Oct 30, 2010; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Harrison Smith (22) breaks up a pass intended for Tulsa Golden Hurricanse running back Charles Clay (9) at Notre Dame Stadium. Tulsa defeated Notre Dame 28-27. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

This Week In Mock Drafts


All right draft fans today’s edition of This Week In Mock Drafts is going to be the very last one before the 2012 NFL Draft takes places this upcoming Thursday evening at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and with that in mind I’ve gone to one of the most respected names in sports journalism for some mock draft guidance in Peter King; or to others a man that some like to make fun of a lot.

Whatever side of the Peter King spectrum you fall on it’s hard to argue about the man’s football knowledge and every year he puts out one and only one mock draft that tends to arrive in the draft special issue of Sports Illustrated. For those of you GMEN HQ readers out there that don’t subscribe to the magazine you can just head on over to the SI.com’s website to see King’s entire first round mock draft.

For those of you that don’t care about King’s pick other than who he mockingly selected to be the New York Giants’ first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft then you have no reason to leave this page, as I’m about to reveal that information as soon as Chris Berman has ruined the suspense by announcing it before Commissioner Goodell opens the envelope at the podium…

And, with the 32nd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, according to Peter King, the New York football Giants select Harrison Smith, safety, out of Notre Dame! That’s a new name for those of you familiar with TWIMD, as a safety has not once been mocked to the Giants ever since I started writing this regular feature for GMEN HQ. All the focus has been placed on offensive linemen and tight ends but safety is usually overlooked.

But it shouldn’t, really. While the position of safety isn’t an immediate need for the Giants it is nonetheless a need because the Giants like to employ a three-man safety committee on the field. The starting safety positions are locked down for the GMEN with Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle but that third safety position has a hole to fill after back-up safety Deon Grant wasn’t re-signed by the team. Second-year safety Tyler Sash could fill Grant’s role but that remains to be seen and that makes King’s selection of Smith interesting. Here’s King’s report on Smith:

A mature four-year starter for the Irish, Smith has the speed to play free safety and the tackling ability to play strong. The Giants could go in a lot of directions here, with McClellin and Mike Adams both possible because of positional need. But a 47-game college starter and eager special-teamer will be too much for G.M. Jerry Reese to pass up.

Now, here’s where we get to the part that tends to make King a little infuriating to read and why so many people out there like to take jabs at him: in his mock draft he also has a sidebar about what players each team should pick. If the team should pick that player then why not just mock that player to the team? I guess it has something to do with trying to think what a team will do compared to what they should do, and that’s where our GM hats come into play. Still, if you think a player should draft a specific player just say so and in the case of whom King thinks the Giants should select he goes with Shea McClellin, an OLB from Boise State. I don’t blame King for going with this strategy of trying to predict who the Giants will take and who they should take, as many mock drafts out there go with the same strategy but if you’re going to do a mock draft just mock the draft and be done with it.

But this article is all about Harrison Smith so let’s delve into that pick a little bit more. Over at NFL.com, former Texans GM Charley Casserly, the man responsible for the team selecting Mario Williams over the more highly touted coming out of college Reggie Bush, picked Smith as one of his potential draft day steals and thinks Smith would bring a lot of value in the second round.

Now, with the Giants selecting at the bottom of the first round that basically makes it a second round pick so would Smith still bring value if he was picked 32nd instead of say 38th? That’s a debate for another day but let’s see what Casserly had to say about Smith in his article:

Smith has very good size (6-2, 213 pounds) and speed (4.57) for the position. I like his range and instincts against the run and pass. He is aggressive against the run, but must do a better job of breaking down before attempting to tackle a ball carrier. Even though there is some tightness to him, I believe he will be able to cover most tight ends because of his speed.

That all sounds good to me but with any prospect comes with positives and negatives so let’s take a look at the unflattering words Jonathan Bales from The Fifth Down blog over at the New York Times had to say about Smith and where he projects the safety out of Notre Dame:

I’ve seen Smith as high as the late first round in some mock drafts, and I think that’s crazy.  Smith will probably go somewhere in the early to middle portion of the second round, and even that could be too high. For what might turn out to be an undersize linebacker, I wouldn’t spend more than a third-round selection.

So, King has Smith in the first round, Casserly thinks Smith would be a value pick in the second round and Bales wouldn’t touch Smith until the fourth round! That’s just the way mock drafts go and the ultimate value of a player is in the eyes of the 32 general managers around the NFL. Taking a look at another mock draft, this one part of a seven round mock draft special from our good friends at NFL Mocks that’s being put together by Jesse Bartolis has Smith’s name being called in the second round of the draft, at #38 overall, to the Jacksonville Jaguars and here’s what Bartolis has to say about his mocking of Smith to the Jaguars:

While I’m not myself convinced of the first round pick of Melvin Ingram for the Jaguars. Harrison Smith does seem like a Gene Smith type player. Smith is well thought off and could be drafted in the late part of the first round so this is good value here for the big, talented safety. Smith can play FS or SS though I think he’s best suited as a SS. He has great size, good range, and a knack for making big plays.

Another second round grade for Smith, and a blurb about potentially being a late first round pick. Things are looking good again for Smith in the world of Mock Drafts thanks to NFL Mocks. However, like I’ve stressed throughout my mock draft coverage you never know where a player will be selected and even though the Giants are a team that used three safeties quite a bit in coverage last season, as evidenced by the amount of play Deon Grant got during his run with the Giants, would it be wise to use a first round pick on a player that, at least according to Bales would only be, “an effective N.F.L. player”, only if Smith isn’t asked, “to play too much man coverage”? Again, a question I have no answer for because we have no idea what Smith’s true value is and we may never know and in the end only one GM will decide what Smith’s value is; just like very other draft prospect that hopes to hear his name called out during the 2012 NFL Draft.

In the end do we really want the Giants using a first round pick on a player that can’t play man coverage? I don’t think so but what do you GMEN HQ commentators think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Also, look for my complete first round mock draft closer to Thursday’s draft date and then let’s all come back here on Monday to make fun of how bad my mock draft skills were. Until then enjoy the NFL Draft this week!

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Tags: 2012 Nfl Draft 2012 Nfl Mock Draft Charley Casserly Fifth Down Blog Harrison Smoth Harrsion Smith Mock Draft New York Giants Mock Draft Peter King