The NFL Scouting Combine starts next week, so as a run-up ESPN recently ran a conference call with draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr.
Now, I know some of you probably don't care for Kiper, considering the way his hair never moves an iota on the draft telecasts. But he's been doing this for a long time, so I think it's valuable to at least get his opinion on things. So I'm going to give you some exerpts from his 97-minute session, especially those portions that might pertain to the Giants.
Some have suggested the Giants go so far as to trade up to the No. 1 spot, from their 15th pick, to get Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh, and others have suggested Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy or Tennessee corner Eric Berry. Kiper rates them as the top three picks in the draft.
"McCoy gives you a little bit more versatility because he can be a 3-4 end and a 4-3-1 gap penetrator," Kiper said. "Suh is a guy that is strong, powerful, an outstanding bull rusher. I think he is a better pass-rusher in general than people give him credit for. McCoy is a little bit more sudden, a little bit more explosive. But I think when you look at the productivity of Suh and the instincts and the ability to be a complete defensive tackle without being an elite pass rusher, Suh is.
"McCoy was also very productive at Oklahoma. I have them one and two on the board and would not argue with either one going first overall.
"You look at Suh and the productivity the last two years tells you all about this kid. He’s a warrior. I still give Suh the slightest of edges. I have McCoy at No. 2 on the Big Board overall as well, so its not like they’re just projected to go No.1 and No. 2, they’ve been the No. 1 and No. 2 player with Eric Berry the safety from Tennessee at No. 3. That’s been steady and solid since early October. Fourth has been a little fluid but the three of Suh, McCoy and Berry have been etched in stone and will be etched in stone all the way until Draft Day for me."
I get the idea from Kiper that Texas S Earl Thomas might be around when the Giants pick in the second round. Given their need at that position, he might be a legit choice.
"The size factor and how he’ll hold up in the NFL is something that may push him into the late first, early second round from where I had him," Kiper said. "He’s got tremendous ball skills, a good tackler, a big game guy. In the spotlight games he was at his best.…This is a guy that if you can get him in the early to mid-second round, I think you’re getting yourself one heck of a player."
Here's the whole call if you've got the time and the interest.