The offseason marches on and we’re solidly in the Dog Days of Summer after the end of mandatory mini-camp.
But while the New York Giants players and coaches are taking some time for themselves and getting ready for Training Camp at the end of July, the scouting department is busy. The NFL’s scouts are hard at work laying the groundwork for the 2023 draft process and previewing this year’s prospects.
Without much else going on, there’s also time to use some very early mock drafts to look at teams’ potential strengths and weaknesses ahead of the 2022 season.
Ian Cummings, writing for Pro Football Network, released an early 2-round mock draft. Cummings makes a common pick for the Giants in the first round, then addresses a potential defensive need in the second.
7. New York Giants - Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Things are looking up for the Giants with Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll. But there are a few loose ends from the previous regime that may eventually need tying up. Although he’s back and healthy, Saquon Barkley’s long-term status with New York is unclear. And while he has a chance to revitalize his career under new management, Daniel Jones’ leash will be shorter this year. If the Giants are picking at No. 7, odds are Jones didn’t impress. And then it will be time for the Giants to invest in a new QB.
Like Richardson, Will Levis is a talented but flawed passer. He comes with a steely 6’3″, 230-pound frame, exceptional athleticism and competitive toughness, and a very live arm with wicked velocity. But at the same time, his decision-making and pocket presence can be inconsistent, and his field vision is very much a work in progress. Nevertheless, the Giants’ staff has previous experience with a talented yet flawed prospect in Josh Allen. With Levis, they may try to get lightning to strike twice.
39) New York Giants - Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse
We can already tell that Giants fans are going to get real familiar with Levis’ name over the coming months. Barring a spectacular leap from Daniel Jones, the Giants will be looking at quarterbacks throughout the 2023 Draft Process. When the Giants opted to forego Jones’ $20 million fifth year option, they essentially set the baseline for his play at the $31 million QB franchise tag.
Assuming the Giants will be in the market for a quarterback, it makes sense that Levis is already commonly linked to them. He shares a number of traits with Josh Allen, both in his size, athleticism, and arm talent, and with the concerns regarding his game thus far in his development.
Interestingly, Levis is QB 6 and the 44th overall prospect in PFN’s Top-50 Big Board — granted, that’s based on what Levis showed in 2021. He obviously has room, and the opportunity for, improvement in 2022. Drafting him because he reminds you of Josh Allen, and because Schoen and Daboll were there when Allen made his unprecedented leap, is a chancy proposition. There is, however another reason to consider Levis: Wan’Dale Robinson. There’s been a definite trend lately to reconnect QBs and skill position players with whom they’re familiar. Leaning on those relationships can help shorten a young player’s learning curve and give them the familiarity necessary to be productive early in their career.
There’s still a lot of football to be played between now and the 2023 NFL Draft. Anything can happen, and Levis certainly could work his way into being a Top-10 prospect. Or perhaps scouts and draft analysts will move on to players like Tyler Van Dyke in Miami or Spencer Rattler in South Carolina. Or perhaps Daniel Jones will prove to be worthy of a $30 million contract. But for now, it makes sense to keep an eye on the quarterback class, and there’s reason to be intrigued by Levis.
Moving on to Cummings’ second pick, I’ll admit that I haven’t watched enough of Garrett Wilson to offer anything like a scouting report on him (at least not yet). He’s been a starter on Syracuse’s defense for each of the last two years and has lead the ACC in passes defensed over that same period. He has the frame to be an outside corner at the NFL level, listed at 6-foot, 190 pounds. However, I can’t say whether he has the athletic traits and technique to play in Wink Martindale’s aggressive coverage schemes.
Stepping back a bit, there’s the looming possibility that the Giants will need to find an answer at outside corner across from Adoree Jackson. If a starting outside corner doesn’t emerge from the group of Aaron Robisnon, Darnay Holmes, CorDale Flott, Julian Love, or Jarren Williams, the Giants will need to find a starting corner.
It should be noted that Wilson doesn’t appear on PFN’s Top-50 list. However, Joe Schoen showed a strong willingness to look at under-the-radar players on teams that haven’t experienced much success in the 2022 NFL Draft. That could put players like Wilson, who have been good players on not-good teams, very much in play.