ESPN’s Todd McShay has released his latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
An offensive tackle? An offensive guard? An edge rusher? Maybe a quarterback?
The Giants need great assistance this offseason following another putrid year that resulted in a measly four victories. There are various spots throughout the roster that require new occupants, which is why owning nine picks (including two first-rounders) in the 2022 NFL Draft is more than convenient.
New general manager Joe Schoen and his staff could target any of the aforementioned positions in the opening round.
Who does Todd McShay have the Giants drafting in his latest mock for ESPN?
5. Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
McShay’s Take: “Yes, the Giants need offensive linemen, but with a second top-10 pick on deck and the top two linemen off the board, we’re pivoting to the other massive weakness: pass rush. And wouldn’t you know it, Thibodeaux falls right into the Giants’ lap here. He has great quickness, a good arsenal of pass-rush moves and plenty of versatility. His tape is up and down, hence a slight slide to No. 5, but he’d immediately elevate a New York pass rush that had 34 sacks (tied for 22nd) last season. And he’d perfectly complement Leonard Williams and Azeez Ojulari, the team’s 2021 second-rounder who led the defense with 8.0 sacks in his rookie year.”
Our Take: For context, the two offensive tackles McShay has off the board prior to this pick are Alabama’s Evan Neal (No. 1 to the Jaguars) and NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu (No. 4 to the Jets).
But that’s why I don’t like this selection of Thibodeaux at No. 5.
If taking a quarterback isn’t the answer, the Giants absolutely need an offensive tackle to help them maximize their offensive weapons (Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, potentially Saquon Barkley, etc.) and Matthew Peart isn’t the answer at right tackle.
In order to complement Andrew Thomas (who will hopefully continue to shine on the quarterback’s blindside), New York needs to ensure it can draft a tackle at No. 5 before Carolina can draft one at No. 6 (the Panthers might certainly target that position with their pick if they don’t take a quarterback).
The pass rush is important — I get that. But in my opinion, with the Giants potentially rolling the dice with Daniel Jones, shoring up the line should be the superior task.
I would certainly take a tackle at No. 5.
7. Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
McShay’s Take: “As I mentioned above, I’m not totally sure Cross is a top-10 pick. But he handles speed rushers well and plays with patience, and I see good angles on tape in the run game. He’s the next best tackle on the board, and after landing Kayvon Thibodeaux at No. 5, New York can afford to reach a little bit here. With a new GM, head coach and offensive coordinator, the Giants are going to give quarterback Daniel Jones every chance to succeed in 2022 before making a decision on their future under center. Jones has taken a lot of hits, and though left tackle Andrew Thomas rounded into form in 2021, the line remains a glaring problem. Cross, who gave up one sack on 683 pass-block snaps last season, helps.”
Our Take: I just told you I wanted the Giants to take a tackle at No. 5 to ensure they can take one of the top three OTs (Neal, Ekwonu, Cross) before Carolina could, right?
Having said that, I don’t love this maneuver either. If the Giants were to take Cross, that’s fine. But it would need to be at No. 5, and then they could potentially still land Thibodeaux at No. 7.
My guess is that if Thibodeaux is on the board at No. 5, he will still be on the board at No. 7 (barring any movement from Carolina). The Panthers don’t need to take an edge rusher with the sixth pick — they were second in the NFL with a 51% team pass rush win rate in 2021 (pass rush win rate is ESPN‘s metric for “how often a pass-rusher is able to beat his block within 2.5 seconds”).
So to finalize: take a tackle with the fifth pick and Thibodeaux with the seventh, like I wrote here.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY