NFL Mock Draft: New York Giants Select Shane Ray Ninth Overall


NFL Mock Draft: Mel Kiper Jr. Has New York Giants Selecting A Pass Rusher In His Latest Mock

ESPN’s Mel Kiper has released his latest Mock Draft, and for the first time he has changed what position the New York Giants will be targeting. In his first three mocks, Kiper had the Giants going offensive line, selecting either Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff or Stanford tackle Andrus Peat. This time, he has the Giants going on the other side of the ball, selecting Missouri linebacker Shane Ray.

Right off the bat, Ray would fill a need for the Giants in the pass rush department. The Giants have failed to get much production in rushing the quarterback outside of Jason Pierre-Paul, and have been searching for some help. They have brought in some help in free agency like George Selvie, and have Damontre Moore and Devon Kennard as budding pass rushers, but it is still a need and Ray would help fill it.

In his last go-round with the Giants as defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo used a fearsome pass rush up front as the backbone of his defense. In recent seasons the Giants have transitioned more towards strengthening the backend of their defense, pouring high-end resources into their secondary. With Spagnuolo back in town, expect the Giants to begin shifting their focus back to the bread-and-butter of their franchise; the pass rush.

The fit for Ray with the Giants is questionable, as he projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker; his size isn’t ideal for an NFL defensive end, as he stands just over 6-feet-2 inches tall and weighs in at 245 pounds. But his skill set and durability are something that would bring a boost to the Giants.

Ray started all 14 games in 2014 for the Tigers, and played in a rotation for every game in 2013. He had no injuries of note during his college career, which would be a welcome sight for the Giants, who have suffered through a number of injuries the past couple of seasons.

His stats are also very strong, as he ranked third in the NCAA in sacks with 12.5, also recording 65 total tackles, 22.5 of which came for a loss. You also know he will give it his all when he is on the field, as his motor never stops; combine that with his toughness and effort and you have the makings of a player that would endear himself to Tom Coughlin and the coaching staff very quickly.

Ray plays both the pass and run well, as he has outstanding instincts to go with strong skills when in pursuit.

While those are all positives, again there is serious question as to how Ray would fit in with the Giants defensive scheme. The Giants are a 4-3 base defense, so it is hard to imagine where he would fit into that scheme.

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That is the problem the Giants will have when evaluating a lot of these new 3-4 conversion linebackers. Whether is is Ray, or fellow 2015 draft class members Dante Fowler Jr. or Vic Beasley, the Giants could struggle to find a place to use them at.

One thing that is for sure though is that the Giants can use all the pass rush help they can get, and if they feel one of those aforementioned players can help them, they will select them. The Giants will more than likely be using their ninth overall pick somewhere in the trenches, either on the offensive or defensive line. This time Kiper mocked them on the defensive line, but that is something that could easily change heading into the draft in three weeks.

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