If the New York Giants want to get the most out of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, given both are on the team for the 2022 season, they need to bolster their offensive line.
With Dave Gettleman failing to piece together a competent line, new general manager Joe Schoen is tasked with solving the evergreen problem. Luckily, Big Blue has ample draft capital to spend this off-season, providing them a perfect opportunity to reinforce the trenches.
However, the Giants could look for draft value in 2022, especially after Schoen hinted at his desire to acquire more capital.
“I would say where we are right now, as many at-bats as you can get, as many swings as you can get, I think that’s important where we are as a team,” he said, via the team’s official website. “Again, I don’t think you’re ever one player away. But if it’s the second round and there’s a player you gave a first-round grade to and you think that highly of him, then I think you go get him.
New York Giants 1st round mock draft:
5th Overall: Ikem Ekwonu – NC State
The Giants stay simple with the 5th overall pick in this mock draft, drafting NC State tackle Ikem Ekwonu. At 6’4″ and 320 pounds, Ekwonu is a physical specimen that hand-delivers toughness and aggressiveness in the trenches.
Ekwonu is a dominant run-blocker at this point in his career but has the necessary athleticism to become a stellar pass blocker as well with the proper development. As a wrestler in high school and lineage of elite athletes, the Giants would be getting not only a great person but a player with Pro Bowl upside.
The Draft Network has Ekwonu fitting a wide zone rushing attack as his preferred scheme fit, which is exactly the system the Giants should be running if they plan to stick with Saquon Barkley next season.
7th Overall: Trade back with Washington (acquire 11th overall and 42nd overall)
With the 7th overall pick, the Giants could stay put and select the best player available, but they can add far more capital by moving back.
In this scenario, Washington wants to grab their quarterback of choice, moving up and giving the Giants the 42nd overall pick in the process to get the deal done. While the draft value chart may suggest that Washington’s giving up a bit too much value, the value of landing a quarterback supersedes that suggest weight.
11th Overall: Trade back with New Orleans Saints (acquire 18th overall, 49th overall pick)
The Giants have plenty of opportunities to trade back in this draft, and the New Orleans Saints fit the bill perfectly as a team that needs a quarterback to build around. The Giants manage to cash in once again, moving back courtesy of the Saints, who give up their 2nd round pick as well.
After trading back twice, big Bue walks away with two additional 2nd round picks and the 18th overall selection.
18th Overall: Andrew Booth Jr. – Clemson
With the 18th selection, the Giants end up taking Clemson corner Andrew Booth Jr. With new head coach Brian Daboll hiring Wink Martindale to serve as his new defensive coordinator, the Giants are expected to transition to a man coverage, blitz heavy scheme. Current starting corner James Bradberry doesn’t fit this mold well, so the Giants release him, saving $12 million in the process.
Because of that move, the Giants have a need at corner with Aaron Robinson and Rodarius Williams unproven. Booth projects as a starting outside corner in a man coverage scheme. As a former five-star recruit and academic stand-out, Booth has the football IQ and competitive style to become a quality corner at the NFL level.
Joe Schoen has already indicated that cornerback is a valuable position, especially with cost control on a rookie contract. Parting ways with Bradberry opens up an opportunity, and Booth has the capabilities to be a great player under Martindale’s leadership.