Trade-back scenario could land Giants Florida State standout pass rusher and draft capital

jermaine johnson, giants, seminoles

The New York Giants spent the 51st overall pick on Georgia standout pass rusher Azeez Ojulari last year, solidifying one outside linebacker spot. However, the opposite side was manned by a carrousel of players, including Quincy Roche and Lorenzo Carter. Carter finished the years strong, but that won’t spur any hesitation from taking a pass rusher in the 2022 NFL Draft, even if extended this off-season.

While players like Kayvon Thibodeaux attract the headlines, one underrated pass rusher Big Blue could target in the 1st round is Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson.

Per The Draft Network, Johnson is a great prospect who excels in every facet, making him primes for the NFL transition:

There are very few limitations with Johnson’s game and he’s a balanced defender against the run and pass with appeal in any scheme. The biggest question Johnson had to answer in 2021 was what type of impact he could make in a featured role and he absolutely aced the test. Overall, Johnson has good size, athleticism, technique, and functional strength while playing the game with tremendous urgency and features a high football IQ. Johnson has the makings of an impact starter at the next level.

Simply said, Johnson is an impact player who dominated the Senior Bowl several weeks ago. Statistically, he finished the season with 11.5 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss, and 70 total tackles. He also curated two forced fumbles and recovered one of them.

The Giants desperately need an impact player who can stop the run efficiently but also rush the passer at a high level. Johnson, who stands at 6’5″ and 265 pounds, would be a scheme fit in either a 4–3 base game or a 3–4 system, which is what Wink Martindale plans to deploy moving forward.

The question for the Giants is, is Johnson worth being picked with the 7th overall pick? The answer is likely not. Before the Senior Bowl, Johnson was considered a second-round grade, but he catapulted his stock, which could land him in the middle first round. Grabbing Johnson would be a stellar move, but only in a trade-back scenario.

At No. 7, the Giants will likely have plenty of options on the board, including Notre Dame stand-out safety Kyle Hamilton or Thibodeaux, who has slipped a few spots in mock drafts lately.

Nonetheless, new general manager Joe Schoen has indicated that moving back is on his radar, especially since the team is preparing for a legitimate rebuild this upcoming season. The more draft picks, the more chances Schoen and management have at landing influential players for the future. That would suggest a trade-back is a productive move, which makes Johnson a legitimate target.

It is also important to note that Johnson isn’t only a dominant player on the field, but he also has leadership capabilities and intangibles that stand out in the locker room. Having dominant alpha male traits is exactly what the Giants are looking for in the upcoming draft class.

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