Let’s take a look at the Giants’ updated draft outlook.
Free agency has come and gone.
Well, it’s technically still going on, but you know what I mean.
The appetizers and main course of this portion of the offseason have concluded, and while there are still some moves to be made, many teams are skipping dessert and looking to the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Giants, like most other organizations, are essentially finished making significant signings. And thanks to moves already made, New York’s overall outlook on the draft has likely changed.
So what could general manager Joe Schoen be looking to accomplish when Big Blue is on the clock next month?
Giants’ 2022 draft picks:
Round 1, Pick 5 overall
Round 1, Pick 7 overall
Round 2, Pick 36 overall
Round 3, Pick 67 overall
Round 3, Pick 81 overall
Round 4, Pick 112 overall
Round 5, Pick 147 overall
Round 5, Pick 173 overall
Round 6, Pick 182 overall
OT and EDGE remain top-tier needs
As you can see above (and as we’ve mentioned countless times before), the Giants own two of the top seven picks (No. 5 and 7 overall).
This could turn out to be perfect, considering there are two glaring needs for Big Blue: offensive tackle and edge rusher.
New York figures to employ its left tackle of the future (hopefully) in Andrew Thomas. However, the right tackle spot remains a mystery (Nate Solder is gone and 2020 draftee Matthew Peart is shaping up to be a third-round bust).
Luckily, one of Alabama’s Evan Neal, NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu, and Mississippi State’s Charles Cross (three talented, NFL-ready tackles) could be available at No. 5 overall.
The tackle position should be the top position to address — get that need out of the way. This is an offensive-driven, pass-oriented league, and Daniel Jones will need to remain upright in order to produce for this team in what should be a make-or-break year for the young quarterback.
Thus, edge rusher remains a possible priority at No. 7 overall. Azeez Ojulari and Leonard Williams are talented complements to one another, but Big Blue needs another weapon in that area of the field to overwhelm opposing offensive lines.
The Giants likely won’t be able to draft Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, who could potentially be the No. 1 or 2 overall pick (to the Jaguars or Lions, respectively). But if they’re able to land any of the aforementioned tackles at No. 5 before drafting Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux or Georgia’s Travon Walker at No. 7, it would be an incredible first round for Schoen.
There was thought to the Giants trading back at No. 7 and drafting an interior lineman somewhere near the No. 10-13 range, but that position isn’t of desperate need following the free-agent signings of Mark Glowinski (three-year deal) and Jon Feliciano (one-year deal).
Safety in play?
Could the Giants potentially target Kyle Hamilton at No. 5 should the Notre Dame safety be available?
With the recent release of Logan Ryan and a current vacancy at the safety role alongside Xavier McKinney, it’s certainly possible.
Hamilton is a versatile talent who is most certainly a top-10 (and possibly top-5) draft pick. Although, he’s the only first-round-caliber safety, and utilizing a top-5 selection on this position would be a notable risk.
There may be a small window of opportunity for the Giants to make a move like this, so don’t fully expect it (but don’t fully shut the door on it either).
Cornerback in first round?
Let’s just say the Giants miss out on Hamilton, take a tackle at No. 5, and bypass the selection of an edge rusher until the second round.
Could cornerback be in play at No. 7?
While Adoree’ Jackson is under contract for two more years, James Bradberry is entering the final season of his three-year deal and could still be a trade piece this offseason. The Giants may need another body in the secondary to initially provide reliable depth and eventually be a top cornerback on this defense.
Cincinnati’s Sauce Gardner is the best corner in this draft, and it’s hard to imagine he’ll be available at No. 7 (you can never fully predict this event, but his stock is surely rising). Therefore, LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. might be in play for Big Blue.
The Giants are also in prime position to trade back in the first round, whether they use their No. 5 or 7 pick to do so.
There are still various quarterback-needy teams that could trade up to acquire a (hopeful) future face of the franchise. The Falcons (No. 8 overall), Seahawks (No. 9), and Steelers (No. 20) are among these teams.
If an organization wishes to jump the Panthers (who own the No. 6 pick and should absolutely look for Sam Darnold’s replacement) to get the quarterback it wants, the Giants could move back and collect extra draft capital, including potentially a 2023 first-round selection.
New York would have a great deal of leverage in this type of situation, especially if no quarterbacks are off the board in the top four.
Other positions of need
The Giants could use post-first-round picks on offensive line depth (both on the interior and exterior), secondary depth, a defensive lineman, a linebacker, a tight end, and/or a wide receiver.
I actually wouldn’t be opposed to the Giants taking a wideout in the second round at No. 36, but they could definitely wait until the third round (No. 67) due to the depth of this receiver class. Maybe they pull the trigger on a guy like Penn State’s Jahan Dotson at No. 36 if he’s available? Remember: Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Sterling Shepard are all injury-prone and missed time last season.
The Giants may also need to add another tight end in the middle rounds to complement free-agent pickup Ricky Seals-Jones. In order to properly improve in year four, Daniel Jones will require all the passing-game targets he can get.
Linebacker is a position to target in the second, third, or fourth round — it would be nice to add a versatile backer who can rush the passer in Wink Martindale’s blitz-heavy defense. The same goes for the defensive line, depending on if the front office is looking to add a starting-caliber player or simply a depth piece. While Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence will see notable playing time in a 3-4 scheme, it’s unclear if free-agent pickup Justin Ellis is an every-down player. Big Blue may need to find an additional body for the rotation.
And finally, despite the Giants possibly focusing on the offensive line and/or secondary early, the need for depth in either area of the field is highly crucial. Schoen could (and should) address each spot on Day 3 (the Giants own a total of three picks in the fifth and sixth rounds).
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