- Dan Graziano, ESPN New York Giants reporter
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Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest mock draft is out, and it goes two rounds deep, which means we can talk Redskins too. Which is nice. Here's the rundown of Mel's picks for the NFC East, along with my analysis. (Not his. You have to pay to read his.)
4. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
35. Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
Whether the Eagles will take Smith with their first pick figures to remain one of the hot questions right up until around 8:30 pm ET on Thursday, April 25. Mel's reasoning is interesting, as it's based on the idea that the Eagles (a) wouldn't have to start Smith right away and (b) can develop him in a way that fits what new coach Chip Kelly wants to do on offense. I think if the Eagles draft Smith, the coaching staff is placing a bet on itself that it can develop his franchise-caliber physical tools into a franchise quarterback. Whether they take him in the first round could depend on their confidence in their ability to do that. As for Watson, I like the idea of the Eagles grabbing a tackle with one of their first two picks. Depth on the line is key, as they learned last year to their detriment.
18. Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
47. Justin Pugh, OL, Syracuse
Now, if you read me regularly, you know how important I think it is that the Cowboys use their first-round pick to get a starting offensive lineman. But in this particular mock draft, Mel has the top six offensive linemen all gone by the time the Cowboys pick. (All picked in the top 12, actually.) While this is not impossible, it would be stunning and historic. The last time six of the first 17 picks in the NFL draft were offensive linemen was 1966, when the league only had 15 teams. Since then, the highest number of offensive linemen taken in the first 17 picks is five, and it's only happened three times -- 1977, 1985 and 2008. Only six times in the past 30 drafts have as many as four offensive linemen been selected among the first 17 picks. So history clearly tells us that the Cowboys will have a good offensive linemen to pick at 18. But in case Mel's right and this is an historically strong draft year for offensive linemen, then sure, get deeper on the defensive line and grab a versatile O-line helper like Pugh in the second round. Only so much you can do, after all.
19. Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
49. Sio Moore, LB, Connecticut
We like to look at history with the Giants, too, so while they appear to have bigger and more immediate needs on the offensive line and at linebacker, adding depth to the secondary looks more like something they might do. In four of the last eight drafts, the Giants have used their first pick on a defensive back. With Terrell Thomas a question mark, Corey Webster possibly in decline and Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley still developing, there's nothing wrong with taking Trufant here. Makes sense.
51. Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
UConn invades the NFC East in the second round! Honestly, I expect the Redskins to take the best safety or cornerback available at this spot. Only thing I don't like about this pick is the idea of having to type this kid's name over and over again.
Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest mock draft is out, and it goes two rounds deep, which means we can talk Redskins too. Which is nice. Here's the rundown of Mel's picks for the NFC East, along with my analysis.