The 2022 NFL Draft Season is in full swing, and with the final draft order set, we’re in for a deluge of mock drafts. ESPN’s Todd McShay released a new mock draft on Wednesday morning in the wake of Super Bowl 56.
The New York Giants are set to be one of the biggest players in the 2022 Draft, and have the second-most draft capital in the whole league. They will be one of the teams that controls the flow of the draft and they have a great chance to add a number of talented players with five of the the top 81 selections. That number could even grow if Joe Schoen begins trading veterans to shed salary or maneuvering round the draft board.
But for now, the Giants have two picks in the Top 10, which could go a long way toward jump-starting their rebuild.
So who is McShay mocking to the Giants at the top of the first round?
5. New York Giants
Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
Yes, the Giants need offensive linemen, but with a second top-10 pick on deck and the top two linemen off the board, we’re pivoting to the other massive weakness: pass rush. And wouldn’t you know it, Thibodeaux falls right into the Giants’ lap here. He has great quickness, a good arsenal of pass-rush moves and plenty of versatility. His tape is up and down, hence a mild slide to No. 5, but he’d immediately elevate a New York pass rush that had 34 sacks (tied for 22nd) last season. And he’d perfectly complement Leonard Williams and Azeez Ojulari, the team’s 2021 second-rounder who led the defense with 8.0 sacks in his rookie year.
7. New York Giants (via CHI)
Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
As I mentioned above, I’m not totally sure Cross is a top-10 pick. But he handles speed rushers well and plays with patience, and I see good angles on tape in the run game. He’s the next best tackle on the board, and after landing Kayvon Thibodeaux at No. 5, New York can afford to reach a little bit here. With a new GM, head coach and offensive coordinator, the Giants are going to give quarterback Daniel Jones every chance to succeed in 2022 before making a decision after their future under center. Jones has taken a lot of hits, and though left tackle Andrew Thomas rounded into form in 2021, the line remains a glaring problem. Cross, who gave up one sack on 683 pass-block snaps last season, helps.
I can’t fault McShay for taking Thibodeaux. He’s a former number 1 overall recruit in the country, the top prospect on many boards, and should be a great player in the NFL. We should be open to the Giants selecting a defensive back early in the draft — Martindale’s defense thrives on aggressive man coverage.
However, Thibodeaux is not only a great athlete, but he’s also a good football player. He’s smart, versatile, and technically sound. Andre Patterson would probably be drooling at the thought of getting his hands on Thibodeaux, and I think we’d be talking about the rest of the front seven being complements to Thibodeaux in short order.
Now, onto the seventh overall pick and things could get interesting here. Personally, I would be expecting the Giants to explore a trade down in this scenario.
Cross is a lean, athletic blocker with good movement skills. However, I’m not sure he’s truly scheme diverse and could be limited to zone schemes at the NFL level. He is also very young (a red-shirt sophomore who is just 21) and only has 20 starts at left tackle under his belt.
The Giants would have to be projecting Cross to the right side and hoping that he can make the transition quickly and smoothly. There’s also some concern with Cross’ play strength and the amount of ground he needs to give up to absorb bull-rushes at the collegiate level. It’s also possible that Cross just doesn’t fit the Giants’ intended blocking scheme. He will likely need to be in a zone-based scheme at the NFL level, and the Giants could be intending to run a more down-hill power oriented blocking scheme. We just don’t know at this point.
But if that’s the case, Giants fans should probably prepare themselves for possibility that the team does not select an offensive lineman with either of their first round picks.
It’s entirely possible that the Giants could look at Devin Lloyd (LB, Utah),Andrew Booth Jr. (CB, Clemson), or Nakobe Dean (LB, Georgia) and come to the conclusion that they are better players at their positions than Cross is at his for the Giants. That’s particularly true if the Giants move on from James Bradberry and (or) Blake Martinez.
The good news there is that this is a very deep draft on the offensive line and there should be starting tackles on the board into the second round — or perhaps even the third.
Like I said, things could get very interesting.