In his latest mock draft, unveiled Wednesday morning, Mel Kiper Jr. has the Giants taking Tennessee pass rusher Derek Barnett with the 23rd selection.
Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.
Kiper’s mock does, though, open the possibility of a pick by the Giants later in the draft that could be even more of a franchise-changer than anything they do in the first round. Kiper, ESPN’s draft guru, has just two quarterbacks projected to go in the first round: Mitch Trubisky, with the second pick to the 49ers, and Deshaun Watson at No. 10 to the Bills. If that happens, it would make Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer available in the second round for a team looking for a quarterback who probably isn’t NFL ready this season but will be in another year or two.
A team like, say, the Giants?
General manager Jerry Reese has said that finding an heir to Eli Manning is on his shopping list this offseason. The Giants aren’t ready to move on from Manning just yet, but Reese said the 36-year-old is “on the back nine” of his career and the team needs to start thinking about the future.
What better way to do that than by using a second-round pick and investing in the 2020s.
Kizer has all the things you can’t teach a quarterback (size, speed, athleticism), and what has held him back are all of the things you can teach one (decision-making, field vision, accuracy). The Giants may be the perfect landing spot for him, a place where he can learn and serve an apprenticeship under Manning and Ben McAdoo and then potentially step into the starting role.
Newsday’s Nick Klopsis has Kizer going to the Cardinals 13th overall in his latest mock draft.
“The Notre Dame product has good size at 6-4 and 230 pounds, is mobile and throws a nice deep ball,” Klopsis writes. “He struggled a bit in 2016 and can sometimes overthrow his intended targets, but he has all the tools teams look for in a franchise signal-caller and fits the big-size, big-arm mold.” Many have compared him to Steve McNair.
Interestingly, while Kiper does not include Kizer in his first- round mock, over at NFL.com, draft guru Mike Mayock has Kizer rated as his No. 1 quarterback available.
To get that kind of value and potential in the second round could be exactly what the Giants are looking for.