Why Ereck Flowers to Giants at No. 9

If you've followed the mock drafts this year, Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff is a familiar name. He's often the player associated with the Giants and the No. 9 pick pretty much since the start, and he's considered by many as the top lineman in the draft.

Miami's Ereck Flowers is more of an unknown. Most mock drafts have him pegged for the middle of the first round, but behind team doors and on draft boards, opinions vary, especially with this year's offensive line class. Some NFL talent evaluators view Flowers in the same class as last year's top linemen.

Here are the basics, per NFL.com's Lance Zierlein:

Ereck Flowers
Height: 6-6
Weight: 329 pounds
Arm Length: 34½
Hands: 9 7/8
40-Yard Dash: 5.31
Bench Reps: 37 (most at the NFL Scouting Combine)

"BOTTOM LINE While they have different body types, Flowers will have some of the same strengths and flaws 2014 first-round pick Greg Robinson had coming in. Flowers has the size, feet and talent to be a very good left tackle but he will be a work in progress unless he can eliminate some of the balance issues that could plague him."

Robinson was last year's No. 2 overall pick to the Rams. He had an up-and-down rookie season, as injuries forced him to play left tackle instead of guard, where St. Louis anticipated him playing last year. But there are still high hopes for Robinson's future, just as there are for Flowers'.

Why Flowers at No. 9: He showed during dominant performances against Florida State and Nebraska (more in-depth breakdown of his play will come closer to the draft) that he's a potential NFL star. He can play against the top competition and thrive.

The thinking is that Flowers is a future NFL left tackle, but can be a "Day 1 starter at right tackle," according to former scout and current NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah. He's a dominant run blocker and quality pass blocker.

With Flowers' size and skills, there is little doubt that he's an NFL tackle. There is significantly more uncertainty when it comes to Scherff and LSU's La'el Collins. Some teams have them pegged as guards, although the Giants seem to think Scherff is a tackle.

Still, all of this factors into the equation. It's why I picked Flowers at No. 9 in my mock draft. Most importantly though, it's because the Giants think very highly of him.

The caveats: The Giants are not married to drafting an offensive lineman in the first round. They could have other quality options considering they own the coveted ninth pick.

If pass rushers Vic Beasley or Dante Fowler make it to No. 9, they'll pounce. If wide receiver Amari Cooper is available, don't expect them to pass either. Defensive tackle Danny Shelton and cornerback Trae Wayens are also highly regarded inside the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. They could be options.

But if the draft plays out as I expect, Flowers is the pick. He's the Giants' top lineman.

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