What should the Giants do if the top tackles are off the board at 5 and 7?

new york giants, joe schoen

The New York Giants are in need of offensive line upgrades. It is widely expected that the team will use one of their two top-ten draft picks on an offensive tackle. Thankfully, this year’s NFL Draft class is loaded with offensive tackle talent at the top.

Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu are the consensus top-two tackles in this year’s class. Giants fans are praying that one of these two beasts lands in their team’s lap at five overall. But if they don’t? Attention will likely be turned towards the best defender available. The Giants could come back around for a tackle two picks later at number seven. But the expectation is for the Carolina Panthers to take the best offensive tackle available at six overall. 

With no premiere tackle to select at five or seven, what would the Giants’ strategy become?

Best players available

In all likelihood, the scenario where the Giants strike out on the draft’s top tackles is one in which they land one of the best players in this year’s class. Elite prospects like Kyle Hamilton and Kayvon Thibedoux could become realistic options at picks five and seven. If Joe Schoen is in the mood to “stick and pick,” then he can’t go wrong when selecting the best player available when the Giants are on the clock.

Some might even argue that an offensive tackle will still be the best prospect available. Charles Cross and Trevor Penning are flying up draft boards after impressive outings at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. However, many believe that these two prospects are great first-round options, but more value could be extracted inside the top ten.

Trading back

Charles Cross and Trevor Penning are bound to become first-round draft picks in April. But are they worthy of becoming top-ten draft picks? The current draft projections usually place Cross and Penning inside the second ten picks of the first round, not the first ten picks. New York has two top-ten picks but could target an offensive tackle outside of the top-ten with a trade-down scenario.

Giants fans should be familiar with the benefits of trading down in the first round of the draft. Last year, the Giants moved down from eleven to twenty, selected a dynamic playmaker in Kadarius Toney, while also fielding an additional first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. That pick is now the seventh overall selection.

Trading down means accumulating valuable assets. The draft, as Joe Schoen describes it, is a crapshoot. More throws at the dartboard mean more chances of hitting on a draft pick. The Giants could theoretically move out of the top ten, find their offensive tackle, and gain additional draft picks to fill out the rest of their roster.

OT in Round Two

If the Giants are unable to draft an offensive tackle in the first round, they will have the chance to secure one in the middle rounds. One exciting day-two prospect is Max Mitchell from Louisiana. Mitchell balled out at the 2022 Senior Bowl and could present himself as a secure option on the second day of this year’s draft.

The Giants’ main mission in this year’s draft should be to fix their offensive line. But the best teams in the NFL do not build their teams strictly through the first round of the draft. It is equally important to find offensive linemen on days two and three of the draft.