With the 2022 NFL Draft quickly approaching, the New York Giants are gearing up to add multiple impact players in the first round. Of course, there is a chance they elect to trade back and gather more draft capital, but a dream scenario has been floated on social media the past few days, which would upgrade both sides of the ball and provide ample protection for Daniel Jones.
Based on the recent moves from GM Joe Schoen, it’s clear management has focused on rebuilding the offensive line, but right tackle remains a significant need. The expectation is they will target a player to fill the void with one of their two first round picks, but which of the top three tackles is most preferable?
Some might say Ikem Ekwonu out of NC State is a perfect solution given his ability to play guard and tackle. However, Alabama OT Evan Neal has the highest ceiling of any tackle in the draft given his unbelievable athleticism and power.
The dream scenario for the New York Giants:
5th overall: OT Evan Neal
Evan Neal is a freak of nature with almost unimaginable size and strength. Standing at 6’7″ and 337 pounds, Neal is projected as a Day 1 starter. Having started for three years with Alabama, one of college football’s most NFL-ready programs, he has the measurable’s and pedigree to make an impact immediately.
Neal projects as a starting left tackle, but he exercised on the right side during his Pro Day, showing versatility. In fact, Neal believes he could also kick into guard if need be, giving him even more value.
“You can pretty much plug me in anywhere other than center and I’ll be able to come in and make an impact,” Neal said, via Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com.
LT Evan Neal going through drills here at Alabama’s Pro Day. He did not participate in drills at the Combine. pic.twitter.com/mXK186FflZ
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) March 30, 2022
The Giants landing Neal at 5th overall would be an absolute miracle. It is unlikely, but hype building around quarterbacks could see him drop a few spots. Some teams have Ekwonu graded higher, but Neal has experience over college’s best talent, which is why I have him graded as the top tackle in the draft.
7th overall: Kayvon Thibodeaux
The Giants could decide that Cincinnati corner Sauce Gardner is the pick here, but landing Thibodeaux wouldn’t be a bad move either. The Oregon stand-out pass rusher has arguably the most upside of any edge defender in the draft class aside from Aiden Hutchinson out of Michigan. Thibodeaux’s statistics don’t jump off the page, collecting only seven sacks last year, but he is an elite pass rusher with a myriad of developed move and a speed/strength combination.
Pairing Thibodeaux with Azeez Ojulari would give the Giants one of the most highly touted young outside linebacker units in football. Having two players on cost controlled contracts is another enticing variable to consider, especially since high end edge defenders are one of the most expensive positions.
Landing Neal and Thibodeaux in the same draft is the dream scenario if Big Blue decides to stay put in the first round, laying the foundation on both sides of the football for the future.