joe schoen, brian daboll
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All of that Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neal talk may be for naught. The Giants are said to be enamored with the other high-profile offensive lineman in this year’s NFL draft, Mississippi State’s Charles Cross.

From ESPN:

Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross has been making the rounds on pre-draft visits, and one team has shown a ton of interest, according to sources: the Giants. With pick Nos. 5 and 7 in the first round, they might miss out on top tackles Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neal, which could put them in prime position to draft the former Bulldog tackle.

One source I spoke to noted the Giants “love” Cross at right tackle, where he has not started a game in college but has spent considerable time working out this offseason.

Couple of thoughts here. The Giants could certainly just be a big fan of Cross. It’s not like he is coming from out of nowhere; he has been projected as a top-half of the draft guy all along. He just has not been considering at the same level as Ekwonu and Neal.

That being said, it seems unlikely — not impossible though — that Ekwonu and Neal would both be off the board at No. 5. And if the Giants stay there, it would seem obvious they are going to take an offensive lineman unless something freaky happens, like Aidan Hutchinson falling to them.

Which brings us to the next point: If general manager Joe Schoen is as motivated to trade the No. 5 pick as recent reports have indicated he is, then the Cross interest makes a great deal of sense. The odds of Ekwonu and Neal being gone at No. 7 are higher, and Cross is more likely to be in play if the Giants end up with a pick somewhere in the middle of the first round after all the wheeling and dealing.


James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.