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Daniel Jeremiah: Giants “could have their choice” of offensive tackles

NFL Network analyst offers thoughts on how draft might play out for Giants

NFL Combine
Ickey Ekwonu
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The New York Giants “could have their choice” of the top three offensive tackles at no. 5 in the 2022 NFL Draft, if things play out the way NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks they might.

Jeremiah held a pre-draft conference call with media on Thursday, and answered several Giants-related questions. The offensive line, of course, was at the forefront of the list.

“If you’re looking at their history (GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll) in terms of what they could do, doesn’t necessarily point to them being locked in on an offensive lineman,” Jeremiah said. “Now, if you look at the needs of the roster, I think they need to get better there, and I think it could marry up with where they’re picking with the fifth pick.”

In his own pre-draft press conference this week, Schoen said he wants to make picks where need and value “mirror each other.”

Jeremiah has top three tackles ranked in this order:

  1. Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
  2. Evan Neal, Alabama
  3. Charles Cross, Mississippi State

“For me, I like Ekwonu,” Jeremiah said. “I know teams around the league are a little split around him because he’s kind of raw in pass pro. But it’s all there. It’s all in his body. He’s a dominant, dominant run blocker who I think has some inside-outside ability.

I would go Ekwonu first and then Evan Neal, and then I would go Cross.”

Jeremiah acknowledged the Cross to the Giants buzz, but isn’t sure he is buying it.

“Now, there’s a lot of buzz and sometimes it’s hard to tell when you’re talking to friends in the league if the buzz is coming from them or if it’s coming from it being in the media and them kind of repeating what they hear in the media,” Jeremiah said.

“But there’s been a lot of connection between Charles Cross at Mississippi State and the Giants. I don’t know how much to buy into that or to believe that, but that would be the third name I would think there.”

Can the Giants trade one of their top 10 picks?

There has been a lot of speculation regarding whether or not Schoen will trade either the fifth or seventh overall.

“I would imagine he’s going to try,” Jeremiah said. “To me the other side of it is just when you look at where their salary cap is and you look at having to pay two top-seven picks, I don’t think that’s something you’d have a strong appetite for either at this point in time.

“I’m sure there’s motivation to get out of there. Again, it takes somebody to come up. I would imagine in this draft because of some of the depth in that first round that you would probably take 75 cents on the dollar in terms of the trade chart to get out.”

Jeremiah said Schoen might have to do that because he doesn’t believe there will be teams clamoring to move up for a quarterback.

“You’d be fine taking maybe a little bit less than you normally would because normally people are coming up for quarterbacks. I don’t see that happening. That’s when you get guys to really pay a premium and you can get an incredible return. I don’t see that being the play this year,” Jeremiah said.

“I think 5 or 7. I would think there would be a strong effort on his part to try and get one of those and get the heck out of there. Just got to find a willing partner.”

A little help for ‘Wink’

Jeremiah thinks there are two potential top-10 selections Giants defensive coordinator ‘Wink’ Martindale would love to have.

One is edge defender Jermaine Johnson.

“Jermaine Johnson makes a ton of sense to me with them. He’s big, now. He’s big and long, and he’s got some juice coming off the edge,” Jeremiah said. “That one kind of would make sense with matching what they’ve traditionally had where Wink has been.”

The other? Cincinnati cornerback ‘Sauce’ Gardner.

“That’s a player that I think Wink would fall in love with just with the range that he has,” Jeremiah said. “He’s just so good at finding and playing the football and taking it away. I would think that would be a favorite there for Wink.”