The Athletic's Dane Brugler releases new two-round mock draft
The NFL Combine is now in the rearview mirror, while the pro day circuit kicked off yesterday with Miami (Ohio).
The pro days will serve as the next opportunity for teams to get an up-close look at prospects in this year's draft prior to April 28. The full pro day schedule can be found here.
Many draft analysts revealed updated mock drafts following the festivities in Indianapolis. The latest to do so is The Athletic's NFL Draft Analyst Dane Brugler.
Brugler released a two-round mock draft following the combine, in which he predicted the Giants go both defense and offense with their first two picks before adding more to the defense in Round 2.
Here are Brugler's picks for the Giants, who hold the fifth, seventh and 36th overall selections in the first two rounds of this year's draft.
Pick for No. 5: Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Analysis: "Gardner can be a cornerstone for the Giants' defense. On top of an impressive college résumé, he ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at 6-3, 190 pounds with 33 1/2-inch arms."
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.
Pick for No. 7: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Analysis: "With a pair of top-seven draft picks in his first year running the front office, Schoen will be looking to draft players that help establish the new culture. Cross lacks brute power, but his athletic movement patterns and outstanding hand exchange skills are why he is one of the best pass-blockers in the draft."
Cross redshirted his freshman season following appearances in three games. He then went on to start 10 games at left tackle in 2020 and was named to the SEC All-Freshman team. In 2021, the young tackle started 12 games and allowed just two sacks and 33 hurries on 719 pass block snaps. He finished with an 86.7 overall grade from PFF, including strong marks in both the run (87.2) and pass (84.9) game.
Cross was named First-Team All-SEC and also received the Kent Hull Trophy as the best offensive lineman in Mississippi, chosen by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
For his player comparison, PFF described Cross as having "shades of Laremy Tunsil," while Lance Zierlein compared him to Taylor Moton (physical) / Tristan Wirfs (play).
Pick for No. 36: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
Mafe played in played in 42 career games at Minnesota, finishing his collegiate career with 87 tackles (59 solo), 19.5 tackles for loss, 15 sacks (ranks ninth all-time in school history), three forced three fumbles and three pass breakups.
Mafe was named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention in 2020 after registering 4.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in six games. He then led the team with seven sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 13 games in 2021, which earned him Second-Team All-Big Ten honors. He earned an 81.2 overall grade from PFF, including an 83.6 pass rush grade. Mafe also participated in the 2022 Senior Bowl in Mobile, where he was named National Team Player of the Game.
For his player comparison, Lance Zierlein likened him to Rashan Gary.
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah released his final edition of the top 50 prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.
NFL.com's 2022 All-Combine Team
The 2022 NFL Scouting Combine saw some great performances by numerous prospects.
Around The NFL writer Nick Shook released his list of best performances in Indianapolis by position.
Here is a preview of the NFL.com 2022 All-Combine Team:
Travon Walker, Georgia - "Walker is an athletic freak. The long defender weighs 275 pounds, but moves as if he's 235, posting a 4.51 40 and a 35 1/2-inch vertical jump that played a significant role in earning him a Next Gen Stats athleticism score of 87. He was consistently smooth in the field drills and ran the hoop with ease while bent at a near-constant 45-degree angle. He looked like a natural in pass-coverage drills, fluidly dropping back, tracking and catching the ball without difficulty. He certainly helped his case Saturday."
Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan - "The potential No. 1 overall pick didn't run his 40 quite as fast as some may have expected (4.74), but the rest of the workout lived up to the hype. Hutchinson thrives with his technical skills, which were easy to see during his pass-rushing work Saturday. His hands are quick, accurate and decisive, inspiring visions of Chargers stud Joey Bosa, to whom Hutchinson compared in both his Next Gen Stats athleticism score (73 to Bosa's 2016 score of 74) and overall score (93 to Bosa's 91). Hutchinson is long and in control of his body, and with his combine work now finished, it's time for him to get back to focusing on football preparation before he waits to hear his name called in April."
Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State - "Johnson spent Friday repeatedly telling reporters he'll perform well at the next level as long as he's lined up outside the opposing tackle. He'd fit well standing up in a 3-4 scheme and put his talents on display Saturday, finishing with a Next Gen Stats overall score of 81, then showing off his athleticism with surprising success in coverage. There were moments in which he didn't look entirely comfortable when attacking the ball, but he reversed his fortunes late by pulling off the best catch of the night for any defender when he dropped back in coverage against an imaginary wheel route, tracked the ball in the air and made a fantastic one-handed, over-the-shoulder catch near the end of the workout. In between, he showed off fluidity and seemed to improve as the session progressed. His rip in the speed rush was powerful, which shouldn't come as a surprise. The workout largely backed up the 2021 tape."
Honorable Mention - Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon; George Karlaftis, Purdue; Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State; Joshua Paschal, Kentucky; David Ojabo, Michigan; Boye Mafe, Minnesota; Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati
Greg Dulcich, UCLA - "Dulcich did everything right Thursday night: gauntlet, the various route drills, and he ran a solid 4.69 40-yard dash. The skills and success from his game film at UCLA were evident on the field in Indianapolis, as Dulcich was just better than the rest of a class that has some sneaky depth to be found in the later rounds."
Connor Heyward, Michigan State - "Trey McBride was impressive, carries more value as a tight end than Heyward and will be selected before Heyward, but I'm placing Cam's younger brother here because we'd talk about him a whole lot more if he were just a few inches taller. Heyward did everything right in his on-field drills and made a few impressive, difficult catches along the way. He'll find a fit somewhere in this league and he certainly belongs. I envision a Kyle Juszczyk type of role for him, in which he should flourish."
Honorable Mention - Trey McBride, Colorado State; Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina; Jelani Woods, Virginia
Check out the gallery below to view every member of NFL.com's All-Combine Team.
View photos of NFL.com's top performers from the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.
Great Investments: Best free agent signings in Giants history
Check out the video below to take a look back at the greatest free agent signings in Giants history.