The New York Giants are sitting comfortably with two top-ten picks in the first round of the upcoming 2022 NFL draft. These two draft picks are providing the Giants with a lot of flexibility in this year’s draft. The team has the opportunity to address major positions of needs with top prospects in this year’s class or trade down to acquire more draft capital. The class does happen to be rich in the Giants’ biggest needs, though, with offensive tackle and edge rusher talents loading the top of the draft board. One under-discussed edge rusher product could sneak into play at seven overall for the Giants. FSU edge rusher Jermaine Johnson stood out at the Senior Bowl and has seen his draft stock rise in recent weeks.
Joe Marino of The Draft Network recently published a new mock draft. In this mock, the Giants come away with an offensive tackle and an edge rusher. However, it is not the edge rusher that Giants fans have had their eyes on, Kayvon Thibodeaux. Instead, the Giants land a home-run in tackle Ikem Ekwonu at five overall. Then, they snag that Senior Bowl standout Jermaine Johnson at seven overall. Thibodeaux was off the board at four overall in this mock draft, leaving Jermaine Johnson as the best edge rusher available. If the Giants have to settle for Jermaine Johnson, would they really be settling? Or should the Giants actually be targeting Jermaine Johnson in the top ten?
What could Jermaine Johnson bring to the Giants?
The Giants need an upgrade in the pass-rushing department. Azeez Ojulari is a promising young edge rusher on one end of the tackles, but New York needs to add another talent opposite of the Georgia product. Jermaine Johnson out of FSU could fit this bill. Johnson is generating buzz as a potential top-ten draft selection after an impressive spring. This could be a scenario where need meets value for the Giants.
Jermaine Johnson was described as the “biggest winner” from the first couple of days of Senior Bowl practices this year. He turned heads all week long and made every list of standouts.
Jermaine Johnson has been cooking at the @seniorbowl, his stock is definitely rising. Right here uses a counter swipe to win inside. pic.twitter.com/uCETuB8Tb3
— Leger Douzable (@LegerDouzable) February 3, 2022
Jermaine Johnson has a very quick first step as a pass-rusher, a trait that will make him coveted by NFL teams. But what makes Johnson an even more impressive prospect is his advancement as a run-defender. He knows how to set the edge and make an impact in run defense. PFF projects Johnson’s role in the NFL to be that of an edge setter, a “defensive end who profiles best in the run game.” Jermaine will eat tight ends alive on the edge.
But of course, the reason Jermaine Johnson is getting top-ten buzz is his pass-rushing potential. The Florida State Seminole totaled 11.5 sacks in 12 games in his 2021 senior year. Johnson’s productivity as a pass-rusher combined with his prowess as a run-defender makes him an attractive first-round prospect. At 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, Jermaine Johnson has the ideal physical traits to be an NFL-caliber edge rusher. The New York Giants would be getting a day-one impact edge rusher with Jermaine Johnson if they do indeed draft him with one of their first-round picks.