With the 2022 NFL Draft just a month away, the New York Giants are gearing up to inject two playmakers in the first round. Having attended the Pro Days of Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett, management will likely leverage their opportunity to add more draft capital, especially with teams who are in need of a quarterback.
However, there’s always the possibility that new GM Joe Schoen stays put, selecting two players who can quickly upgrade both sides of the football.
The draft could unfold various different ways, with a string of offensive tackles being selected early on, leaving the Giants with a big decision to make. In addition, there are several high profile pass rushers who could fit the bill, notably Kayvon Thibodeaux and Jermaine Johnson out of Florida state.
The Giants land two immediate impact players at 5th and 7th overall in Mep Kiper’s latest mock draft:
5.) OT Evan Neal
The Giants, the other team with two top-10 picks, haven’t been as active in free agency as new general manager Joe Schoen gets the team back into decent salary-cap shape. That doesn’t mean they don’t have needs, though, particularly at edge rusher and offensive tackle. With the way the board has fallen in this projection, they can get Day 1 starters at both spots.
Neal is arguing the top tackle in the draft class, providing the Giants with a quality RT opposite Andrew Thomas on the left side. Neal has essential experience at the position with Alabama, one of college’s most highly touted programs and NFL ready teams.
While it seems unlikely the Giants are able to snag Neal with the 5th overall pick, anything is possible with values fluctuating.
7.) EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux
This pick is logical for the team and for the prospect. The Giants’ top pass-rusher last season was rookie Azeez Ojulari, who led the team with eight sacks, and they have to improve on the edge. This is their best chance to add a young, talented defensive end. They can afford to use this pick on Thibodeaux, who has a high ceiling but was inconsistent in 2021.
If Big Blue is able to land Thibodeaux with the 7th overall pick, it would be an absolute miracle. Reports have indicated that Thibodeaux could drop a few spots, providing Wink Martindale with a perfect scheme fit at outside linebacker.
Last season, Thibodeaux finished with 7.0 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 49 total tackles, and two forced fumbles. At 6’5″ and 250 pounds, the Oregon standout is ready to make the transition to the NFL, crushing his interview process.
Kayvon has the charisma and confidence that is required to play in a big city like New York, making him a potential steal at this spot.