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Wonder’s Bust and Sleeper in the 2014 Draft

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The latest NY Giants Draft news came from Peter King’s Mock Draft:

The offensive line is being overhauled and the Giants will pounce if (Zack) Martin’s there. “Most versatile lineman I’ve seen come out in the draft in the last 10 years,” one assistant GM tell me.

We will repeat one more time- it is this site’s opinion (via our analyst, Wonder) that Zack Martin with make a very good pro, BUT THAT THIS IS THE WRONG PICK.  He’s “safe,” no doubt, but we want greatness.  Wonder’s 10 players who he believes have a shot at being great pros are, in order:

1) Clowney
2) Robinson
3) Watkins
4) Mack
5) Matthews
6) Barr
7) Lewan
8) Evans
9) Ebron
10) Gilbert

Re Watkins, as highly regarded as he is, he may actually be the safest of all of these picks (barring injury).

Re Barr, of the entire list, he probably could be classified as the most “raw” within this group. But oh the phenomenal upside.  Plus the fit with the Giants could be excellent.  “He can be a very special player, dare I say the best in ’17?”

We highlighted Ebron in an entire blog post.  Wonder has a man-crush on Ebron, one I have not seen since 2010 with Earl Thomas.  So if the Giants pass on Ebron and take the “safe”  Zack Martin pick, Wonder will be irate. “Choosing Lewan, Robinson or Matthews over Ebron is understandable and indeed permissible, because all 4 can be great players.  But taking Martin (who I grade a level below those 3 OLinemen) over Ebron would be a baby version of taking Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan.  The pick appeases the masses.  But it is gutless.  At 12, it is way too conservative and safe.  At 12, the two guys who would be a home run for the Giants and their system would be Ebron and Barr.

“I would go the opposite direction of safe.  I would be lining up possible deals with the Vikings at 8 to go up and grab one of these players, or perhaps to get someone else from that list of 10 players that has fallen.”

Wonder points out that every single GM needs to have possible deals lined up in Round 1 to trade up AND trade down.  “You have to be prepared, you have to be ready.  If none of the QBs go and all 10 players are gone by the time you pick, you have to be willing to trade down, and that is not happening unless you have already lined up possible deals,” explains the draft analyst.

Other Draft Highlights:

a) this site has been counting the years (30) w/o a Round 1 LBer.  This year we have not dwelled on it too much because of a few extenuating circumstances.  For starters, we want to see Eli upright for the next 5 years, so taking Amukamara in 2011 when we wanted (LT) Castonzo means that the bill comes due in 2013 (Pugh) and 2014 (Lewan?).  Frankly, we’d be thrilled with Barr or Mack but I would take one of the 3 linemen first.  Second, Wonder rarely gets a man-crush on a player and projects him to be transformative for the Giants Offense.  So Ebron is the kind of special talent that you can’t be dogmatic about and robotically ignore, just because LBer hasn’t been taken in 30 years.  Third, if you told me right now that the Giants selected Mack or Barr at 12, I would be ecstatic nonetheless.

b)  Wonder’s Bust of the Year? LT Cyrus Kouandijo.  “He’s my Chris Williams of 2014.  The mainstream lemmings want to take “Cy” the big fat SLOW LT from Alabama because he’s a “beast” don’t know SH*T…they hear ND or ALA and “they” must be studs..BULL****. He’s MEDIOCRE at best.”  Are you paying attention GMs?  This is coming from a Draft analyst who just showed up the Round 1 selections from 2011 when we looked back at his grades vs the GMs on the 11 players that did not have their option year picked up.  He distanced himself from the GMs by THIRTY TWO PICKS ON AVERAGE, that is an entire round, by avoiding the traps of highly touted mainstream consensus favorites.  Wonder is by no means perfect- nobody is.  But he thinks independently and is not afraid to challenge the accepted orthodoxy of group-think NFL-GM-style.

c) Wonder’s Steal/Surprise/Sleeper of the Draft?  QB Zach Mettenberger.  Wonder pans most of the QBs in this year’s draft.  Says Manziel can hit or miss, feast or famine, which makes him a Round 2 value, not Round 1.  But GMs are so desperate that they will take him way too high. If the GM gambles and wins on a Feast/Famine pick, what about the one who holds back and takes a Colin Kaepernick in R2 or a Zach Mettenberger?   Mettenberger is not in the discussion with the more mainstream choices like Bortles, but he should be.  “Mettenberger will be a steal in R2 or R3 of the draft,” explains Wonder. “He has an NFL arm, and he can read defenses.”

d) Wonder also picks Martavis Bryant (thumbs up) and pans Rasheed Hageman (thumbs down), FOR WHERE THEY WILL BE DRAFTED.