New York Giants NFL NFL Draft

2022 NFL Draft: The Best Player for the Giants to Target in Round 1

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The New York Football Giants have the 5th and 7th picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. This is a weird draft class. There are five extremely talented players that will go super early and then the talent dips to a pool of first round talented players. That means the 7th overall pick isn’t as valuable as it would be in other seasons, which is why the Giants likely would prefer to move back. With that being said, Joe Schoen does have 7 players he likes enough to draft at each spot. So, let’s start by looking at the 5th pick.

The Fifth Draft Pick

There are 6 reasonable options for the Giants with the 5th pick in the NFL Draft. Any of these 6 options land the Giants an A grade or better in my book:

1) Trading Back
2) EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
3) OT Evan Neal, Alabama
4) OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
5) EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
6) CB Sauce Gardner, Cincinati

Trading back: The Giants have made it very clear that they’re not in on any of the QB prospects in this class. John Mara has said on multiple occasions that Daniel Jones is the starter. The Giants key decision makers, Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll, haven’t been going to the QB pro days. That means that trading back from 5 to land assets to get a QB in 2023 is going to the most important thing the organization can do in this draft. Schoen made it clear that the Giants are listening to offers for both picks. A trade back from 5 that lands the Giants a 2023 first round draft pick would be an A+ move.

The players: These are the 5 “blue chip” players in this draft class. They’re the elite guys and the Giants are guaranteed to land one of them with the 5th pick. At this point, it seems like Aidan Hutchinson’s floor is the 2nd overall pick so if he were to somehow make it to 5, the Giants would likely pounce on the chance to get him. Kayvon Thibodeaux is extremely talented but there are some concerns that Thibodeaux will be more concerned about his brand than he will be about football (they’re stupid concerns but concerns nonetheless). The two tackles, Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu, seem like the most likely candidates to be the 5th pick if one of them were to fall to 5. Sauce Gardner seems like the consolation prize right now. I think the team is secretly hoping he’ll fall to the 7th overall pick but if the other 4 players are all gone, and the team can’t trade out of the 5th pick, I think Gardner is a real option at 5.

The Seventh Draft Pick

This is where things get messy. After the 5 players listed above, there’s just a lot of similar valued players. No one really sticks out and the top of this draft is just not strong.

1) Trading back
2) Any player listed in the 5th spot
3) OT Charlie Cross, Miss St
4) EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia
5) EDGE Jermaine Johnson, FSU
6) WRs Garrett Wilson, OSU, and Jameson Williams, Alabama

Trading back: Again, Joe Schoen is going to try to trade back. Big time. Finding a trade partner is going to be difficult but if a team wants to pick a QB, they’re likely going to want to jump ahead of the Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, and Washington Commanders.

The players: Any player listed as an option for the 5th pick would be a slam dunk choice at 7th overall. If the Giants somehow land 2 of those players – the Joe Schoen train will be full steam ahead.

Charlie Cross: Cross was the best pass blocker in the class last year in college football. The issue with Cross is that he doesn’t have the upside that guys like Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu have. The floor is super high, but the athleticism is just average at best. I think the Giants likely grab a tackle 5th overall rather than 7th overall, and Cross could be the guy at 5 if the other 2 tackles are gone.

Travon Walker: Every draft has a Travon Walker. He’s the super athlete, do it all guy, who had limited production as a college player. Walker was used all over the place by Georgia – as an edge rusher, as an IDL, and as a LB. He tested off the charts, running a 4.51 40 yard dash at 272lbs. The college production just wasn’t there. Walker had 9.5 sacks in three years at Georgia. Walker is a freak of nature as an athlete and his best football should be ahead of him.

Jermaine Johnson: Jermaine Johnson is one of the best pure pass rushers in the draft class. After a 5-sack season with Georgia in 2020 where he wasn’t getting playing time, Johnson transferred to FSU and put a on show in 2021 with 11.5 sacks. Johnson is still a developing player, especially as a run defender, but he has the skillset to be a top pass rusher in the league.

Garrett Wilson/Jameson Williams: Before you get upset about Wilson at 7th overall, let’s remember that you draft a player for the next 4 seasons. Not next season. Let’s look at the Giants weapons:

1) Kenny Golladay: Can be cut to save $6.7M in 2023 or $14.6M in 2024.
2) Kadarius Toney: Wasn’t drafted by this regime, potentially on the trade block, and played just 10 games last year.
3) Sterling Shepard: FA after 2022
4) Darius Slayton: FA after 2022
5) Saquon Barkley: FA after 2022

Suddenly, a weapon is a major need for the Giants. Garrett Wilson is the new-aged NFL wide receiver. He’s route running is a work of art, and he creates a lot of separation. Jameson Williams is a burner and a YAC king. Both of these guys project as future top WRs in the league, a position that is becoming increasingly expensive. Getting top WR on a rookie deal is a super budget friendly way to build your team.

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