Mel Kiper Goes on the Defense for Giants

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has gone on the defense for the New York Giants in his latest mock draft, which dropped just before the start of the combine, selecting Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux at No. 5 and Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd for Big Blue.These choices appear to have been made after Kiper had the top two offensive tackles, North Carolinas Ikem Ekwonu and Alabamas Evan Neal, going off the board before the Giants first pick. Kipers thinking would appear to align with that of NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiahs when he said that if those two tackles were off the board, he wouldnt want to see the Giants force an offensive lineman at No. 5.Of Thibodeaux, :If the draft plays out like this and both of the top offensive tackles are off the board before the Giants pick, taking a defender makes the most sense. And if Thibodeaux is available Terry Steinbach Jersey , he’d be a perfect fit for a New York defense that needs to pair a true edge rusher with rookie Azeez Ojulari, who led the team with eight sacks last season. Thibodeaux has to improve his all-around game, but he has outstanding physical tools as a pa s-rusher. He had seven sacks last season and put up the second-best pre sure rate in the country (17.8%). If he comes close to his ceiling, he’ll make multiple All-Pro teams.The Giants have some nice pieces to build around for new general manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll, but they’re not going to be able to acquire an edge rusher like Thibodeaux anywhere other than the draft. We could look back at this pick in five years and consider it a steal.Although the defensive edge rusher cla s is deep with talent this year, if the Giants have a chance at taking the top member of that particular cla s, theyd be foolish not to considering how stagnant their pa s rush has been. New defensive coordinator Don Wink Martindale is reportedly looking to deploy an aggre sive, attacking style of defense, and would no doubt welcome a stud pa s rusher to the lineup.The Giants have been looking to beef up their pa s rush with homegrown talent ever since trading away Jason Pierre-Paul, their first-round pick in 2010, to the Bucs in 2018.New Rollie Fingers Jersey York tried with Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines, both third-round draft picks, but didn’t exactly have enough succe s.Carter hasnt quite developed into the Batman pa s rusher the team has been mi sing since Pierre-Paul patrolled the trenches while Ximines has gone from being a promising prospect to a guy who likely wont even make the roster this year.Scroll to ContinueThe Giants did add Ojulari last year, and he turned in a promising rookie campaign. But one season does not make an NFL star, so while there is optimism Ojulari can be a fixture on the Giants’ pa s rush unit, hell need to continue rising in his career.The Giants also added Elerson Smith in the fourth round of last years draft and Quincy Roche, whom they acquired off waivers from Pittsburgh. Smiths rookie season yielded a minimal sample size leaving the jury Rickey Henderson Jersey still out on whether hell be a fit for what Martindale wants to do. Roche, meanwhile, flashed signs of promise, though again, like Ojulari, hes going to need to continue showing growth.Of Lloyd, : I’m going all-in on improving the front seven of the defense. Lloyd is a middle linebacker, yes, but he does so much more. He had 111 total tackles, eight sacks, 20 tackles for lo s, four interceptions, and a forced fumble last season. He had 16.5 total sacks over the past three seasons. Lloyd (and No. 5 pick Kayvon Thibodeaux) can add some pa s-rush upside to a team that desperately needs it. If New York does take Lloyd here, that probably means Blake Martinez, who tore his left ACL in September, will be a salary-cap casualty.Isnt it interesting how pundits have agreed over the last few years that the Giants need to upgrade their offense, yet when it comes to the draft, we often seem more of a heavy defensive flavor in the early picks? Sure enough, thats the case here, though its hard to find fault with Kipers reasoning on the surface.Blake Martinez is not only coming Andrew Triggs Jersey off a torn ACL, but he currently has the fifth-highest cap number on the team, a number that the Giants probably wont be able to carry this year if theyre to reach their goal of clearing $40 million in cap space.Hence the projection of Lloyd. That said, the question is whether the Giants value an inside linebacker ahead of, say, a cover cornerback, who would allow for the Giants to beef up the coverage in the back end to let the pa s rush to get home.Kiper also acknowledged that The Giants will have to addre s their offensive line at some point this offseason, adding that he considered center Tyler Linderbaum for the second of New Yorks two first-round picks. However, he apparently felt No. 7 was too high to draft a center.