Giants final 7-round 2022 NFL Mock Draft

·7 min read
Ahmad Gardner treated image, blue middle stripe
Ahmad Gardner treated image, blue middle stripe

Time’s up. Pencils down. Get ready to turn in the card. It’s NFL Draft Week. And though I reserve the right to change my mind on any of this between now and Thursday night, here is my “final” 7-Round Giants Mock Draft:

First round (5th overall) – Alabama OT Evan Neal

For those of you scoring at home, there is no doubt in my mind that it will be a tackle here. I think there are three of them the Giants would take and this 6-7, 337-pounder might actually be their top choice. It would be an interesting discussion if N.C. State’s Ikem Ekwonu is here too, but I don’t think he will be. And if both are gone, I think the Giants would grab Mississippi State’s Charles Cross. I know they love Cincinnati CB Ahmad Gardner too and think he’s worthy of the fifth pick, but there’s more of a risk that the Panthers take a tackle at No. 6. And they just can’t come out of this first round without a starting right tackle, and I don’t think they can take a chance on a less-ready player on Day 2.

First round (7th overall) – Cincinnati CB Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner

The Giants love the 6-3, 190-pound “Sauce,” and they are going to really be sweating this pick out. There is a chance that he’s going to go No. 3 overall to the Texans, though I believe that if they take a corner, it will more likely be LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. There are some who believe the Jets want him at No. 4, though as I explained in my Jets 7-Round Mock Draft, I’m not buying that. For the Giants, he’s perfect. He fits everything Don “Wink” Martindale wants to do on defense, and he’d be an ideal replacement for veteran CB James Bradberry who will almost certainly be gone after the draft, if he’s not traded during it. What will the Giants do if Gardner is gone? I believe they’d turn to an edge rusher, probably Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson, though I wouldn’t completely rule out Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux. “Sauce,” though, is their “dream” pick here, as one NFL scout told me.

Second round (36th overall) – Georgia S Lewis Cine

I know the Giants are going to say they only want to take the “best available players” but they have such an obvious array of needs that they just can’t ignore -- like at safety where after cutting Logan Ryan they only have two on the roster (Julian Love and Xavier McKinney). So they have to take one in the draft, and probably early. The good news for them is there are a bunch that are projected to be late-first, early-second-round picks, like the 6-2, 199-pound Cine. He is an absolutely ferocious hitter who is more of a box safety and not much of a ball hawk. With the aggressive style that Martindale wants to play, he could fit right in, especially with his 4.37 speed that could make him a fantastic blitzer. There are other safeties that could go here – Penn State’s Jaquan Brisker, Michigan’s Daxton Hill, for example. One or two of them might go in the first round, so it might be a matter of which one is left. But I do know the Giants like Cine and will consider him if he’s here.

Third round (67th overall) – Houston DE Logan Hall

If the Giants don’t get an edge rusher on Day 1, they’ll likely address it on Day 2 because it’s clearly a need on their defense. There is a belief that Martindale’s scheme will be enough to improve their pass rush just because he’s so aggressive. But they still need players to actually get to the quarterback. And they definitely need help along the defensive line, where Leonard Williams has been a one-man show the last few years. The 6-6, 278-pound Hall looks like a 3-4 end in the pros, though he played mostly inside at defensive tackle in college where he had six sacks and 13 tackles for loss last year. He’s quick enough with his hands and feet that he should really help take some of the pressure off Williams. And if the Giants can get push from both sides of their defensive line, the Martindale blitz will be even more dangerous.

Third round (81st overall) – Georgia RB James Cook

The Giants have spent so much time looking at running backs, it’s almost impossible to believe they won’t take one on Day 2 of the draft. Not only do they need depth for what likely will be something of a backfield rotation, but they also have their eyes on a future that may not include Saquon Barkley after his contract expires at the end of the season. The Giants have been enamored with Dalvin Cook’s little brother (5-11, 199) from the start of this process. He’s got 4.4 speed and makes really quick cuts that can make him elusive in the open field. He’s a little small and probably not a between-the-tackles runner, but that can be Barkley’s job this season. And if Barkley’s not back, they can always find another bigger bag to take the inside pounding next year.

Fourth round (112th overall) – Ohio State TE Jeremy Ruckert

Back to the obvious needs portion of the Giants draft … They got rid of all their tight ends from last year, and while they did sign Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins that’s not a dynamic duo, nor is it an answer for the future. So they have to draft a tight end. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if they do it on Day 2. But I think the value is better here, especially with this 6-5, 250-pound Long Island native. He has the size, speed and hands to become a decent receiver, and he might be overlooked because he was really underused as a receiver with the Buckeyes. The Giants don’t need him to be a 70-catch tight end, but he certainly could be a reliable option for quarterback Daniel Jones, who needs all the sure-handed targets he can get.

Fifth round (147th overall) – Kentucky C Luke Fortner

The Giants need so much help on their offensive line, I’m honestly not sure they’d wait this long to take another lineman. But they will take another one at some point and it will very likely be guard or a center. They have stacked their line with veteran interior linemen, but none of them are going to be here long term. So they need someone to develop, particularly at center where they just can’t count on Nick Gates ever playing again after his leg injury. This 6-4, 307-pounder is one of the better center prospects in a weak center class. He could use some development, but he’s got the size and strength to be a future starter, which is exactly what the Giants need.

Fifth round (173rd overall) – UCLA WR Kyle Phillips

A Day 3 receiver was a staple of the Bills’ drafts when new Giants GM Joe Schoen was there, and it will make sense to continue that trend here. The future of the Giants’ receiving corps is definitely in flux. Sterling Shepard isn’t signed beyond this year, Kenny Golladay is cuttable after this year, Darius Slayton is on the trade block and who knows how things will go with Kadarius Toney? Really, they might pick a receiver even earlier. But this is a very deep class and good receivers can be found in later rounds. The 5-11, 189-pound Phillips is a quick slot receiver who can take the pounding over the middle and is elusive enough to turn short passes into something more. He drew some obvious comparisons to Julian Edelman, though he’s not nearly as explosive. He could fill the role that Cole Beasley played in Brian Daboll’s offenses in Buffalo.

Sixth round (182nd overall) – LSU C/G Chasen Hines

Again, as badly as the Giants need to rebuild their starting offensive line, they also need to replenish the depth and get some young players with potential to maybe develop into starters down the road. That’s why I think the minimum number they’ll select with their nine draft picks is three. I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s more. Late in the draft they may as well grab as many as they can, and there’s good value in this strong, 6-3, 327-pounder. He’s a much better run blocker than pass protector, but some scouts think that’s because his weight has fluctuated too much and that he’ll be quicker if he slims down a bit. Whether he does might depend on whether his NFL team wants him at guard or center. The Giants have future openings for both.