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Dane Brugler 7-round mock draft: Let’s see who the Giants end up with

Brugler goes the distance with all nine picks for the Giants

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NFL: APR 27 2018 NFL Draft Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Another day, another heavyweight 2022 NFL mock draft. Today, it is Dane Brugler of The Athletic with a full 7-round mock draft. Let’s see who Brugler gave to the New York Giants with their nine selections in the first six rounds.

Round 1 (No. 5) — Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Brugler writes:

Regardless of what happens with the first four picks, the organization and first-year general manager Joe Schoen have to feel good about what will be left for them at No. 5. Neal offers outstanding flexibility, both as a 340-pound blocker and with his versatility to play right tackle or guard.

Valentine’s View: Great minds. Neal is the player I selected at No. 5 for the Giants in the SB Nation writer’s mock draft. With Ikem Ekwonu off the board at No. 3 to the Houston Texans, I obviously have no issue with this pick.

Round 1 (No. 7) — Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Brugler writes:

If the Giants are unable to trade back and add draft assets for next year, a plug-and-play blocker at No. 5 and shut down corner at No. 7 feels like the ideal scenario for Schoen and the Giants. Gardner has the length, speed and confidence that should translate well to the pro game.

Valentine’s View: Yes. Yes, Yes. Sign me up all day long for one of the three top offensive tackles and the best cornerback in the draft.

Round 2 (No. 36) — Arnold Ebiketie, Edge, Penn State

Brugler does not offer full explanation for picks beyond the first round. Here is what he writes about Ebiketie in his draft guide:

Ebiketie explodes off the edge and stresses blockers with his arc acceleration, active hands and relentless play personality (registered at least one tackle for loss in 11 of 12 games in 2021). While he uses his length well as a pass rusher, he struggles to consistently anchor, lock out and free himself to contain the run. Overall, Ebiketie needs to improve his refinement as a rusher and reliability vs. the run, but he is a long, twitched-up athlete with the motor and mentality to develop into a starting NFL pass rusher.

Valentine’s View: Pass rusher makes perfect sense here. I watched Ebiketie against Nicholas Petit-Frere of Ohio State, a likely Day 2 selection at left tackle, and the Buckeyes ended up having to double-team Ebiketie. That’s all I needed to know.

Round 3 (No. 67) — Dylan Parham, C-G, Memphis

In his draft guide, Brugler says:

Parham is extremely quick off the ball with the mobility to get out in space and the core strength to latch and drive opponents at the line of scrimmage. He lacks ideal length and can be overpowered at times, but he strikes with a flexible coil and developed nasty streak. Overall, Parham can play too fast at times and loses his bearings, but he has excellent movement skills and understands how to outleverage defenders and sustain the point of attack. He has the talent level to provide immediate interior depth for an NFL team and compete for a starting job, projecting best at center.

Valentine’s View: One of my favorite players in this draft class.

Round 3 (No. 81) — John Metchie, WR, Alabama

In his draft guide, Brugler writes:

Metchie, who has a worldly background and lived on three different continents before his seventh birthday, adopted a fierce work ethic and devotion to his craft, which is evident on film. He has outstanding body control and adjustment skills, although he is guilty of the occasional focus drop (had more career drops than TD catches). Overall, Metchie has only average size and speed, but he is a seasoned route runner who understands how to manipulate coverage and be a quarterback’s best friend. As long as he makes a full recovery from his ACL tear, he can be a quality No. 2 receiver in the NFL.

Valentine’s View: This pick doesn’t do much for me. I would feel better if it was Boise State’s Khalil Shakir, who went next in Brugler’s mock to the Atlanta Falcons.

Round 4 (No. 112) — James Cook, RB, Georgia

In his draft guide, Brugler writes:

Cook has shifty feet to make controlled cuts against the grain and instinctively navigate holes at the line of scrimmage. Although he will be limited as an inside runner, he has legitimate versatility to flex out wide and run routes as a pass catcher. Overall, Cook doesn’t have the contact balance or build of a full-time ball carrier like his older brother, but he can be a dynamic, versatile threat with his pass-catching skills and balanced athleticism to gravitate toward space.

Valentine’s View: No problem with Cook in this spot. If the Giants are looking for a pass-catching, change of pace back he fits the description.

Round 5 (No. 147) — Dane Belton, S, Iowa

In his draft guide, Brugler writes:

Belton plays with heady reaction skills, and his eyes lead him to the catch point where he can make plays on the ball naturally. However, he lacks sudden twitch in his movements and lacks consistency down the field. Overall, Belton doesn’t play as explosively as his testing numbers might suggest, but he floats naturally with the instincts and ball skills for underneath zones. He projects best as a down nickel safety in the NFL, although he needs to develop his strength and be more consistent vs. the run to see steady playing time.

Valentine’s View: This is not a player I have studied, but the Giants need depth at safety.

Round 5 (No. 173) — Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina

In his draft guide, Brugler writes:

Likely is a quarterback’s best friend with his ability to snap out of his breaks, make himself available mid-route, and consistently pluck balls outside his frame. He is more of an oversized wideout than traditional tight end, but he plays with toughness and shows dangerous YAC skills (responsible for 14 receptions of 20-plus yards in 2021, including a 99-yard touchdown catch and run). Overall, Likely needs to be more physical and efficient as a blocker, but he has playmaking potential thanks to his loose athleticism before and after the catch and body coordination to make remarkable adjustments on the football. He projects as an “F” tight end with NFL starting potential.

Valentine’s View: I would, quite honestly, rather see the Giants draft a more complete tight end. Likely is a pass catching tight end, best used split off the line of scrimmage. In that role, he can be dynamic.

Round 6 (No. 182) — Jeremiah Gemmel, LB, North Carolina

In his draft guide, Brugler writes:

Whether in the box or playing as an overhang defender, Gemmel has excellent play recognition vs. the run to stay ahead of blocks and let loose. He gets himself in trouble when blockers establish leverage and needs to become more of a playmaker in coverage. Overall, Gemmel doesn’t have any elite qualities, but he is an instinctive, high-intangibles defender with the play range and toughness required for NFL work. He projects best as a weakside or nickel linebacker.

Valentine’s View: It would have been nice to add an inside linebacker earlier in the draft. I always say, though, that you can’t get everything you want in a single draft.

Here is Brugler’s full haul for the Giants:

Personally, I love the first four picks and have some quibbles with the back half of the draft. What do you think, Giants fans?