NFL.com's perfect picks for Big Blue
Each day as the 2022 NFL Draft approaches, we see a different expert releasing his or her updated predictions for the first round of the draft.
Today we are going to take a look at something different.
NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter published his ideal top two picks for every team across the league. Of course for the Giants, those picks land early in the first round as Big Blue holds pick Nos. 5 and 7.
Here are Reuter's perfect picks for Big Blue in the first round.
Pick for No. 5: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Pick for No. 7: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Analysis: "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 enjoyed a strong collegiate career at Alabama. As a freshman, he started 13 games and allowed just one sack and three hits on 423 pass block snaps, earning him a 71.2 overall grade from PFF. It only went up from there for Neal, who earned a dominant 83.7 in 2020 after starting 12 games and surrendering two sacks, one hit and six hurries.
The offensive lineman was at his best last season. Starting 15 games at left tackle, Neal gave up two sacks, five hits and eight hurries on 650 pass block snaps. He earned an elite 85.8 overall PFF grade, including 80.4 run block and 83.6 pass block grades, and was named both First-Team All-SEC and a Consensus All-American. Neal finished his Alabama career with significant time spent at left guard (723 snaps in 2019), right tackle (765 snaps in 2020) and left tackle (1,071 snaps in 2021).
For his player comparison, both PFF and Lance Zierlein compared Neal to Jordan Mailata.
Gardner recorded three interceptions in each of his three seasons at Cincinnati, finishing with an 88.0 overall grade from Pro Football Focus while being named First-Team All-AAC after his freshman campaign. He followed that up in 2020 by earning a 77.5 overall grade and was once again named First-Team All-AAC, along with First-Team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America.
Gardner saved his best for last, earning another elite overall grade of 87.1 from PFF, aided by an 87.2 coverage grade and 77.8 run defense grade, after allowing just 131 yards in 14 games this past season. He racked up numerous accolades, including First-Team All-AAC, Consensus All-American and AAC Defensive Player of the Year.
For his player comparison, PFF described Gardner, who did not allow a single touchdown throughout his three collegiate seasons, as having "shades of Jimmy Smith," while Lance Zierlein compared him to Richard Sherman.
View photos of EVERY player projected to the Giants by draft analysts in mock drafts.
PFF picks Giants as best fit for top CB prospect
Pro Football Focus also released something similar to Reuter's article this week.
PFF's Anthony Treash looked at the top eight cornerback prospects in this year's draft class and chose their ideal landing spots.
Just like Reuter, PFF's lead college analyst believes the Giants would be the perfect landing spot for Cincinnati CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, along with the New York Jets.
As Treash writes, "Gardner is too good in press coverage to not be used in press in the NFL, and either of the two New York teams would be a perfect fit for the Cincinnati corner.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder has played over 100 more snaps in press coverage than anyone else in the FBS since 2019, and he leads the entire group in coverage grade on those reps. He has big-time arm length at 33.5-inches and brings the alpha mentality during one-on-one reps.
Regardless of the NFL team he ends up with, Gardner will have to get used to playing more off-zone than he did in college. But if he lands with either the Giants or Jets, his transition to the pros would be as smooth as can be."
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah released his final edition of the top 50 prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Three Giants make ESPN's list of top 100 college running backs
Earlier this week, ESPN released their ranking of the top 100 college running backs of the last 60 years.
Three running backs who would go on to be selected by and play for the Giants appear on the list.
First up is Boston College's Andre Williams, who appears at No. 90 on the list. Williams finished his collegiate career with 3,739 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns, most of which was gained during his senior year. That season, Williams carried the ball 355 times for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was named First-Team All-ACC, Unanimous All-American and was the recipient of both the Jim Brown Award and the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back. The Giants drafted Williams in the fourth round (No. 113 overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Next up is former Penn State and current Giants RB Saquon Barkley, who comes in at No. 68. Barkley played just three seasons for the Nittany Lions, totaling 3,843 yards and 43 touchdowns on the ground while adding another 1,195 yards and eight touchdowns on 102 receptions. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his three collegiate seasons, and finished with around 3,800 total yards from scrimmage and 43 total touchdowns in his final two seasons. He earned numerous accolades while at Penn State, including two-time First-Team All-Big Ten, two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Consensus All-American, just to name a few. The Giants drafted Barkley with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The highest-ranked former Giant to make the list is Wisconsin's Ron Dayne, who lands all the way up at No. 12 on ESPN's list. During his four seasons playing for the Badgers, Dayne totaled 7,125 rushing yards (5.8 avg.), 304 receiving yards (9.8 avg.) and 71 total touchdowns. Dayne still stands today as the NCAA's all-time leading rusher. He won a Heisman Trophy, along with countless other awards, and was a two-time Rose Bowl MVP.
As the article states, "The platonic ideal of a Barry Alvarez back, Dayne rushed for 2,109 yards and 21 touchdowns as a freshman, then tried his best to top that in the years that followed, leading the Badgers to two Rose Bowl wins and winning the Heisman in 1999."
View photos of Giants running back Saquon Barkley.