The Giants have three major needs in the 2022 NFL Draft: Right tackle, edge rusher and cornerback.
They only have two first-round picks though. Barring a trade, the Giants may need to rely on their lone second-round selection to complete their checklist. And that’s what CBS Sports has them doing in its most recent mock draft:
No. 5: OT Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
“It goes without saying that all of these picks are dependent upon the choices made prior to New York’s picks. Neal is an intriguing option for the Giants because of his sheer size. With Andrew Thomas showing improvement this season, Neal could be the bookend tackle that the team has coveted. If the Giants are able to lock down those spots for a decade, then it makes the odds of repairing the interior offensive line feel far less daunting.”
Analysis: If the Giants aren’t trading back from No. 5, they must focus on the offensive line before doing anything else in this draft. They need to put quarterback Daniel Jones in the best position possible in order to legitimately evaluate him. Protecting him on the exterior of the line should assist with that task.
No. 7: CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati
“[I]f the Giants intend to keep James Bradberry, then draft one of those remaining edge rushers here, whether that ends up being Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson II, Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux or Georgia’s Travon Walker. If the team parts with Bradberry to conserve salary cap space, then draft Gardner. As it stands, it seems as though the Giants will be parting with the very talented but expensive cornerback.
Gardner is a confident prospect that has allowed zero touchdowns in his career. He provides great length and physicality down the field.”
Analysis: If edge rusher isn’t the route to take at No. 7, and there are no trade-back options that come to fruition, then this team should focus on the secondary. Bradberry’s future is unclear as he may be a trade piece either before or during the upcoming draft.
In the event Bradberry is not in East Rutherford for 2022, the Giants will need a day-one starter opposite Adoree’ Jackson. Gardner is the top cornerback in this draft and would be a perfect addition to Wink Martindale’s defense, especially considering the passing league the modern NFL has become.
No. 36: DE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State
“Ebiketie is not the prototypical edge rusher in regards to size but he is a high activity player. Wiry strong, he showed a little more speed to power this year while squeezing run gaps and maintaining gap discipline. The Temple transfer has good balance and was a highly productive player for the Nittany Lions last fall. In his final season, he produced 9.5 sacks.”
Analysis: The Giants bypassed the selection of an edge rusher in this mock’s first round, so it would make sense to take one early in the second. Ebiketie was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last season. He would be a beneficial addition to a pass rush that already includes Azeez Ojulari and Leonard Williams.
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