The New York Giants won in Week 12 and improved their season record to 4-7.
But while that’s better than 3-7, certainly better than 3-8, and the Giants aren’t yet mathematically out of the playoff hunt, their hopes are pretty dim. In fact, the Giants are currently sitting pretty solidly in the top 10 of the 2022 NFL Draft order.
At least from a draft perspective, the good news is that neither the Giants nor the Chicago Bears’ Week 12 victories hurt the Giants’ draft slotting. As things stand now, the Giants hold the sixth and seventh overall picks?
Dane Brugler of the Athletic released his Mock Draft Version 1.0 (subscription required) on Tuesday morning. The mock has several surprises, ranging from Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson going first overall to Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Picket being the first quarterback off the board — at 10th overall — and Sam Howell going before Matt Corral and Malik Willis.
But what does Brugler do for the Giants with their two Top 10 draft picks?
6. New York Giants — Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The Giants saw first-hand what a versatile linebacker with explosive traits can do for your defense when they met the division-rival Dallas Cowboys with rookie stud Micah Parsons. Lloyd isn’t quite on Parsons’ level, but his blend of instincts and speed helps him impact the game in multiple ways. Linebacker might not be the top need for the Giants, but adding defensive playmakers is never a bad idea.
7. New York Giants (from Chicago) — Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa*
Since the merger in 1970 only once has a center been drafted in the top 10 — and that is only if you include Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, who was drafted as an “interior blocker” ninth overall in 1983. But in this class, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Linderbaum this high, especially to a team
Beezer Brigade rejoice!
Okay, I’ll be honest here, I haven’t taken the time to sit down and really study Lloyd. I haven’t gotten any of his 2021 tape yet, and this time of year I have to budget my time between writing about the Giants and scouting the draft.
That being said, from what I’ve seen Lloyd is an easy mover in space with legitimate range and the speed to get to the ball in a hurry. He struggled to get off blocks in the tape I have been able to watch, but much of the Giants’ scheme is centered around using their defensive line to keep the linebackers clean.
I’ve been calling for the Giants to add an athletic off-ball linebacker for years now, so I like the pick from that perspective.
But here’s my issue with the pick, using Brugler’s own words:
“Linebacker might not be the top need for the Giants, but adding defensive playmakers is never a bad idea.”
Scoot ahead just a smidge to the Philadelphia Eagles and the righth overall pick:
“Based on talent, [Kyle] Hamilton is one of the best this draft class has to offer. But his draft projection is going to be interesting because not every team will value his hybrid skill set. With his athletic range and diagnose skills, Hamilton frustrates quarterbacks because of the different ways he impacts the game.”
By Brugler’s own admission, Hamilton is better than Lloyd. Hamilton has lived at the top of big boards all season long, generally trading swapping the No. 1 spot with Kayvon Thibodeaux every other update. Listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Hamilton has the size to play a similar linebacking role as Lloyd, while also having the ability to play box safety, slot defender, or a true centerfield safety.
With Jabrill Peppers coming off of a torn ACL and entering free agency, Julian Love entering the final year of his contract, and Logan Ryan not getting any younger, Hamilton could fill a lot of needs. Brugler notes that teams could struggle to evaluate and value his diverse skill set, but Patrick Graham is one of the defensive minds in the NFL who could make full use of that skill set.
The Giants passed on the best player in the 2021 draft (at two positions, linebacker and EDGE) because reasons, and they could be paying for that decision for a while. Hamilton is on the short list of players who the Giants just can’t pass up if he slips to them (along with Evan Neal, Aidan Hutchinson, Thibodeaux, or Derek Stingley Jr.)
Now, about the seventh overall pick: I love it.
Tyler Linderbaum is an absolute no-brainer for the Giants. Not only is he already a plug-and-play starter at center — as Ed stated when he got the chance to watch him: “This kid can play!” — but he is still new to the position and should get better. A former defensive tackle, basketball player, and wrestler, Linderbaum has perennial Pro Bowler upside and honestly reminds me of All Pro center Maurkice Pouncey. I don’t care that he’s “only” 290 pounds, Linderbaum’s play strength and innate understanding of leverage more than makes up for it. He’s athletic, twitchy, and seems to love burying defenders.
He’s just the kind of guy the Giants need in the middle of their offensive line.