The New York Giants are in a phenomenal position in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. Containing two top seven picks, they have a chance to bolster both sides of the trenches. The team desperately needs to inject a right tackle into the mix, and a high-profile pass rusher with elite upside would be nice as well.
Luckily for the Giants, they will have a guaranteed opportunity at one of the top-5 prospects in this year’s draft class, making things even more exciting regarding a foundational rebuild from new management.
There are several different ways Big Blue can go to upgrade the roster, but at this point in time, there is confusion as to whether a quarterback will go in the top five. Many have Oregon star pass rusher, Kayvon Thibodeaux, dropping to the Giants, who sent new GM Joe Schoen, and more to his Pro Day this weekend.
The probability of the Giants landing Aiden Hutchinson out of Michigan is next to none, but teams have the top three offensive tackles graded interchangeably.
The Giants are guaranteed a top-5 prospect in the NFL Draft:
1.) Aidan Hutchinson
2.) Evan Neal
3.) Kayvon Thibodeaux
4.) Ikem Ekwonu
5.) Charles Cross
Walking away with one of these five players immediately gives the Giants in Day 1 starter on either side of the ball.
Of course, there’s a drop-off at some positions, but they all share a similar attribute, elite upside. For the sake of realism, let’s assume that Aidan Hutchinson and Evan Neal are off the board, but the remaining three top-five prospects are all in play for the Giants at 5th overall.
When looking objectively at the prospects available at right tackle specifically, Cross might fit the bill better than Ekwonu, given his phenomenal pass blocking traits. By most accounts, Cross is the best pass-blocking tackle in the draft class, but he’s a bit underpowered, standing at 6’5” and 305 pounds.
Cross is an ideal pass-protecting tackle right out of the gate with quick feet and excellent recovery capabilities. He needs to add a bit more strength and power at the point of attack with his run blocking.
Alternatively, Ekwonu also presents great upside, but he is a more dominant run blocker at this point in his development. His ability to kick inside to guard is also beneficial, but the Giants desperately need a great pass blocking RT, especially if they want to fuel growth with quarterback Daniel Jones.
The ideal draft would provide the Giants the best tackle on the board at 5th overall and the best pass rusher available at 7th overall. Luckily, the Carolina Panthers are in desperate need of a quarterback, which gives the Giants a bit of leverage if they want to sit pretty and go for the OT route at 5.
Nonetheless, it is exhilarating to see the possibilities for the Giants a few weeks before the draft.