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Ed’s mock draft 5.0: Taking a different approach

Charles Cross, and a first-round trade

NFL: Scouting Combine
Charles Cross
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

My fifth 2022 NFL mock draft for the New York Giants is different than any of the first four in a few ways. This is a four-round mock, the first time I have gone that deep into the draft. It includes a different, yet realistic, first-round scenario. It also includes the selections of some players we haven’t talked much about.

Remember, as much as I’m trying to be realistic I am also trying to paint scenarios for discussion. I am trying to generate some conversation about players and possibilities. That means I can’t do the same thing over and over.

Perhaps the last week or two of the mock draft I will give you mocks as I think the Giants would do them. For now, though, these are about the possibilities. I will even admit there is one selection in this mock that, in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t made. You guys will probably figure it out when you see it.

Anyway, here we go.

Round 1 (No. 5) — Trade!

I accepted picks 20, 52 and a first-round pick in 2023 from the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for picks 5 and 147.

Georgia edge Travon Walker, cornerback Sauce Gardner and offensive tackles Ickey Ekwonu and Charles Cross are all still on the board. I would guess quarterbacks go at picks 5 and 6, and even if they don’t I will have two of those four players to select from at No. 7. No reason not to do this, net a 2022 second-round pick and set myself up with an extra 2023 first rounder.

Round 1 (No. 7) — Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Because it’s a simulator and simulators are stupid the trade up by Pittsburgh ended up with the Steelers selecting Ekwonu at No. 5. Reality is there is no way Pittsburgh makes that trade and does anything other than select Malik Willis or Kenny Pickett.

Anyway, I’m thrilled with getting Cross. As much as I love Ekwonu, I think Evan Neal is OT1 and Ekwonu and Cross are OT2 and OT2A. The more I have thought about it, read about and listened to people who know more about offensive line play than I do, I think they might be a coin flip based on your preference for mauling run blocking or smooth pass pro.

Other players considered: Travon Walker, Sauce Gardner

Round 1 (No. 20) — Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

This pick is HARD!!! There are Tyler Linderbaum fans who would probably like to kill me. I am tempted by the cornerbacks here, but I feel like this is a smidge early for any of them — especially given Andrew Booth’s injuries. I really like Drake London, but wide receiver in Round 1 feels like a luxury pick for the Giants, who don’t have any luxuries at the moment.

I’m taking Lloyd. I’m a big Nakobe Dean fan, too, but I will defer here to the majority of analysts who rate Lloyd a touch higher.

Other players considered: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa; Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida; Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson; Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington; Drake London, WR, USC; Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Round 2 (No. 36) — Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M

Green shouldn’t be available, but he is and I am taking advantage. Green is Round 1 value and a plug and play left guard who probably starts Week 1 for the Giants.

NFL.com says:

Guard prospect with NFL-ready frame who plays with an impressive level of consistency as a run blocker. Green moves defenders from Point A to Point B against their will, using hand technique and road-grading leg drive. He possesses adequate foot quickness to operate in a variety of run schemes, but needs to eliminate his tendency to grab when his opponent is slipping away from the block. He has pop and anchor in pass protection, but lacks recognition and mirror technique needed to be at his best against athletic interior rushers. While green has some areas to improve, his run blocking can be dominant, which gives him a chance to become a good starter very quickly.

Michigan edge defender David Ojabo is on the board here. I have established in a couple of previous posts that I would be fine selecting him at No. 36 if he is available, as he is in this situation.

Two reasons why I passed. First, I think Green quickly becomes the best guard on the Giants’ roster. Two, I simply don’t want to do the same thing week after week. I want to offer different possibilities.

Other players considered: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State; Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan; David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan; Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota

Round 2 (No. 52) — Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

I really wanted to get Wink Martindale a press-man cornerback at some point. I know, I traded out of the opportunity to get the best one in the draft, Sauce Gardner. My haul for trading down is the combo of Devin Lloyd, Gordon and a 2023 first-round pick. I’m pretty happy with that.

With Gordon, I’m betting on tools and upside. NFL.com says:

Cornerback who comes with an elite, high-performance engine but a GPS still in the process of loading. Gordon’s dynamic athletic qualities will show up in testing, but more importantly, they are all over his tape. His blend of play strength and explosive burst affects the passing game from press, off-man and zone coverages. He plays with an alpha demeanor and hitting is definitely part of his overall package. Gordon lacks polish and needs to play with better route recognition and anticipation, but if those elements click, his ball production could be near the top of the league as one of the top playmakers in the game.

Other players considered: Hall; Walker; Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State; Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State; Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor

Round 3 (No. 67) — Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M

Like I did last week with Kyren Williams, I was hopeful of coming away with a player capable of backing up Saquon Barkley. Spiller was a value on the PFN board at this point. Honestly, if I had a do-over on this one I would probably choose edge defender Nik Bonitto.

Other players considered: Sean Rhyan, G, UCLA; Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan; Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama; Logan Hall, DT, Houston; Nik Bonitto, EDGE, Oklahoma

Round 3 (No. 81) — Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State

I was crushed by some of you last week when I selected UCLA tight end Greg Dulcich in this spot. This time, I will go with Ruckert. He might not end up being as dynamic as Dulcich, but he is a better all-around player at this point and might be a nice TE2 to complement Ricky Seals-Jones, who is more pass receiver than blocker.

Other players considered: Rhyan; Moore; Bonitto; Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA; Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina; Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois

Round 4 (No. 112) — Nick Cross, S, Maryland

Added the fourth round this week as I think I am comfortable enough with draft prospects at this point to make a fairly well-informed decision. A safety with this kind of speed and athleticism is something the Giants can use.

Besides, I’m a Maryland grad. I’m allowed to pick a Terp on occasion.

Other players considered: Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky; Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State; Cole Strange, G-C, Tennessee-Chattanooga