The ESPN analyst has general manager Joe Schoen landing a pair of linemen — one on each side of the ball — with his pair of top-10 picks. Kiper has the Giants taking N.C. State’s Ikem Ekwonu — the first offensive lineman off the board in his mock — at No. 5.
If the board shakes out this way, the Giants would have to be thrilled to get their pick of the top two offensive tackles. I have Ekwonu just slightly over Evan Neal, but it’s tough to go wrong with either — they are my Nos. 2 and 3 prospects in this class. Ekwonu answered every question about his pass-protection ability last season. If left tackle Andrew Thomas keeps improving, these two could form one of the NFL’s best bookend pairings.
Kiper then has the Giants grabbing a bit of a surprise name at No. 7: Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson. Johnson was only a full-time starter for one season, so he would be a bit of a gamble to some.
The Giants can get their tackle at No. 5 and then focus on their defense, which allowed 4.7 yards per play last season (31st in the NFL). Johnson had 12 sacks last season and was one of the most impressive prospects at the Senior Bowl in January. He already has a few veteran pass-rush moves and can be an instant starter. He also played a lot of outside linebacker for the Seminoles, so he has some versatility in Wink Martindale’s defense. And if you’re keeping track, this makes four edge rushers in the top seven picks.
The Giants then close out Kiper’s two-round mock by finally adding some secondary help and grabbing Baylor safety Jalen Pitre at No. 36.
This makes five safeties off the board in the top 36 picks. Pitre was stellar against the run last season; he had 20 run stops, according to ESPN Stats & Info, which were the most by any FBS defensive back. He impressed teams at the Senior Bowl. The Giants could target a wide receiver here, depending on how the board falls. The 6-foot-3 George Pickens (Georgia) could make sense.