With the underclassman deadline to enter the 2014 NFL Draft having passed, the entrant pool is pretty much set. The total number of early entrants was last listed at 91, which will make this one of the deepest drafts in recent memory. It might not have the star power of past drafts, but as far as quality in each round it ranks among the top. In order to get an accurate feel for what players would be available in which rounds I used Fanspeak.com. Fanspeak has developed a NFL Draft simulator, which allows you to draft for the team you select. The formula used to develop the system can be found here.
Since we still have not hit the NFL Combine or free agency, I decided to include two different versions of this mock draft. The first version starts off using Mel Kiper's first round pick in his latest mock, C.J. Mosley from Alabama. The second version uses what seems to be the consensus of the fan base, which is Darqueze Dennard from Michigan State. Let's take a look at the results below (you can click where it says "version" for a view of every pick done by the computer):
|Version 1||Version 2|
|1||C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama||Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State|
|2||Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State||Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington|
|3||Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas||Andre Williams, RB, Boston College|
|4||Bryan Stork, C, Florida State||Bryan Stork, C, Florida State|
|5||Andre Hal, CB, Vanderbilt||Denicos Allen, LB, Michigan State|
|6||Chris Watt, G, Notre Dame||Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest|
|7||Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State||Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State|
Overall, I prefer "Version 1," especially if Hakeem Nicks leaves via free agency, and might prefer it even if he stays. The New York Giants have not drafted a linebacker in the first round in a very long time, but why should that stop them now? Mosley is an exceptional linebacker prospect, and could start right away next to Jon Beason (if he returns). They would be in great shape at linebacker with Mosley, Beason, Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams, and for once would have some depth at the linebacker position.
Benjamin, while he has issues with drops, is a phenomenal athlete that can make the tough catches. You can't teach size (6'4") or speed (a 40 yard dash in the 4.5 range), and is also an exceptional blocker in the running game. Jeffcoat is an underrated defensive end, that still has some work to do technique wise versus the run. If Justin Tuck returns, Jeffcoat won't have to get major snaps right away, and can rotate in behind Tuck, Damontre Moore and Jason Pierre-Paul. Jeffcoat's pass rush skills and athleticism could allow the Giants to line him up at the SAM linebacker spot on passing downs as an extra pass rusher.
The Giants get some offensive line help in Stork and Watt, who could probably step in and contribute right away. Hal is a sleeper so far in the draft, and was probably the best cornerback in the SEC this year. Hal finished his senior season with 40 tackles, 14 pass break ups and two interceptions. Standing at 6'0" and 186 pounds, Hal played exceptionally well against bigger receivers such as Mike Evans of Texas A&M and Donte Moncrief of Ole Miss. He also has experience playing off of receivers, which defensive coordinator Perry Fewell likes to have his cornerbacks do. One of my favorite picks in this mock is Isaiah Crowell of Alabama State, who some of you might remember from his Georgia Bulldog days. Crowell burst onto the scene his freshman year at Georgia, and was regarded by many as the most explosive running back in the country. He was dismissed from the team after he was hit with felony weapons charges, which were later dropped. He did not dominate at the FCS level like many had hoped, but his 4.49 speed is something scouts will love. He has the ability to be a play maker at the NFL level, he just needs to stay out of trouble.
While I may prefer "Version 1," "Version 2" would be an excellent draft for the New York Giants as well. They get the best cornerback in Dennard, and the best tight end in Seferian-Jenkins. Given how much success new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo had with good, but not great tight ends in Green Bay, Seferian-Jenkins could be dangerous in his system. The Giants add Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams to a back field that needs some help, and he should be able to get ample opportunity to succeed. Campanaro is small (5'9") but makes plays in the open field, and has a lot of similarities to New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edleman. Allen has a lot of work to do in terms of learning how to take on blockers, but is very good versus the run and in coverage.
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