a quarterback or traded. But if this regime truly believes in Eli Manning as "the guy" for the next few seasons, Barkley and his impact would aid the quarterback more than anyone else at this selection."

Pick: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Analysis: "The Giants ranked 31st in the NFL a year ago in scoring offense with just 15.4 points per game. It is easy to imagine that number jumping considerably with Barkley joining Odell Beckham, Jr. and Evan Engram to give Eli Manning the best set of weapons in the NFC East. Given the haul the Colts received in the Jets' aggressive trade up, do not be surprised if the Giants ultimately trade out of this pick to satisfy another QB-desperate team."

Pick: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Analysis: "The Jets' trade set the G-Men up to take home a potential king's ransom if they can find their own QB-hungry trade partner. But if Barkley's on the board, this might be a no-brainer for new GM Dave Gettleman. Barkley is poised to become the highest running back drafted since Reggie Bush went No. 2 in 2006, and with good reason. Capable of reshaping an offense, the do-everything back might be just what first-year coach Pat Shurmur needs to launch his attack. Yet if Darnold is available, New York needs to at least listen to trade offers — as well as consider taking him as Eli Manning's potential successor."

Pick: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Analysis: "GM Dave Gettleman would be open to a trade down, but he's not taking less than what the Colts got to slide back three spots, and that compensation package ultimately doesn't come his way. He picks Barkley to take pressure off Eli Manning and Odell Beckham as well as to give his ground game an ultra-talented ball-carrier."

Pick (projected trade down to No. 9): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Analysis: "If the 49ers have a shot at a guy like [N.C. State defensive end Bradley] Chubb, Nelson or [FSU safety Derwin] James, I think they keep this pick. But with all off the board, they move down with the Giants, who jump ahead of the Dolphins to get their QB of the future in Mayfield, a guy they've scouted heavily. In this mock trade, I have the Giants surrendering the second-rounder they got from Buffalo (No. 56), while also receiving San Francisco's original third-rounder (No. 74). That's a valuable move up for John Lynch, who then has three picks in the top 60."

Pick: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
Analysis: "The Giants could get a king's ransom to trade out of this spot—or take Saquon Barkley or Quenton Nelson—but the chance to draft and develop a top-tier passer like Rosen as the heir to Eli Manning is too enticing. The UCLA product excels in the pocket and can attack all three levels of the field. He would give the team's new front office and coaching staff the chance for a seamless transition away from the 37-year-old Manning, whether that happens in 2019 or 2020."

Pick: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Analysis: "Eli Manning is the Giants' quarterback in 2018. My guess is the team will move on after next season so their young star can lead the franchise for the next 12-15 years."

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