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Make the Case: What to do in Round 2

epenesa-vs-jackson

"Make the Case" is in session on Giants.com.

In this series, we look at projections provided by two analysts and then ask you, the fans, to weigh in on what the Giants should do in the draft. This week, the debate is on what the Giants should do in the second round.

Mel Kiper Jr. (ESPN) projected USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson to the Giants in the second round (No. 36 overall) after picking Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons in the first round: "I wrote earlier that the Giants needed to take an offensive tackle early, and Jackson could fall into their lap at No. 36. He played 1,680 straight snaps at left tackle for the Trojans over the last two seasons, but he is still a developmental project in my eyes. He'll take some time to adjust, but he could be New York's long-term starter at either tackle spot."

Jackson, 6-foot-5 and 322 pounds, appeared in 39 games with 25 starts for the Trojans. In 2019, he started all 13 games for his second season at left tackle as a junior. Jackson made the 2019 All-Pac-12 first team and won USC's Chris Carlisle Courage Award.

His grandfather, Melvin Jackson, played on the Trojans' 1974 national championship team and in 1975 he won the team's Lineman of the Year Award. Melvin Jackson then played five years (1976-80) in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers after being their 12th-round pick in the 1976 Draft.

View photos of USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson.

Dane Brugler (The Athletic) went with Iowa edge rusher A.J. Epenesa in the second round and fellow Hawkeye Tristan Wirfs, an offensive tackle, with the fourth overall pick: "No Power 5 pass rusher had as many sacks as Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa from November through the bowl season. The 6-foot-5 1/8, 275-pound Epenesa produced eight of his 11.5 sacks over the Hawkeyes' final five games. Epenesa bullied Minnesota for 2.5, including one late on the Gophers' final offensive series, in a 23-19 win. In one of the season's top performances by any defender, Epenesa compiled 14 tackles, including five for loss, and two sacks in a win at Nebraska. In two of his final three games, Epenesa was named the Big Ten's defensive player of the week."

In his final college game, Epenesa was named the Holiday Bowl Defensive Most Valuable Player. He was also one of five finalists for the Polynesian Player of the Year and earned first-team All-America honors by The Athletic. He picked up second-team All-America accolades by Walter Camp Foundation, The Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association. He was first-team All-Big Ten by league coaches and media. Prior to his final season, Epenesa led the Big Ten and ranked 12th nationally in sacks (10.5) in 2018.

View photos from the college career of Iowa EDGE A.J. Epenesa

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