Recently, we published a mock draft prediction from CBS Sports analyst Lance Zierlein that had the New York Giants trading up from No. 11 overall to No. 8 to select Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.
That prognostication was made before the Giants came to terms with Kenn Golladay on a four-year, $72 million deal on Saturday.
Zierlein has since changed his mock draft to keep the Giants at No. 11, but this time he has them selecting USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker.
Vera-Tucker can play guard or tackle and immediately helps fill the void left by the release of Kevin Zeitler.
This is more like it. Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has been systematically filling the holes on his roster since free agency began nearly a week ago but there are two losses that he might not be able to address with free agents — Zeitler and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson.
Vera-Tucker fits the Giants’ needs by being able to play both guard and tackle. Another player who fits this mold is Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater, who Zierlein has going to Dallas with the 10th overall pick.
The Golladay signing has changed the dynamic of the Giants’ roster in several ways. They are no longer in urgent need of a playmaker on offense and will likely shift their focus in Round 1 to another position of need.
Of course, this isn’t the way to draft. Taking players out of need has been proven fruitless more often that not over time but in recent years with free agency more prevalent, teams have more and more needs each year, so many times the best available player in at a position of need.
In this case, Vera-Tucker is not necessarily the best player available. He is Zierlein’s top player. He his first round material however, and he would help the Giants’ unstable offensive line greatly.