For the longest time before the start of the NFL regular season that would see the New York Giants be crowned Super Bowl Champions we had no idea when the regular season would start or if we would even have an NFL season.
While deep down inside we knew that there was no way the NFL would cancel the season or miss games the longer the lockout dragged on the more uncertainty it created. That didn’t stop sportswriters from talking about mock drafts and making predictions though and that didn’t stop me from talking about those talking about the mock drafts.
Eventually the lockout ended and we had ourselves a new labor agreement and football was officially back in our lives! The mock drafts that I covered for GMEN HQ at the beginning of the season were all about me preaching how it’s hard to predict what player a team will draft when a season hasn’t even started yet and we don’t know what the team will look like heading into off-season or where we would be drafting in the first round.
Well, now that the season is over we have some questions answered that can help up properly mock the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft. First off, thanks to the Giants winning Super Bowl XLVI, we now know where the Giants will be picking in the draft and, barring trade, the Giants are slated to pick 32nd and last overall in the first round of the draft.
I’m sure GM Jerry Reese will gladly take the last pick of the draft anytime if it comes along with a Lombardi Trophy attached to it. With the NFL in off-season mode we know which players are free agents and we can speculate as to which players teams will attempt to re-sign, let go or go after in free agency. That helps us mock draft prognosticators or those mocking the mock draft prognosticators pinpoint areas of needs or target positions in the draft for each of the 32 teams.
As of right now, thanks in part to the major injuries suffered to the tight end position in the Super Bowl and the lack of depth at the position, tight end has become the trendy mock draft position pick for the Giants. And that’s exactly the case with today’s installment of ‘This Week In Mock Drafts’ brought to you by the good folks over at The National Football Post.
The third and most recent version of their mock draft has the Giants taking tight end Coby Fleener out of Stanford. Out of the 15 previous TWIMD articles that I wrote for GMEN HQ not a single one of them predicted the Giants would draft a tight end but I have a feeling that will change and we will see the tight end position mentioned a lot more frequently headed towards draft day.
According to the latest scouting report on Fleener from NFP they say that he’s, “An impressive pass catcher who can win both down the field and underneath vs. man coverage. Has the frame and flexibility to develop into a solid blocker as well and looks like a future starting caliber NFL TE.” That sounds like some pretty lofty praise for Fleener and it also makes it seem like he would be just the type of guy to fit right in on the Giants.
The tight end position has helped revolutionize the way the passing game is now played and while we’re not always going to see a Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez or Jimmy Graham type of player come into the league and light it up right away like they recently did there’s no denying that tight ends can come into the league and make an impact immediately. If the Giants can draft a tight end that starts out as a rookie and makes a difference from Week 1 it would only add to the arsenal of players Manning has at his dispersal.
The Giants have always been a team known for drafting the best available player, no matter the need or the position. It’s worked out well for them in the past and if they were to go that route this year and that best player available did in fact turn out to be a tight end the Giants would be pretty smart to do so since not too many other teams view tight end as a position of need, which would leave the Giants picking whatever tight end they rank the best at the position.
In addition to the 6-6 Fleener, other names to watch out for at the tight end position include Georgia’s Orson Charles, Clemson’s Dwayne Allen, Chase Ford out of Miami and Michael Egnew from Missouri.
Of course, we can’t forget that it’s only February 20 and the draft doesn’t take place until April 26. That’s plenty of time for the Giants to sign a free agent tight end such as Jeremy Shockey, Visanthe Shiancoe or John Carlson as a one year stop gap to fill in for the injured Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum or permanently take over their spots.
All I know is that mock draft season is in full swing and GMEN HQ is happy to be a part of it and that TWIMD should once again become a Mock Monday regular here on the blog.