Giants 2022 NFL Draft names to watch, including Purdue DE George Karlaftis

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • New York Giants
    New York Giants
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • George Karlaftis
    American football player
  • Daniel Jones
    Daniel Jones
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
Matt Corral/George Karlaftis/Ikem Ekwonu Treated Image
Matt Corral/George Karlaftis/Ikem Ekwonu Treated Image

The Giants have four games left in the regular season, but with a 4-9 record, many fans are already turning their heads to April and the 2022 NFL Draft.

No, Big Blue isn't officially eliminated from the playoffs just yet. But with the way things have been going -- the Giants haven't even been competitive in their last two games without Daniel Jones at quarterback -- it's safe to say the Fighting Joe Judges are not headed off to fight for the Lombardi trophy.

That means all eyes are on what they do with their two first-round picks in this year's draft. GM Dave Gettleman traded down with the Chicago Bears to No. 20 overall to secure their first rounder for this year, and that's currently paying dividends. The Bears are 4-9, too.

New York currently owns the No. 5 and No. 6 overall picks, which is extremely important draft capital. Of course, the next four games could change exactly where the Giants wind up. But, with the Giants and Bears reeling, it could very well remain two Top 10 picks.

So how exactly should the Giants use them? It may be too early to tell their intentions, especially since many expect Gettleman to be relieved of his duties after this season. A new GM would then come in to see a roster that is full of holes on both sides of the ball, making these two picks vital to start off on the right foot.

It's no secret, though, that the trenches need work. Gettleman promised in his four years that the offensive line would be fixed. Well, that's failed. Sure, injuries have something to do with it this season, but the Giants placed too many bets on too many question marks who never panned out.

And then there's the quarterback question: Is Daniel Jones the future? It's been three years and there hasn't been a definitive answer. There's a chance he might not finish this season, either, as he continues to deal with a neck injury.

With all of this in mind, here's an initial list of names to watch for the Giants, if they stay around their current draft position:

Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis (5) celebrates a stop during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette.
Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis (5) celebrates a stop during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette.

DE George Karlaftis, Purdue

The Giants need an edge rusher, and Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson and Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux should be off the board by the time they pick. Karlaftis, though, is the next best option and he's been a stud this year with 4.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, and 39 total tackles in 12 games for the Boilermakers. He's also good at getting his hands up to tip passes and had two forced fumbles as well.

OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State

Cross is a fantastic pass-protection tackle and the Giants desperately need another one of those. Matt Peart hasn't worked out as planned and Nate Solder is expected to be gone after the season, so they need someone else at right tackle to play opposite Andrew Thomas.

Cross, at 6-foot-5, 305 pounds, started all 10 games at left tackle as a redshirt freshman in 2020.

OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State

As a true freshman, the Wolfpack trusted Ekwonu at left tackle and he delivered and then some, becoming one of the best all around blockers in the NCAA. At 6-foot-4, 320 pounds, he's quick, has great technique, and many believe he should be a left tackle in the NFL.

OT Evan Neal, Alabama

If the Giants end up higher in the draft with either first-round pick, Neal would be at the top of this list. The former five-star recruit out of IMG Academy has been an absolute monster for the Crimson Tide on their O-line. At 6-foot-6, 360 pounds, Neal is incredibly athletic and widely considered a Top 5 pick. His forte is run blocking, but overall he's extremely hard to beat. He's played both right and left tackle in his collegiate career. Fans will see more of him in the College Football Playoff.

Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) throws a pass against the Texas A&M Aggies during the first quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) throws a pass against the Texas A&M Aggies during the first quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

QBs Matt Corral (Ole Miss) & Kenny Pickett (Pitt)

These two can stay in one shot because, as of now, the Giants aren't giving up on Jones. But who knows what a new GM wants? Maybe a quarterback competition should happen in East Rutherford.

Corral and Pickett were both Heisman candidates, with Pickett finishing third in voting. Both have their own style of play, but are widely expected to go in the first round. Would it be as high as No. 5 or 6? That's a big question. But for now, we'll leave them on the list because there will certainly be a quarterback question this offseason.

OLB Nakobe Dean, Georgia

Another Georgia linebacker, you say? Why not.

Dean is that sideline-to-sideline guy who, paired next to Blake Martinez, could make a lethal tandem at the second level of the defense. He totaled 62 tackles in just 13 games this season, five of which were sacks and eight for loss. He had two forced fumbles, two interceptions, and a defensive touchdown.

He's an every-down backer who's good in coverage, solid in the run game, and can be a captain of the defense down the road.