This week, there have been many conflicting reports regarding the New York Giants and their 2022 NFL draft plans. Ideas suggesting a trade back in the first round have been presented, but there’s also a good possibility they stay put and take impact players with the 5th and 7th overall picks.
New general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll understand that the roster has plenty of needs, notably at right tackle, pass rusher, and potentially in the secondary with the expected departure of James Bradberry.
This year, containing nine selections, Schoen has plenty of draft capital to allocate but multiple positions of need in the first two days of the draft.
Final New York Giants mock draft:
5.) Alabama OT – Evan Neal
With the 5th overall pick, the Giants elect to draft Evan Neal out of Alabama. The 6’8″, 345-pound behemoth has more right tackle experience than the other top 2 OTs, Ikem Ekwonu and Charles Cross (combined).
There is no doubt that Neal has tremendous upside in the NFL, especially given his phenomenal size. Last year, he enjoyed 1073 overall snaps, including 650 in pass protection and 423 in run blocking. He allowed two sacks, six quarterback hits, and 11 hurries over that sample size, which are pretty phenomenal numbers given the number of reps.
The Alabama product’s physicality gives him instant impact traits in the run game, but he has the upside to become a great pass protector as well. Pairing him with Andrew Thomas would give Daniel Jones a fighting chance in 2022.
7.) Florida State EDGE – Jermaine Johnson
With the 7th overall pick, we were stuck between Derek Stingley Jr. out of LSU and Jermaine Johnson from Florida State. Johnson, ultimately, gained our favor given his positive health history. Over 736 snaps in 2021, Johnson tallied 11.5 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss, and 70 total tackles.
Johnson immediately provides the Giants with a run-stopping edge defender, but his pass-rush upside is also notable. At 24 years old, there is concern that Johnson may have already hit his physical peak. He’s a bit old for a rookie, but I don’t think the Giants hold much stock in that argument.
The Giants are looking for reliable players, and Johnson averaged 61 snaps per game last year, meaning he doesn’t come off the field very often. He is a three-down defensive lineman, and he’s versatile with his capabilities, playing in the 3–4 and 4–3.
36.) Wisconsin LB – Leo Chenal
There has been a lot of hype regarding Wisconsin linebacker Leo Chenal and the Giants in the second round. Chenal is a physical bruiser who could fit perfectly next to Blake Martinez. Considering Wink Martindale loves to play an aggressive blitz-heavy style, Chenal can be routinely used in that way. Standing at 6’3″ and 250 pounds, he is a brick of a human being and bounces off blockers at the second level.
The main concern is Chenal doesn’t fare well in coverage, so the Giants will have to be careful how they use him. They can’t expect him to man up against running backs or tight ends, but Martindale’s system rarely operates in that way, to begin with.
67.) Kentucky IOL – Darian Kinnard
With the 67th overall pick, the Giants go with Darian Kinnard out of Kentucky. Last season, Kinnard enjoyed 825 total snaps, giving up one sack and two quarterback hits. By alignment, Kinnard spent every season at right tackle but projects as an offensive guard at 6’5″ and 328 pounds. However, having that versatility is beneficial, and the Giants may like that about him.
Another factor to love is that Kinnard is a dominant run blocker. If the Giants really want to focus on extrapolating on Saquon Barkley’s skill set, having a powerful front five makes a ton of sense. At the NFL level, Darian will be forced to take on very physical interior defenders, and thankfully he’s known for throwing around 300-pound human beings.
81.) Ohio State TE – Jeremy Ruckert
After allowing Evan Engram to walk in free agency this off-season and cutting Kyle Rudolph for financial reasons, the Giants will likely target a tight end in the draft. Now that we are in the fourth round, the Giants have a few options on the board, but Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert stands out as a potential fit with new TE coach Andy Bischoff.
Ruckert was a hidden force at OSU, not being used frequently in the passing game, but he has phenomenal hands and upside as a blocker. He tallied 309 yards and three touchdown receptions last year.
Ruckert is known for his run blocking, capable of moving defenders at the point of attack. That is an extremely exciting attribute considering he also has underrated receiving abilities.
Reminiscing about Engram’s drops in the middle of the field, Ruckert dominated that portion, giving Daniel Jones a great security blanket underneath.
112.) Alabama RB – Brian Robinson Jr.
There have been reports that the Giants are intrigued by Georgia running back James Cook, but there’s an argument to be made that drafting a bruising option like Brian Robinson out of Alabama could be just as beneficial. In short-yardage situations, Robinson could be a great fit for Big Blue. His big frame also makes him a solid pass-protector, a category Barkley struggles with routinely.
Robinson recorded 1343 yards rushing last year and 14 touchdowns, meaning he’s accomplished back of the collegiate level.
147.) Clemson WR – Justyn Ross
Justyn Ross is an interesting player who had his best season as a freshman but failed to improve in future campaigns. Last year, he only recorded 514 yards receiving and three touchdowns, but he has a good frame at 6’4″ and 210 pounds. Ross isn’t limited by a strict route tree, and inconsistencies at quarterback disrupted his flow.
Looking at Kenny Golladay and his frame, the Giants, may be intrigued by Ross as a developmental prospect who might be able to fill the possession receiver role to supplement injury. Ross only dropped one pass last year, so he has solid hands.
173.) Sam Houston State CB – Zyon McCollum
Since we haven’t addressed the cornerback position in this draft, Sam Houston State DB Zyon McCollum is a nice developmental prospect to consider in the late rounds. At 6’2″ and 199 pounds, McCollum has a solid frame and plenty of experience as a five-year starter.
At the Senior Bowl, McCollum struggled against better competition, but he is an extraordinary athlete who could become a serviceable player if given the right coaching.
182.) Western Kentucky QB – Bailey Zappe
Not many players have thrown 62 touchdown passes and nearly 6,000 yards in a season, but Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe accomplished that last year. At 6’1″ and 220 pounds, Zappe isn’t the ideal quarterback regarding frame, but his statistics speak for themselves, and he is a well-tested quarterback at the collegiate level.
If the Giants find him on the board in the seventh round, taking a flyer on him isn’t a bad idea. Zappe understands leverage and has solid accuracy, completing nearly 70% of his passes last year. He doesn’t have the strongest arm and is limited with his mobility in the pocket, but with a good offensive line in front of him and time, he has the IQ to get the ball where it needs to go in the short to intermediate ranges.
At first glance, he feels like a knockoff Mac Jones.