The 2022 NFL Draft is finally here! What will New York Giants rookie GM Joe Schoen do? Where will some of the draft’s most interesting players end up? Here is an ABC look that tries to capture some of the things to pay attention to over the next three days.
A is for Ahmad: I would have waited until ‘S’ to talk about Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, but I have another thing in mind for that. I am going to be very unhappy if the New York Jets ruin my ‘Sauce and an offensive tackle’ perfect Giants Round 1.
B is for Brian: This will be the first time Brian Daboll participates in an NFL draft as a head coach. I am really interested to see what we learn about Daboll and GM Joe Schoen during the draft.
C is for Cross: There is still a debate over how early Charles Cross of Mississippi State should be drafted. I would think the Giants would be ecstatic with a ‘Sauce and Cross’ first round, in either order.
D is for Derek: There has been increasing noise that LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. won’t get out of the top 10, and that he might not get past the Giants at No. 7. Especially if Gardner goes before the Giants get a shot at him. That would be a risk, but there is little doubt that Stingley has top-10 talent.
E is for Evan: One of the top three offensive tackles in this draft class is almost certainly going to be a Giant. Will it be Evan Neal of Alabama?
F is for Faalele: A 6-foot-8, 384-pound monster who was born in Australia and did not start playing football until he was 16, Daniel Faalele is one of the draft’s most interesting players. I am fascinated to see who takes a chance on him and what kind of NFL right tackle he can develop into.
G is for Georgia: Forget Las Vegas, the draft should be in Georgia. The Bulldogs have roughly a million — OK, 12-14 — prospects who are likely to be drafted between Thursday and Saturday. It’s kind of insane.
H is for Hamilton: How far will Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, who some still believe is the best player in the draft, fall after posting a middling 4.59-second 40-yard dash? Some believe he won’t get past the Giants at 7. Some think the Washington Commanders at No. 11 are his floor. Others believe he will last until the second half of Round 1. I know this. I think he’s a heckuva player who will make whoever selects him happy.
I is for Ickey: Ikem Ekwonu has a vibrant personality that would light up New York. He also might be the No. 1 offensive tackle in this draft class. It will be difficult for the Giants to pass on him if he is available at No. 5.
J is for Jermaine Johnson: A double J! How can we not talk about Florida State edge Jermaine Johnson here? Johnson is an interesting case. He had only one year of big production after transferring out of Georgia, and advanced analytics raise questions about how good a pass rusher he will be, but he keeps rising up draft boards. Oh, and he keeps getting connected to the Giants. So, we’ll see.
K is for Kayvon: How early will Kayvon Thibodeaux be selected? My guess is the Oregon edge defender’s ceiling is No. 3 to the Houston Texans. His floor? I would not be unhappy if he doesn’t get past the Giants.
L is for Linderbaum: At one time, some analysts thought Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum could be selected by the Giants in the top 10. Now, there are those who think he might fall all the way out of the first round. Could Linderbaum be in play for the Giants if they trade back in Round 1?
M is for Malik: Who will take the plunge and draft Liberty quarterback Malik Willis? Could someone trade up to No. 5 or No. 7 and give the Giants a plethora of draft picks for the opportunity to do so?
N is for Nakobe: I have admitted this before, but I believe Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean would be a terrific selection for the Giants. I can see selecting him in the back half of round 1 in a trade-down scenario, or at No. 36 should he fall that far. He’s undersized, but has the instincts, aggression and range to make that mostly irrelevant.
O is for Ojabo: Who will turn in a card with David Ojabo’s name on it? Will anyone do so in Round 1 despite the torn Achilles tendon the Michigan edge rusher suffered at his Pro Day? He is a top 15 talent and if he is still available at No. 36 it wouldn’t bother me a bit if the Giants selected him.
P is for Punters: There are three with draftable grades — Matt Araiza of San Diego State, Jordan Stout of Penn State and Jake Camarda of Georgia. Will they all hear their names called before the draft is over? I have mocked Araiza to the Giants with pick No. 182 in Round 6 a number of times. He could be selected well before that.
Q is for Quarterbacks: How many will be selected in the top 10? In Round 1 overall? Will anyone want to trade places with the Giants at No. 5 or No. 7 to select a quarterback?
R is for Rumors: Draft rumors, draft buzz, draft speculation ... whatever you want to call it, it’s everywhere right now. Admittedly, it’s great for website traffic but I think we will all be glad when the rumors stop and we have some answers.
S is for Schoen: What will GM Joe Schoen do in his first draft as a general manager? Will he wheel and deal? Stand pat? Pick the players commonly associated to the Giants by mock drafters and draft analysts? Pull a couple of surprises? I think we will learn one thing about Schoen during the draft, and that is how much tolerance he has for risk.
T is for Trades: Most analysts expect Schoen to trade down with either the fifth or seventh pick. NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said recently that the Giants “would probably take 75 cents on the dollar in terms of the trade chart to get out” of one of those picks because of the lack of teams wanting to move up for quarterbacks.
One thing Schoen has mentioned a couple of times is the possibility of moving around in the middle of the draft, perhaps to collect an extra pick or two. That is just something to keep an eye on.
U is for Unpredictable: Chris’s mock draft is way different than mine. Nick’s is different than either of them. That’s just a small example of how things might go in this draft. The draft is always unpredictable, and this one could be more unpredictable than most. Forget figuring out the top 10. As I type this, we still aren’t certain who will go No. 1.
The only thing I know about this draft is that no one really knows anything. There are going to be a slew of times Thursday night, and probably Friday, when you are flabbergasted by who got picked or who did not.
So, buckle up.
V is for Velus and Verone: Velus Jones Jr. is a wide receiver from Tennessee who will likely be drafted in the middle rounds. Verone McKinley III is an undersized safety from Oregon who is also a mid-round prospect. Hey, ‘V’ had to be for something!
W is for Walker: Could Georgia edge defender Travon Walker actually ascend all the way to the No. 1 pick? I’m not sure about that, but odds are he won’t be available when the Giants pick at No. 5.
X is for X Factor: We already talked about the quarterbacks and the unpredictability of the draft. Here, I’m thinking about the New York Jets. Especially since there is some indication that owner Woody Johnson will be heavily involved in this decision. The Jets pick at No. 4 and have been connected to a lot of the same players the Giants could be interested in — Sauce Gardner, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Ickey Ekwonu among them. Whatever the Jets do it obviously impacts the Giants.
Y is for Skyy: Western Michigan wide receiver Skyy Moore is probably going to hear his name called in Round 2 on Friday night. The Giants, with Darius Slayton on shaky ground and the long-term futures of Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney as Giants debatable, have a need at wide receiver. Trying to fill it with Moore would be fine with me.
In his draft guide, Dane Brugler of The Athletic writes:
A physically and mentally tough competitor, Moore creates route leverage with his foot quickness and is extremely reliable at the catch point thanks to his large, sticky hands and quick-reaction ball skills. Although he isn’t an explosive YAC threat, he flashes natural instincts with the ball in his hands and makes it a chore for defenders to get him on the ground. Overall, Moore might have  trouble creating sizable passing windows vs. NFL coverage, but he has outstanding hands and reflexes with the detail-oriented mindset to grow into a three-level threat. He projects best as an NFL slot receiver.
Z is for Zion: Zion Johnson of Boston College is likely the top guard in the class. Could the Giants find a way to get him? Probably not.