The New York Giants have several different directions they can go in the 2022 NFL draft, but one thing is for sure, they desperately need to improve their offensive line. Hosting the 30th overall ranked pass blocking unit in 2021, the Giants have an easy decision to make early in the draft, but in Lance Zierlein’s mock, they actually move up to ensure they get the best player possible.
After Evan Neal is selected first overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Giants get spooked and move up to the number three spot, trading with the Houston Texans.
The Giants move up to land Ikem Ekwonu out of NC State, shoring up the right tackle spot opposite Andrew Thomas:
The Giants move up in a deal with the Texans to ensure they land Ekwonu. He would give the team a tackle/guard option with a nasty playing demeanor and huge upside.
Ekwonu is capable of playing both inside and out. He’s an advanced pass blocker coming out of NC State, offering Daniel Jones immediate protection at right tackle.
While Ekwonu predominantly plays left tackle, many players make the shift to the right side once they transition to the NFL. Ikem is believed to be a universal scheme fit, which is exactly what the Giants are looking for as they develop a new system around Jones under new head coach Brian Daboll.
After featuring Nate Solder and Matt Peart at RT in 2021, the Giants finally lock down a long-term solution with incredible upside.
Realistically, Ekwonu could be a Pro Bowl level player by year three, but if they can get average play out of him during his rookie season, Jones will see an astronomical leap in production, having been tormented with protection issues the last few seasons.
Nonetheless, the Giants still have several spots inside they need to fix, notably both guard positions and center with Nick Gates suffering a career-threatening injury last year.
With the 7th overall pick in Zierlein’s mock, the Giants end up snagging Kayvon Thibodeaux out of Oregon. As Zierlein mentions, new general manager Joe Schoen had previously spent two first-round picks in 2021 on defensive ends and their first pick in 2020 at the same position. Creating a pass rush is essential, especially after hiring Wink Martindale and his incredibly aggressive blitz-heavy scheme.
The Giants also landed assistant head coach and defensive line maestro Andrea Patterson from the Minnesota Vikings, directly responsible for the development of Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen. Allowing a coach like Patterson to get their hands on a player like Thibodeaux is exactly with a Giants are hoping for.
Big Blue would walk away with the top pass-blocking offensive tackle and arguably the best pass rusher in the draft class. To make matters even better, Thibodeaux is a perfect fit in their 3–4 scheme that features outside linebackers.