With the NFL Draft quickly approaching on Thursday, the New York Giants are in a great spot with tons of leverage holding the 5th and 7th overall picks. Either they can look to move back and acquire more draft capital, as new general manager Joe Schoen indicated during his most recent press conference, or they can stay put and take the best player available approach.
Either way, the Giants will have two impact players on Day 1 or more capital to utilize down the road. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at a mock draft that is seemingly more realistic with every passing day.
New York Giants Mock Draft Rounds 1-2:
5.) Alabama OT – Evan Neal
There is plenty of reason to believe that Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal will be available with the 5th overall selection.
With teams extremely high on Ikem Ekwonu and Charles Cross, the Giants will have their fair opportunity to land a right tackle for the future. Neal, luckily, has experience at right tackle, which is the position they’re looking to plug.
Last season, he enjoyed 1073 total snaps, including 650 pass-blocking. Neal is a dominant run blocker and well-rounded player, but team’s like the increased upside with Ekwonu and Cross.
At 6’7″ and 350 pounds, Neal is a physical specimen that ran a faster 40-yard dash time than Ekwonu at 30-pounds heavier. Most of his struggles come in the form of fundamentals or understanding plays as they unfold. More experience and good coaching should iron out any deficiencies in his game, making him an easy selection for the Giants.
7.) Cincinnati CB – Sauce Gardner
Next on the list is Sauce Gardner out of Cincinnati, who enjoyed 968 snaps last year, including 482 in coverage. Gardner allowed a 50% completion rate for 131 yards and zero touchdowns. There’s a reason to believe that Gardner is a perfect fit for Wink Martindale’s system, which demands great cornerback play in a heavy Cover 1 scheme with an aggressive mentality.
Having a young talented corner to pair with Adoree Jackson, assuming the Giants trade or cut James Bradberry, would be excellent. Featuring great length and instinct, Sauce has the potential to be the best defensive back in the class, despite teams falling in love with Derek Stingley as the draft approaches.
36.) Oklahoma EDGE – Nik Bonitto
In the 2nd round, the Giants look to address EDGE rusher after skipping out with one of their two first-round picks. With Martindale loving speed off the line of scrimmage, Oklahoma stand-out pass rusher Nick Bonitto would fit the bill perfectly. Enjoying 264 pass-rush snaps last season, Bonitto tallied 7.0 sacks and 15 tackles for loss.
Bonitto has explosive speed off the edge, putting quarterbacks in immediate distress and forcing premature decisions. If the Giants can curate pressure immediately, the cornerbacks don’t have to stick in coverage as long. The problem with Martindale’s system is that the longer the defensive backs are forced to stay back in coverage, the more difficult it becomes to lock down receivers. Having speed off the edge is essential, and Bonitto offers that and more.