2022 NFL draft: Evan Neal, Ahmad Gardner named ideal picks for Giants

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Who are the perfect prospect fits for the New York Giants in the 2022 NFL draft? That’s a question Chad Reuter of NFL.com recently pondered.

So, who did Reuter settle on for Big Blue? Unsurprisingly, the first name he came up with was Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal.

Neal has been repeatedly and routinely mocked to the Giants when available. Some prognosticators have him going over the first four picks, leaving Big Blue with other choices to make at the position, but the predominant feeling is he’s an ideal fit in East Rutherford.

Reuter’s second “ideal pick” for the Giants is Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, who makes sense — especially if New York trades or releases James Bradberry.

Round 1: No. 5 overall — Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Round 1: No. 7 overall — Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Even if they trade down from one of their two top-10 picks (one received from the Bears on a 2021 draft-day trade), the Giants will meet two crucial needs early in the draft. Neal is a logical choice to step in at right tackle (where he played in 2020) to replace Nate Solder. It will be interesting to see whether the Giants have more interest in Stingley or “Sauce” at cornerback; I’ll say Gardner gets the nod, due to his length and physical nature.

Neal is an obvious answer for a “best fit” or “ideal fit” or even a “likely selection.” If not him, then Ikem Ekwonu or Charles Cross can slide into the conversation.

Gardner, of course, is a less obvious fit simply because of the Giants’ other needs. An edge rusher or safety may be considered more pressing needs but from the perspective of a literal fit, Gardner would take to Wink Martindale’s defense like a fish to water.

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