The New York Giants have a few big decisions to make in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. With plenty of smokescreen reports being released into the media, creating confusion among fans and analysts, new GM Joe Schoen can go in any direction.
Schoen has done a great job expressing a desire to execute multiple strategies, whether that be staying put and taking the best player available or trading back to acquire more draft capital for this year or next. At this point in time, nobody has any idea what Big Blue will do, despite rumors indicating they have interest in Mississippi State tackle Charles Cross.
However, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah pointed out two specific defensive players who could fit the bill perfectly for Wink Martindale’s system.
The first defensive impact player is Jermaine Johnson out of Florida State. At 6’5″ and 260 pounds, Johnson made the transition from Georgia to FSU, looking for a bigger role on defense. This past season, he played the 10th most snaps of any edge defender in the country, tallying 14 sacks, seven QB hits, 25 hurries, and 22 run stops.
As an athletic maestro that can make an impression in the run game immediately, Johnson has all the raw tools to become a phenomenal pass rusher at the next level. It’ll take him a bit of time to learn and adapt to the NFL, utilizing his hands more aggressively to shed blocks. However, for a player of his size, he has the adequate bend and creates great leverage.
“Jermaine Johnson makes a ton of sense to me with them. He’s big, now. He’s big and long, and he’s got some juice coming off the edge,” Jeremiah said. “That one kind of would make sense with matching what they’ve traditionally had where Wink has been.”
Jeremiah also suggests that Sauce Garner could be in the cards for the Giants, representing one of the best corners in the draft class.
The Cincinnati stand-out defensive back was a menace last season, standing at 6’3″ and 193 pounds. There is concern that Gardner could be a bit grabby as he adapts to the NFL, which could draw penalties. Physically, he features phenomenal length and wingspan, giving him the perfect traits to make plays in coverage.
With Wink playing an aggressive Cover 1 style of defense that relies on man coverage, Gardner seems like a perfect fit. He is an outstanding press man coverage corner with 851 snaps in that category. Last season, he allowed just a 50% completion rate for 131 yards and zero touchdowns. He also collected three interceptions. Considering Gardner allowed just 131 yards over 482 coverage snaps compared to his 221 yards allowed over 322 snaps in 2020, it is quite obvious why he’s regarded as one of the top corners in the draft class.
“That’s a player that I think Wink would fall in love with just with the range that he has,” Jeremiah said. “He’s just so good at finding and playing the football and taking it away. I would think that would be a favorite there for Wink.”