Whether you like him and his hair or not you can’t have a feature on NFL mock drafts without talking about the man that helped bring them to the mainstream, a one Mr. Mel Kiper Jr.
In the early stages of the rise of mock drafts Kiper was the man many people viewed as an NFL Draft guru. Whatever he had to say was heard by his disciples as gospel and he’s still a very popular man to this day in the world of NFL mock drafts and the actual draft itself after landing an on-air personality gig for ESPN during its televised draft coverage.
Even though I’ve switched my allegiances from Kiper over to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock I know there are still many Kiper fans out there so I thought I’d take a look at his most recent mock draft to see who he has the Giants taking with their 32nd overall draft pick in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft for this week’s version of ‘This Week In Mock Drafts.’
Kiper’s mock drafts are a part of the ESPN Insider brand so if you don’t have access to their site then you can’t read his article, so don’t click on this link if you’re not an insider. Don’t worry Giants fans we got you covered later in this article for his analysis on the Giants’ pick.
In his most recent mock draft, version 3.0, that was published before the big trade that saw the Redskins mortgage their future for the present and let it be known that RG3 will be a Redskin, Kiper has taken the route many mock draft prognosticators have taken and mocked a tight end to the Giants.
The tight end that Kiper has going to the Giants, as of right now, is the same one that was featured in a previous installment of ‘This Week In Mock Drafts.’ And that would be Stanford’s tight end, Coby Fleener.
This is what Kiper has to say right now about Fleener going to the Giants:
“The Super Bowl was great for the party, but the Giants took a hit on the personnel side, where they lost a pair of tight ends to injury. Fleener has overtaken Dwayne Allen of Clemson as the top tight end on my board, and the Giants need one. He has great hands, will run a lot better than people think and knows how to work in a pro-style system, lined up on the line of scrimmage. He’s a great red zone target. The Giants also need offensive line help, or could target a linebacker here, but Fleener makes a lot of sense.”
The scouting report from our fellow FanSided brethren over at NFLMocks.com on the 6’6, 247-pound tight end, project Fleener as a late first round to 2nd round draft pick and compare him to Kevin Boss, Marcedes Lewis and Tony Scheffeler.
FanSided also went on to say about Fleener that he’s a, “big play threat at all times…can line up in the slot and run pretty good routes…good at finding holes in zone coverage…impressive body control and ability to catch the ball in his soft hands…”
Those were the nice things they had to say but they also had some concerns about Fleener that revolve around his age (he’ll be 24 during his rookie campaign), his lean build that might not lead to him holding up in the blocking game, questions about whether he’ll be able to handle not being the go-to receiver in an offense and that’s he’s not very dynamic once the snap goes off.
Every rookie is going to come into the professional football ranks with holes in his game so Fleener should be able to work on his game as he progresses. If the Giants do take Fleener he’ll have to work on his game much sooner, especially if they don’t sign a veteran free agent tight end, because he would shoot up to the top of the tight end depth chart in New York because of injuries to Ballard and Beckum.
It’ll be interesting to see whether or not the Giants do take a rookie tight end in the first round since they would potentially be in the running to start as a rookie and make a big impact in a pass heavy offense.