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2011 NFL Mock Draft: SB Nation Selects Akeem Ayers For Giants

There is an old saying, 'what goes around, comes around.' In the case of mock drafts and the New York Giants, that appears to be true. At least in the case of the most recent SB Nation NFL mock draft, which has UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers going to the Giants with the 19th pick of the first round.

Several weeks ago Ayers was the consensus pick for the Giants and was the guy SB Nation had pegged to help bolster New York's needy linebacking corps. Then, however, the depth of the Giants' concerns about injuries and age on the offensive line began to become apparent, and mock drafters -- including SB Nation's Brian Galliford -- began to look at offensive linemen. The most popular pick in recent weeks has been Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo.

In this particular mock, though, SB Nation's Galliford has USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith going to Minnesota at 12 and Castonzo going to Detroit at 13. Thus, the choice of Ayers who is still the No. 2 outside linebacker in this draft despite a mediocre performance at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Here is what SB Nation said in giving Ayers to the Giants:

His unimpressive athletic performance at the Combine, coupled with questions about his true pro position, have hurt Ayers' stock. He's still a very strong fit as a 4-3 outside linebacker, and occasional blitzer, for Perry Fewell and the linebacker-needy Giants.

My take: Ayers is probably still the top 4-3 outside linebacker in this draft, and he could fill a real void in the Giants' defense. Even with Smith and Castonzo off the board, though, I would not sleep on the Giants going with Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder, an athletic 6-foot-8, 315-pound tackle. GM Jerry Reese loves physical freaks (see Jason Pierre-Paul last year) and has tended to take guys with upside rather than players who might be ready immediately. Solder fills those qualifications. Plus, there are a half-dozen outside linebackers who might fill the Giants' need who who should be available in rounds two or three.