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Giants mock draft: What does New York get with first three selections?

Nick Falato goes through the first 36 picks in the draft

Syndication: The Daily Advertiser SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network via Imagn Content Services, LLC

It’s mock draft season! We at Big Blue View are here to prognosticate a top-36 mock draft, so three picks for the New York Giants. Unfortunately, there are many holes throughout the Giants’ current roster. All of these holes can’t be fixed in one mock draft, with no trades, that only has three selections for our beloved Giants.

This mock draft isn’t necessarily what I would do, but an assumption of what could realistically happen. There’s still so much to play out in the offseason. NFL free agency will sway many team needs. The veteran quarterback market could still jumble team priorities like we saw last year. The combine will raise some prospects up while lowering some under-performers. The combine starts March 1, and the Pro Day circuit could help/hurt prospects, as well.

Here’s my mock draft 1.0 for the 2022 NFL Draft:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

OT Evan Neal, Alabama

Jacksonville needs to prioritize the protection and development of quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The 2021 first overall pick had a disappointing rookie season as he toiled away in a chaotic situation under the Urban Meyer experiment. The hiring of Doug Pederson suggests the owner and general manager Trent Baalke are aware of the that.

Right tackle Jawaan Taylor had a better year in 2021; he surrendered the most pressures in 2020 (one more than Andrew Thomas). Cam Robinson enters a contract year and could be a pricey retention. He is an adequate left tackle, but one with faults. Selecting a mountain of a man like Evan Neal won’t only provide more time for Lawrence, but it will also help Travis Etienne, a hopefully healthy James Robinson, and the rest of the ground attack.

2. Detriot Lions

EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

Hutchinson returned to school after a late 2020 leg injury, and it skyrocketed him up near the top of the draft. He went from a good player in 2020 to an elite pass-rusher in 2021. Hutchinson combines an explosive first-step with excellent hand technique and an expansive pass-rushing repertoire. The Lions ranked 29th in the league in sacks, with 30. The addition of a high ceiling EDGE defender like Hutchinson makes a ton of sense for the Lions.

There are arguments that Hutchinson has the second-highest ceiling out of the 2022 EDGE class behind Kayvon Thibodeaux. It’s certainly a conversation, albeit I believe Hutchinson’s floor is higher, and his ceiling is still high. Both players have their merits, but Hutchinson’s locality, competitive toughness, and well-rounded nature make sense for Dan Campbell and the Lions.

3. Houston Texans

EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

The Texans are a possible trade spot. They already possess nine picks, four in the top 80, and if there’s a partner, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them trade back. However, selecting Thibodeaux here isn’t a bad option. He was the consensus first overall pick basically the entire season, and now there’s pushback over concerns of his competitive toughness.

I’ve watched Thibodeaux on broadcast - I haven’t done a deep dive into his film - I didn’t see him “dawging it.” Thibodeaux has rare upside and all the athletic traits and power one would want in an EDGE rusher. He can still use some refinement, but he could be an absolute terror in the NFL.

4. New York Jets

OT Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State

The Jets need to protect Zach Wilson; the rookie quarterback was sacked 44 times last season - the third-most in the NFL. Some of that is a product of Wilson’s indecisiveness, but it’s safe to say that the Jets need OT help. They selected Mekhi Becton in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. When healthy, he looks good, but he’s only played 739 snaps through two seasons.

Ekwonu will step onto the Jets roster and be an immediate force in the run game. He is a mean, powerful, tackle who would bring the necessary demeanor to represent the toughness of New York. A healthy combination of Becton and Ekwonu would assist Wilson, and hopefully, help the young signal-caller to reach the potential that Joe Douglas saw in him last spring.

5. New York Giants

OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State

Cross to the Giants is not commonly mocked, but I think we will start seeing it more, and it makes sense. Cross is an uber-athletic redshirt-Sophomore who was still growing into his body as recently as a few years ago. He is listed at 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, and it appears he has long arms. He shows rare athletic traits for an offensive tackle; all of this will have to be confirmed at the combine.

His athleticism is evident on tape. He has quick feet to mirror, fluid hips, plays balanced, and is excellent in space. He doesn’t possess the mass of Neal or Ekwonu, but he still did a solid job anchoring and handling power. I also loved his hand technique and ability to adjust to the defender’s counter moves.

He generates good pop-on-contact as a run blocker, but, from what I’ve seen, maintaining said power was a bit inconsistent when driving defenders off the ball. He also only had 200 run-blocking snaps in 2021 due to Mike Leach’s Air Raid system.

The combination of Cross and Thomas would be one of the youngest pair of tackles in the NFL with immense upside. The NFL is a passing league, and Cross possesses the requisite skill-set to be an excellent pass-blocking tackle. Questions about his run blocking will be the sticking point, but he is still 20 years old and could realistically become more powerful and commanding with more experience and growth.

Joe Schoen’s former team, the Buffalo Bills, weren’t opposed to selecting relatively inexperienced players with a year of elite production. Gregory Rousseau was their first-round pick in 2021 after taking the 2020 season off due to COVID-19 and only having real production in 2019. The Bills also took Spencer Brown - a long, super athletic offensive tackle - with their third-round pick. The potential investment on Cross is more than a third-round selection, but the return could be very high. I expect Cross to have an excellent combine, just like Spencer Brown did last year. He is a name to pay attention to outside of the perceived top two tackles in the draft.

6. Carolina Panthers

QB Malik Willis, Liberty

Sam Darnold not working in Carolina is a tough pill for Matt Rhule and the Panthers to swallow. The seat is incredibly hot in Charlotte for Rhule; a down season may not result in his retention, but general manager Scott Fitterer must attempt to find the quarterback of the future.

Willis isn’t polished yet, but his ceiling is incredibly high. I’m sure the Panthers would like to address the offensive line - a line that rivaled the Giants for the worst in the league; however, the big three tackles were off the board. If we made trades in this mock, this could be a trade-back scenario to acquire some of the assets they lost during the Darnold acquisition.

There are still plenty of quality players available, players with much higher grades than Willis, but Carolina decided to pass on Justin Fields for J.C. Horn last season. Fields is better than Willis, but they may not want to make that same decision again.

7. New York Giants

CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU

I think Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton is wildly tempting at this spot as well, but a man coverage cornerback like Stingley Jr. is a perfect fit in Wink Martindale’s scheme. Stingley Jr. missed most of 2021 with a foot injury, and the 2020 season wasn’t as impressive as his brilliant true freshman, National Championship, winning season back in 2019.

Stingley Jr. has all the man coverage skills necessary to play in the NFL. He is 6’1, about 200 lbs, will test out of the world at the combine, has excellent play strength to press/disrupt WRs off the line, and has fantastic ball skills. He had six interceptions and 15 passes defended in 2019, but that was a long time ago.

New York has to do their due diligence on Stingley Jr. since we haven’t seen elite play since 2019, and he’s coming off the foot injury. The trajectory of success for CBs isn’t always ascending - it’s a volatile position. Yet, Stingley Jr. has the traits to be great; we’ve seen that, it’s difficult to argue. The Giants coaching staff has to maximize the immense potential that Stingley Jr. offers.

Martindale’s system needs physical man coverage cornerbacks who can press, are fluid, and can cover vertically/horizontally - that’s Stingley Jr. The retention of Jerome Henderson excites me even more with a potential addition of a player with the kind of upside Stingley Jr. possesses.

A healthy Stingley Jr, combined with Adoree Jackson’ and Aaron Robinson, can allow Martindale the time to employ his exotic pressure looks. The Giants have to ensure the secondary can execute man coverage assignments. James Bradberry’s 2022 standing with the team is uncertain, so the Giants will need starting cornerbacks in a system predicated on secondary personnel. If New York can get the 2019 Stingley Jr, this is a steal.

8. Atlanta Falcons

SAF Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

This is a dream scenario for Atlanta to land a blue-chip prospect like Hamilton to pair with 2021 second-round pick Richie Grant on the backend. The Falcons could realistically go quarterback here - and if Willis was still around, I might have mocked it that way. However, the Falcons defense was a sieve in pass coverage. They have a solid number one CB in A.J. Terrell but need to upgrade the rest of the defense.

Safety Duron Harmon is set to enter free agency, and Hamilton would be a unicorn type of player for Dean Pees’ defense. Hamilton is a franchise defensive player who should make an immediate impact, and the Falcons would be lucky to land him here at eight.

9. Denver Broncos

EDGE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State

New defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero lands a premier pass rusher to pair with Bradley Chubb. Evero was with the Rams since 2017, and he’s joining Nathanial Hackett in Denver. The Broncos could also be a trade-down partner, and they’re certainly in the market for a quarterback - Kenny Pickett from Pitt makes sense, but bolstering their strength in defense and landing a unique, bendy, pass-rusher like Johnson is a good move.

The Broncos play in the AFC West. They have to face Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes twice a year - good luck with that! Finding ways to pressure and harass those quarterbacks creatively, so they can’t play to their potential has to be at the forefront of the Broncos’ mind. Pickett is a solid quarterback, but does he possess the transcendent talent to consistently overthrow those two stars? That seems unlikely.

10. New York Jets

CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson

Bryce Hall had a good season for the Jets, but they are razor-thin in their secondary. Booth offers coverage versatility and is a long explosive player who would immediately upgrade Robert Saleh’s defense. A receiver could be an option here as well, with Corey Davis figuring to be a high-end two. Elijah Moore has the potential to be elite in the slot, but Saleh must address the defense after selecting Ekwonu with the Jets’ first pick. Booth Jr. is a good start.

11. Washington Commanders

QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss

Corral was the lone “top” quarterback who wasn’t present at the Senior Bowl, which may theoretically help him since none of the Senior Bowl quarterbacks truly impressed. Willis had his moments but was far from perfect. Corral is a dual-threat quarterback with a quick release who’s accurate with the capability of pushing the ball vertically with touch.

He cleaned his decision-making up - a bit - in 2021, and he displayed poise in the pocket while maneuvering the pocket more comfortably. Corral is only 6-1, 205 pounds, which could be an issue, but Washington desperately needs a quarterback upgrade and a new face to lead their new image as the Commanders.

12. Minnesota Vikings

CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner

Both Patrick Peterson and McKenzie Alexander are headed to free agency. The Vikings need an infusion of talent added to their secondary, and Gardner is a smooth, long, athlete with the capability of playing press or off-coverage. He had nine interceptions and 17 passes defended through three seasons of college football.

I considered Pickett, Georgia LB Nakobe Dean, and Michigan EDGE David Ojabo. Still, I ultimately felt like new defensive coordinator Ed Donatelli (from Denver) needs a reliable coverage player next to the solid 2020 third-round pick Cameron Dantzler. They both have similar long builds and can really play press to disrupt the outside timing of receivers on the line of scrimmage.

13. Cleveland Browns

WR Trylon Burks, Arkansas

I was tempted to keep one of the Ohio State wide receivers - Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson - in Ohio, but Baker Mayfield and this offense need a large catch-radius, bid bodied, playmaking physical receiver to pair with Jarvis Landry, Anthony Schwartz, and another big-bodied deep threat in Donovan Peoples-Jones.

Burks is 6-3, 230 pounds. He runs good quick routes and would operate very well in the Browns’ quick game offense. Burks caught 65 of 88 passes for 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns. He can align in both the slot and out wide. He’ll also help as a run blocker with his big frame, which assists the identity established by head coach Kevin Stefanski.

Burks helps Mayfield, but the decision to select Burks wouldn’t solely benefit the quarterback who realistically may not be on the roster in a year. A selection of Burks would help whoever is the next signal-caller, and the Browns could use some playmakers.

14. Baltimore Ravens

EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan

The Ravens have many free agents on the defensive side of the football. They just selected Odafe Oweh in the first round last year, but Ojabo’s talents won’t be wasted with his former defensive coordinator - Mike Macdonald - replacing Martindale. The pairing of Oweh and Ojabo would be an explosive duo that would harass the AFC North for years.

Ojabo had an elite season with Macdonald in 2021 as the offensive protections typically slid the way of Aidan Hutchinson. Ojabo had 42 pressures and 11 sacks with Michigan last year. He’s a young, bendy, explosive pass-rusher who is very sudden with his movements. Macdonald and Ojabo reuniting makes sense given the success they had together in the Big-10.

15. Philadelphia Eagles

EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue

The Eagles go EDGE/DL hybrid with their first of three first-round selections. Karlaftis is insanely powerful, with good get-off, pop in his violent hands, and an amazing motor. He doesn’t have the bend that Ojabo or Johnson possess, but he’d be a great addition to an EVEN front team (like the Eagles) as a defensive end or even a 3-T in passing situations.

He can also play 5-T in an ODD front team. Derek Barnett is a free agent, and Brandon Graham is getting long in the tooth. Josh Sweat needs an EDGE player to align opposite of him, and the Eagles would be lucky to land Karlaftis with one of their three picks in round one.

16. Philadelphia Eagles

OC Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa

This is a commonly mocked pick for the Eagles. Jason Kelce is a free agent, and Linderbaum and Kelce share similarities. They’re both super athletic and technically sound centers that are undersized. Linderbaum may not be 300 pounds at the combine; that will turn some teams off, but not the Eagles.

Philadelphia runs a lot of zone and a lot of trap-type of concepts that don’t necessarily always demand straight power at the point of attack. Linderbaum is very proficient and a technician with how he uses his hands. His skill-set aligns perfectly with Nick Sirianni’s offense. Pair him with Landon Dickerson, the Eagles’ second-round pick last year, and the interior offensive line would be looking good for Philadelphia - especially with the anticipated return of Brandon Brooks.

17. Los Angeles Chargers

IOL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

The difference between the left side and the right side of the Chargers offensive line was stark. The right side struggled a lot, and starting right guard Michael Schofield III is a free agent. Green is a strong lineman with good flexibility, powerful hands that can grip/control, and generates good push through his frame at the point of attack.

Green is also versatile; he has aligned in four different locations along the offensive line, which is valuable in today’s game. The Chargers could go receiver here with Mike Williams as a free agent and Keenan Allen getting older, but solidifying the offensive line with a versatile player like Green makes more sense in another deep wide receiver class.

18. New Orleans Saints

WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

The Saints desperately need playmakers on offense to pair with RB Alvin Kamara. Former defensive coordinator Dennis Allen was named the head coach, but the defense wasn’t the problem last year. Jamies Winston tore his ACL, and the team could never find any offensive rhythm (even with Winston under center).

Drafting a quarterback like Kenny Pickett with Marquez Callaway as the de facto number one receiver may not be the wisest move. Adding Wilson to assist whoever the signal-caller might be makes sense to me. Wilson is an elite route runner who effortlessly creates separation; he’s lightning-quick and absolutely exciting to watch in space. He just struggles with drops at times - he had 11 through his college career.

19. Philadelphia Eagles

WR Jameson Williams, Alabama

Williams may be the best WR in the draft, but he tore his ACL in the National Championship game against Georgia. Dr. James Andrews said Williams is ahead of schedule in his recovery. It is unknown when he’ll exactly be ready to take the field, but he should be back at some point during his rookie season.

Pairing Williams with Alabama Crimson Tide WR Devonta Smith would allow Jalen Hurts, and/or whoever is throwing the football, another dynamic weapon to help this suspect passing offense. The Eagles ran the ball very well in 2021 but couldn’t throw with any consistency.

This would be the third year in a row that the Eagles spend a first-round pick on wide receiver. Smith was a hit, but Jalen Reagor is a colossal disappointment. With three first-round picks this season, Philadelphia should go back to the well and select Williams if he’s available and if the medicals check out.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt

Keeping the hometown kid in Pittsburgh! This is a commonly mocked spot for Pickett, but it makes sense if the draft plays out this way. I wouldn’t be shocked if Pittsburgh traded up to land a possible quarterback of the future because the thought of Mason Rudolph starting for an entire season is unsettling.

Pittsburgh, like other teams, could look into veteran quarterbacks to upgrade the position. If they can’t land one, Pickett could operate the offense well; he does a good job keeping the offense within structure. He’s not a statue in the pocket, throws the ball with velocity, and has good accuracy. He’s not the most dynamic quarterback prospect, and his ceiling isn’t as high as Malik Willis, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a functional to good starter in the NFL.

21. New England Patriots

EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia

I thought about giving the Patriots Utah’s Devin Lloyd or UGA’s Nakobe Dean, or possibly going WR to give Mac Jones some weapons, but Walker makes a lot of sense for Bill Belichick and the Patriots defense. I’m not even overly confident that Walker will fall to 21.

Walker has incredible movement skills for a 6-5, 275 pounds player. He would honestly be great for the Raiders with the next pick because of his unique length, athletic ability, and versatility to create defensive mismatches in various situations. Walker could refine his hand usage and pass rush plan, but the raw athletic traits and frame are unteachable. It would be fun to see what Belichick can do with Walker on the defensive side of the football.

22. Las Vegas Raiders

CB Trent McDuffie, Washington

Patrick Graham has his say and helps select McDuffie. Both Casey Hayward and Desmond Trufant are free agents. The 5-11, 195-pound cornerback was pivotal to the zone-heavy approach utilized by Pete Kwiatkowski and the current co-defensive coordinators William Inge and Chuck Morrell. McDuffie is a smooth athlete who has excellent reactionary quickness.

McDuffie only allowed a 44.4 percent catch rate last season; his click and close and ability to read routes in front of him are fantastic traits that will help Graham’s defense.

23. Arizona Cardinals

WR Chris Olave, Ohio State

The Cardinals are in a strange position with QB Kyler Murray and the organization seemingly at odds. That will play out, but the addition of Olave makes sense as of right now. Both A.J. Green and Christian Kirk are free agents, and their fate with the Cardinals is undetermined. Behind DeAndre Hopkins, there’s only second-year WR Rondale Moore, an incredibly fast, short, not-so-polished receiving threat.

Olave is a well-rounded wide receiver who is capable of taking the top off of defenses but is also a good route runner with soft hands. Olave finished his college career with 35 touchdown receptions. He is effective at all three levels of the field. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury led the league in 10 personnel (four wide receivers); if something were to happen to an aging Hopkins, and Green and Kirk both walk, they can’t realistically role any 10 personnel packages out with Moore and Andy Isabella.

Olave’s ability to get vertical would also work excellently with Murray’s arm strength. That, combined with Hopkins’ contested catch ability and the designed touches to Moore, could help the Arizona offense become more explosive than it was in 2021.

24. Dallas Cowboys

LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia

Two linebackers in back-to-back years to help enhance the 2021 much-improved defense under Dan Quinn. The Cowboys were able to bring Quinn back to Dallas. Micah Parsons was transcendent and used in a variety of interesting ways by Quinn. Dallas didn’t pick up the fifth-year option of Leighton VanderEsch, which leaves a hole at linebacker for Quinn.

Dean falling this far would be great for the coveted defensive coordinator. Dean can play decisively sound football when shooting gaps, he’s excellent as a blitzing threat, he can cover, and he’s physical in the box. A Dean and Parsons combo at the second level would give the Dallas nickel package such a unique advantage because of their speed and versatility. Two true three-down linebackers who can be used interchangeably and execute many assignments is scary to think about.

25. Buffalo Bills

LB Devin Lloyd, Utah

The linebackers go back to back. The Bills tend to draft for future need, or at least we saw that in the trenches. The selected A.J. Epenesa, Ed Oliver, Gregory Rousseau, and Carlos “Boogie” Basham not just because they’re talented but because they were going to need trench help beyond 2021.

Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, and Harrison Phillips are impending free agents, and the Bills aren’t forced to retain them since they address the position in previous drafts. Well, this could pertain to linebackers as well. Every linebacker not named Matt Milano is a free agent after 2022; the Bills may retain some, but Lloyd falling to this pick gives them the flexibility to see more reps from these players.

It does make sense that the Bills would select a cornerback in this position, but the top corners went off the board pretty early in this mock draft. I think Florida’s Kaiir Elam does make sense. However, I don’t think Brandon Beane would be disappointed if Lloyd was their choice here towards the tail end of the first round. He has the potential of being a good three-down linebacker in the NFL.

26. Tennessee Titans

OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa

The nasty nature of Penning fits the culture set by head coach Mike Vrabel. The Titans offense is built on running the football with Derrick Henry and hitting play-action passes over the top. I debated on WR here, thought about CB, ultimately went with Penning.

Penning was praised for his aggressiveness and scrappiness at the Senior Bowl. He is a no-nonsense type of player who finishes blocks with authority. He has exceptional power at the point of attack and, for a player who is 6-7, can dip his frame underneath and explode low to high. He can become more technically sound with how he employs his hands.

David Quessenbury is a free agent. The Isaiah Wilson experiment didn’t last a full year, and the Titans need to look for reliable options at right tackle. Penning would be an upgrade, and he fits the philosophy of the team.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

IOL Zion Johnson, Boston College

I wanted him to slide to 36 for the Giants, but this makes too much sense. The Buccaneers did just lose their quarterback, and probably their tight end, but Johnson’s versatility, work ethic, and technically sound nature, combined with his overall athletic ability, can help the Buccaneers weaker offensive line in year one.

Ryan Jenson and Alex Cappa are both free agents this season. Johnson played tackle in college before transitioning to left guard and being one of the top interior offensive linemen in the nation. He then attended the Reese’s Senior Bowl and took snaps at center. He held his own against a very talented defensive line group. The Buccaneers landing Johnson at this point of the draft is a good value for this versatile player.

28. Green Bay Packers

WR Drake London, USC

The fate of Aaron Rodgers is unknown, but the Packers’ brass finally provides him with a first-round wide receiver! Green Bay has Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Davante Adams as free agents, with the latter a possible franchise tag candidate. London would provide an excellent, long, contested-catch winner on the outside to go with Rodgers and Adams if the dynamic duo return.

The Packers missed an opportunity to draft another big-bodied USC WR around this part of the draft in 2020 (Michael Pittman Jr.). They instead opted to trade up and select QB Jordan Love. It’s still early, but signs suggest that move doesn’t look too well. Giving Rodgers London to go with Adams would really force defenses into tough spots. Double teams would shift to Adams, allowing the pin-point accuracy of Rodgers to maximize the contested catchability of London. There’s still a lot to pan out this offseason, but this selection makes sense.

29. Miami Dolphins

OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan

The Dolphins have addressed the offensive line high in the draft for the past two seasons. Austin Jackson was a first-round pick in 2020 for a potential left tackle, but he was kicked inside. Liam Eichenberg was their second-round pick last year, and he started left tackle; he struggled.

I think they go back to the well and select a very athletic offensive lineman who is new to the position. Raimann was an exchange student from Austria who was a tight end. He made the transition to tackle and was lights out in college. He only surrendered one sack. He has quick feet, very powerful, and new to the position, so there’s room for growth.

30. Kansas City Chiefs

DB Daxton Hill, Michigan

I thought about going with Penn State WR Jahan Dotson, but Hill would be a versatile incredible athlete to provide to defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Hill can play overhang, single high, and combines excellent range with short-area movement skills. He will test through the roof at the combine. Tyrann Mathieu, Armani Watts, and Daniel Sorenson are all free agents. The Chiefs addressed the offensive line last offseason, and it helped, but they really need to look at the secondary in 2022. Hill is a great start.

31. Cincinnati Bengals

OT Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State

I don’t love this selection; I find it to be a reach. There are several other players that I value more than Petit-Frere, but his addition would be an upgrade over Isaiah Prince (another former Buckeye). Too many offensive linemen were picked before 31, leaving the Bengals in this situation.

I could also see Cincinnati going with defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal (Texas A&M) or Devonte Wyatt (Georgia), but they go Petit-Frere in this mock draft in an attempt to protect franchise quarterback Joe Burrow.

32. Detroit Lions

SAF Jaquan Brisker, Penn State

Tracy Walker is entering free agency, and Aaron Glenn’s secondary needs an upgrade, specifically at the safety position. Injuries to CBS Jeffrey Okudah and Amani Oruwariye affected their CB position last year, but they should both be back healthy. The former Nittany Lion is a capable run support defender who is tough, and he possesses good range and instincts on the backend.

33. Jacksonville Jaguars

DT Jordan Davis, Georgia

A mountain of a man, Davis just falls out of Round 1. He may not have the pass-rushing upside of some defensive linemen, but Mike Caldwell comes over from the Buccaneers to be Pederson’s defensive coordinator; if he abides by an ODD front defense, he’s going to need to upgrade the nose position.

Davis isn’t the athlete of Tampa Bay’s Vita Vea, but he can sure fix Jacksonville’s run defense. For a 6-6, 340-pound man, Davis does well when moving in short spaces. However, conditioning seemed to be an issue for him at Georgia. In a division with Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor, you have to stop the run. Jordan Davis will help with that problem.

34. Detroit Lions

WR David Bell, Purdue

The Lions have little at receiver behind first-year stud Amon-ra St. Brown, who thrives in the slot. They hope to get Quintez Cephus back healthy. Bell or Penn State’s Jahan Dotson was my selection here, and I choose Bell because he’s more physical than Dotson; both are technicians as route runners with good release ability off the line of scrimmage.

Bell has an acrobatic catch ability and a large radius with soft hands to pluck balls out of the air, away from his frame. He does a great job sinking his hips in and out of breaks for a receiver who is 6-2. The combination of Bell and St. Brown would make for a solid wide receiver duo moving forward.

35. New York Jets

WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State

Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Dotson are a great trio of wide receivers to surround Zach Wilson. Dotson doesn’t have the size of Davis (5-11, 190 pounds), but he could assume the role as the number one receiver/target in the offense, operating as a “Z” for Mike LaFlaur’s team.

Dotson is a talented route runner who effortlessly creates separation, and he does a good job winning off the line of scrimmage with quick feet. If maximizing the potential of Zach Wilson is a priority, then looking Dotson’s way makes sense for Joe Douglas and the Jets.

36. New York Giants

EDGE Boye Mafe, Minnesota

The Giants find this quality pass-rusher in the second round. He had 10 tackles for a loss, seven sacks, 42 pressures, and 34 tackles in 2021. Mafe possesses one of the best first steps in the draft; he explodes off the football and does a great job getting into the outside shoulder of tackles; he employs a variety of different pass-rushing moves and has good bend through his lower-half to dip through contact.

Mafe was one of the biggest risers at the Senior Bowl, and it’s reported that he will have a phenomenal combine. He is 6-3, 255 pounds, with 33 ⅜” arms. His ability to play the run isn’t ideal, but he has experience dropping into coverage (41 coverage snaps in 2021). Coverage experience is important in Martindale’s system, where anyone can blitz, and anyone can drop.

Martindale needs speed. A player who can not just win one-on-ones around the edge (which Mafe does well), but be able to play in space, slant inside, and execute upon defined pass-rushing paths that will leave gaps unattended for unaccounted blitzing teammates. Mafe can execute these assignments well.

The hope is that Mafe can develop into a SAM linebacker for the Giants, a linebacker who can wear many hats and handle various responsibilities presented by Martindale. There are several directions the Giants could go in this situation that I would be happy with, but I wouldn’t complain about an EDGE selection, especially one that adds speed and versatility.

Final thoughts

I would be happy if the Giants left the draft with an OT, CB, and an EDGE rusher in the first three rounds. There are still desperate needs at linebacker and tight end, as well as interior offensive line. The tight end class has talent in the mid-rounds, and there should be quality linebackers available early in Round 3. I would be lying, though, if said I didn’t put serious thought into these eight players for pick 36:

TE Jeremy Ruckert, OHST
TE Trey McBride, Colorado State
TE Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M
LB Quay Walker, Georgia
LB Damone Clark, LSU
EDGE Drake Jackson, USC
EDGE Logan Hall, Houston
IOL Darian Kinnard, Kentucky

I wouldn’t complain about the Giants these talents. I really put thought into Georgia’s Walker, who is under the radar at the moment. Kinnard played tackle in college, but his home may be as a guard. I ultimately decided on Mafe because of the unique versatility, first-step, and overall speed. I have Houston’s Logan Hall ranked higher as of right now, but Mafe is a better fit for what Martindale wants to do relative to the talent that currently occupies the Giants roster.

The three Giants’ picks are all high upside, but they’re not reckless. After the combine, Cross and Stingley Jr. are going to rise; their tape isn’t bad (Stingley Jr. regressed from his dominant 2019). Cross is still developing, and Stingley Jr. is still a young player who has all the talent necessary to be an elite cornerback in the NFL. Mafe adds speed to the front seven, and helps bolster a pass rush filled with young talent. I ultimately hope the Giants re-sign Lorenzo Carter, for he projects very well in this Martindale scheme. But if they don’t, drafting Mafe at 36 isn’t a bad course of action. If you disagree, please feel free to demolish me in the comments; and/or let me know what you would have done differently!

The Giants are now in the hands of Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll. It’s a new chapter. By the time the draft rolls around, New York may have more than just nine picks. The roster is going to look different, and the Giants may not be too competitive in 2022. However, this is the first draft in a new era. Hopefully, the different approach from Giants’ ownership pays off in George Young fashion.