Nobody is an NFL Draft expert.
Not Mel Kiper. Not Todd McShay. Not Peter King.
It’s impossible to fully predict this annual event due to the fluidness that comes along with it.
But that doesn’t change the fact that some people (such as myself) look at every mock draft that comes out (literally every single one). We like to see what others are thinking in regard to teams’ eventual decisions; we praise some predictions and mock others (no pun intended)
In his latest Football Morning In America column, King provided his take on what the New York Giants (and general manager Joe Schoen) may do with their Nos. 5 and 7 overall picks (which they own due to their putrid 2021 season and fantastic 2021 draft-day trade with Chicago).
The No. 5 overall prediction is standard. The prediction at No. 7, however, may surprise some, but certainly not all.
No. 5 — Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
King’s Take: “The legend is true: Accepted at Harvard and Yale, chose to go to the better football school. One of the brightest players to enter the draft in years, the athletic Ekwonu would be the kind of perfect piece to continue a crucial Giants’ rebuild on the line. A tandem of Andrew Thomas and Ekwonu at left and right tackle—if Thomas continues his progress (two sacks allowed in 800 snaps in 2021)—could give Daniel Jones a real chance to show he deserves the Giants’ QB job.”
Our Take: So first off, I had no idea Ekwonu was accepted at two of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world — that is insane. I couldn’t even get into UConn (no shade on UConn — go Huskies).
I’ve said it from the beginning — if the Giants are to keep their two first-round picks, they must address the offensive line with the first one. The Panthers own the No. 6 pick and could be drafting a tackle with that selection unless they look to replace Sam Darnold right then and there. With various question marks surrounding the offensive line (and, not to mention, Daniel Jones), the Giants must fill that glaring vacancy.
Whether they wish to take an edge rusher or cornerback at No. 7, the Giants must take the best available tackle at No. 5. King has Alabama tackle Evan Neal going to the Texans at No. 3, so the Giants drafting Ekwonu would make complete sense.
No. 7 — Trade with Chargers, receive No. 17 pick and 2023 first- & sixth-round picks
King’s Take: “Chargers deal the 17th pick in this draft, plus 2023 first- and sixth-round picks, for this choice. Wild guess on my part. Giants don’t want to make this pick—they want an extra first-rounder in 2023 in case they need ammo to go get a quarterback, or simply for depth in a draft likely to be stronger in the first round. The Chargers want a long-term starter opposite young Rashawn Slater. Works for both teams—except the Giants certainly would prefer dealing for a worse team’s top pick in 2023. The Chargers’ pick could be in the mid-twenties or lower. The Giants could also try to engage Pittsburgh (20th overall this year) if the Steelers are quarterback-smitten … because Pittsburgh would likely have a better first-round pick in 2023 than the Chargers would.”
Our Take: I don’t hate it! Trust me, I really don’t. Just as long as the Giants would be drafting a tackle before this.
New York could still acquire an edge rusher (which it certainly needs) later in the first round. Not to mention, gaining an extra first-round pick for next year would be crucial, especially when you consider Daniel Jones’ lack of development up to this point.
Unless he’s incredible in year four, DJ won’t be a Giant in 2023. Big Blue may need to look for his successor in next year’s draft, and having two opening-round picks will provide them options.
King does mention the Chargers’ 2023 first-round pick (that would be heading to the Giants) might land in the mid-twenties. But the pair of first-rounders could at least provide the Giants with the flexibility to trade up.
And hey, who knows? Maybe the Giants will be even worse in 2022 and end up with a top-three pick, or maybe the top overall selection? The bar is truly so low at this point.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY