Plenty of mock drafts the off-season have sent Oklahoma pass-rusher Nik Bonitto to the New York Giants in the 2nd round. While many have Big Blue selecting Kayvon Thibodeaux out of Oregon, there is the possibility that a team selects him before the 5th overall pick.
If that is the case, the Giants would likely have to look to the 2nd round for their solution at edge rusher, which is where Bonitto comes into play. Last season with Oklahoma, the 6’3″, 248-pound defender tallied seven sacks, 15 tackles for loss, and 39 total tackles. He also picked up one forced fumble and two recoveries.
When looking at Bonitto as a pure prospect, he will likely require a few seasons to reach his potential, given he’s a bit undersized and needs to adapt to the NFL level.
At the Combine, Bonitto posted a 4.54 40-yard dash, 35.5 vertical jump, 7.07 three-cone drill, and 4.23 20-yard shuttle. With a quick and agile style, Bonitto has the ability to be a plus pass rusher off the edge, but he may struggle setting the edge in the running game early on in his career. He will have to find ways to use his quickness to dart back inside and overcome faster and stronger offensive tackles, similar to the struggles Azeez Ojulari had during his rookie season.
I waited entirely too long to watch Nik Bonitto (ED 11) pic.twitter.com/9ozjx4sFkA
— Draft Guy Jared (@DraftGuyJared) April 3, 2022
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein raved about Bonitto’s athletic style:
Undersized edge defender who plays in a slant-based scheme that makes evaluating his three-down value more difficult. Evaluating the pass-rush talent, on the other hand, is quite easy. He’s a wildly athletic rusher who blends get-off, stride length and flexibility into one alarming package for tackles trying to slow him down. Rush counters come instinctively and his ability to seamlessly transition his attack from outside to inside makes him a projectable rusher against athletic tackles as a pro. Teams will want him to get bigger, stronger and more assertive against the run as a 3-4 outside linebacker or he could be relegated to DPR (designated pass rusher) status.