Photo: Gamecock Central, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Happy New Year folks, it’s already the year 2022 and with that means we are that much closer to the 2022 NFL Draft. Although it is early, the Giants seem to have at least one top 10 pick in the draft. It is yet another season where fans are searching for mock drafts as early as November and looking forward to hopefully any glimpse of hope. Here is my first full mock draft for the 2022 NFL Draft regarding the New York Football Giants.
1:5th Overall: Evan Neal, OT Alabama
Evan Neal is one of the top tackles in this draft. It would be no surprise the Giants would attempt to add a solid tackle to start opposite of Andrew Thomas. The Giants have potentially four backups starting on the 2021 offensive line. If they want to bring Daniel Jones back and Saquon Barkley, they need some protection.
1: 8th Overall: OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
The Giants hope that Nick Gates comes back strong and remains the starting center. Adding Kenyon Green would boost the interior of the line which has been an issue since releasing Kevin Zeitler. Will Hernandez continues to struggle. Kenyon Green explodes off the line of scrimmage and is able to get to the second level very well. Adding two solid offensive linemen can provide a spark in this Giants offense with finally having some ample protection for Jones and the running game.
2: 36th Overall: Christian Harris, LB Alabama
With questions regarding how Blake Martinez will recover, the Giants linebackers are very thin. Jaylon Smith, Reggie Ragland, and Benderick McKinney may not even be on the roster in 2022. As overlooked as this position may be, the Giants need to invest good talent here. Harris has quickness at this position but also provides tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage, something the Giants linebackers have struggled with since losing Martinez to the ACL injury.
3: 67th Overall: Nik Bonitto, EDGE Oklahoma
The Giants are still lacking a consistent pass rush, especially finishing with sacks. Last year’s draft pick Azeez Ojulari has had a stellar rookie season, having 8 sacks on the year. The Giants also claimed another pass rusher prior to the start of the regular season with Quincy Roche, another rookie who has shown flashes. The Giants are still going to need to provide talent in that area. He has 19.5 sacks in three seasons and has 33.5 tackles for loss. The Giants could insert Bonitto into a rotation at the edge position. With questions on whether Lorenzo Carter returns, this would be a secure selection.
3: 84th Overall: Jalen Wydermyer, TE Texas A&M
The Giants have probably seen the last of Evan Engram after a solid start to his career and then regressing ever since his rookie year. Kyle Rudolph may not be back either, with hardly any productivity since his signing. In three seasons, Jalen has 1,468 yards receiving, and 16 touchdowns. A big target in the redzone at 6’5, this could hopefully be a good option for the struggling Giants offense.
4: 110th Overall: Damone Clark, LB LSU
Many might say “another linebacker?”. Absolutely. The Giants may only have Tae Crowder returning from last year unless Martinez stays. Even if Martinez comes back, this selection is about the future of this position, as Martinez is not a long term solution. Clark has a career year with LSU in 2021, logging 135 total tackles, with 15 for loss and 5.5 sacks. That sounds like a Blake Martinez type of season. If Clark can be a tackling machine, that can fill the shoes of Martinez. Clark’s coverage skills may not be off the charts, but it would provide much needed depth and contribution to this position.
5: 145th Overall: Khalil Shakir, WR Boise State
The Giants may start next season without players like Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Johh Ross. Toney can’t stay healthy and Golladay has been a non-factor. Shakir has the potential to provide some spark after the catch. He is 6’0, 190 pounds and logged 2,878 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns with the Broncos. He also had a role in the ground game, rushing the ball 71 times for 414 yards and four touchdowns. This can be a player that has a significant role in the Giants offense that needs all the help they can get. Two weapons have been drafted so far with two offensive linemen to provide protection.
5: 172nd Overall: Brian Robinson Jr, RB Alabama
Saquon Barkley’s future with the Giants is in jeopardy. After coming off the ACL injury, it took time for him to start to look like the old Saquon that we know. He then has an ankle injury and has not looked the same since. The Giants have Booker, but for just the 2022 season. Robinson Jr had his best season in 2021 rushing for 1,268 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has 29 touchdowns in his college career total. The Giants drafted Gary Brightwell last season but he is primarily used for special teams. This very well could be Barkley’s replacement if he is not signed long-term.
6: 181st Overall: Ali Gaye, EDGE LSU
Gaye is not the super flashy edge rusher that the Giants would like to have, but he can play a pivotal role in the Giants defensive rotations. Gaye can line up on the outside or inside like Leonard Williams. In two seasons with LSU, Gaye has 12 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks to go along with 51 total tackles. Believe it or not, the Giants have depth at the edge position, but they are little pieces. Gaye will be someone that will be a rotational piece that can provide help at both the edge and interior of the defensive line.