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Cover 3: Who will be available for Giants at No. 5?


With just one more week until the draft, the crew gives best guesses about how the first four picks will play out before the Giants pick at No. 5.

John Schmeelk: You would love to see no offensive linemen or cornerbacks go before the Giants pick fifth overall. They can walk away with Sauce Gardner and whomever their favorite offensive tackle is and then throw a party in the parking lot of the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. It's never that easy. The nightmare scenario is for Hutchinson, Gardner, Neal and Thibodeaux to go in the first four picks. Then things get very interesting as to who the Giants would select. You're looking for easy decisions.

Reality will be somewhere in-between those two scenarios. You can believe Aidan Hutchinson will be a Top-2 pick, along with either Kayvon Thibodeaux or Travon Walker. You'd think the Texans pick an offensive tackle, and then the Jets take Sauce Gardner. It would not be surprising me if the Jets pick an edge rusher instead of Gardner, or if the Texans also pick a defensive player.

So the best guess here is: Jacksonville-Travon Walker, Detroit-Aidan Hutchinson, Houston-Evan Neal, New York Jets-Sauce Gardner. In this situation it is very plausible the Giants walk away with Kayvon Thibodeaux and Ikem Ekwonu or Charles Cross. It would be a good haul to walk away with.

Dan Salomone: Don't hold this projection to the order in which they will be drafted (or any of this, really), but when the rubber meets the road, the top of the first round will play out more like everyone envisioned earlier in the draft cycle. We're in that period right now when speculation runs rampant. But things tend to level out as people return to what really matters, which is what they did on real college game tape.

In terms of the four players likely to be off the board for the Giants, you're looking at edge defender Aidan Hutchinson, offensive tackle Ickey Ekwonu, cornerback Sauce Gardner, and wide receiver Garrett Wilson. The last one might be seen as a stretch, but just look at the impact Ja'Marr Chase made last season and where the big contracts are going in the NFL. Wide receivers have never been more valuable.

Lance Medow: There's recently been a lot of buzz surrounding the Jaguars as to what direction they'll go with the first overall pick. Some think Doug Pederson may push for an offensive player given his background while Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker has also been tied to Jacksonville. Regardless, Michigan pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson is the safest selection because of his track record and pairing him with Josh Allen isn't a bad idea.

Much like the Jaguars, the Lions can also address several positions. Detroit has an underrated offensive line that unfortunately dealt with some injuries, including center Frank Ragnow, last season. So they can address the opposite side of the ball with Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, who should help bolster a pass rush that produced just 30 sacks in 2021 (third-lowest total in the league). The Texans are in the same boat of needing several playmakers, but one of their biggest priorities is to shore up the offensive line and Ickey Ekwonu of North Carolina State makes a lot of sense because of his ability to play tackle and guard. The Jets have selected an offensive lineman in the first round in each of the last two years (2020 – Mekhi Becton, 2021 – Alijah Vera-Tucker). This year, they'll bring in another defensive lineman in Georgia's Travon Walker to complement the likes of Carl Lawson and Quinnen Williams. Remember, head coach Robert Saleh came over from the Niners, who drafted a defensive lineman in the first round five times between 2015-20 and one of them, Solomon Thomas, just signed with the Jets this off-season.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah released his final edition of the top 50 prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.


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