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2022 Mock Draft Tracker

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Mock Draft Tracker 2.0: Giants hire new GM


As one season ends, another begins. That's right – it's mock draft time.

The 2022 NFL Draft order is starting to take shape with the conclusion of the 2021 regular season and two rounds of playoffs. The Giants, who picked up an additional first-round pick in a trade with the Chicago Bears last April, are locked into the fifth and seventh overall selections. Now, they have a new general manager in Joe Schoen, who spent the last five seasons as the Buffalo Bills' assistant general manager.

How will the hiring affect the draft? Below is a look at experts' latest projections:

Pick for No. 5: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

Analysis: "There has been a lot of recent buzz around Ekwonu, whose stock is rising. He dominated at left tackle for the Wolfpack this season after playing some guard earlier in his career. Based on the 2021 tape, there's not much separating Ekwonu from Evan Neal, and I wouldn't be surprised if Ekwonu was the top tackle off the board in April. He has All-Pro potential as a run-blocker and as a pass-blocker."

Pick for No. 7: David Ojabo, OLB, Michigan

Analysis: "Ojabo can help the pass rush immediately. He had an incredibly impressive season, racking up 11 sacks and five forced fumbles while playing opposite my projected No. 1 pick, Aidan Hutchinson. He doesn't have Hutchinson's all-around game -- he has to get better against the run -- but as a pure pass-rusher, he has a very high ceiling. With these two top-seven selections, New York can get high-end starters on both sides of the ball."

Pick for No. 5: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, N.C. State

Analysis: "This would be a home-run pick for a team in need of upgrades along the offensive line. Andrew Thomas has emerged as a legit starter, but the Giants need more help for Daniel Jones. Ekwonu is strong, powerful and nasty."

Pick for No. 7: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Analysis: "Lloyd is a fun player to study. He flies around the field and makes a bunch of plays on the ball. His intangibles are off the charts. I could see the 2021 Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year emerge as a key leader for the Giants' defense."

Pick for No. 5: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

Analysis: "Karlaftis wins with power and has proven disruptive even though he often sees double-teams for Purdue -- and like Leonard Williams, he is versatile enough to rush from inside when needed."

Pick for No. 7: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Analysis: "Dean has sideline-to-sideline range and is an artist at slipping blocks, hunting down ball carriers and blowing up plays. Just look at this 13-game stat line for the season: 62 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and a touchdown."

Pick for No. 5:  Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Analysis: "Rebuilding the Giants' offensive line has to be a top priority for new general manager Joe Schoen. As a Day 1 starter, Cross could immediately help Big Blue re-establish a blue-collar mentality on offense."

Pick for No. 7: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Analysis: "The Giants have always been at their best when a dominant defensive front can take over the game. The ultra-twitchy pass rusher from Michigan would add significant juice."

Pick for No. 5: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Analysis: "His balance will fade as the play progresses, but he has a rare mix of size, athleticism and flexibility to make plays in pass protection and the run game."

Pick for No. 7: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Analysis: "Safety isn't the most glaring need on the Giants' depth chart, but with a new general manager and head coach, they will be looking to draft impact players, above everything else, in the top 10. And Hamilton might be the most talented player in the draft, regardless of position. At 6-3 and 218 pounds, Hamilton is a super-sized safety with the range and length to be a matchup weapon in the NFL. Though his physical traits stand out, it is his football IQ that is most impressive, sensing what is about to happen and being disruptive."

Pick for No. 5: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Analysis: "Thibodeaux coming off the board at No. 5 might feel like a "fall," given that he was the consensus No. 1 overall pick just a few months ago. But after learning more about the class, it makes more sense that his range falls between Pick 1 and Pick 5. He still could very well be the first player taken in the draft, but if he's not, there's no guarantee he's the next name after that. His natural gifts as a pass-rusher make him a top-five lock, but I'll give some hope to Giants fans because I do think it could play out like this, given the talent at the top of the class and the potential team needs in the top five."

Pick for No. 7: Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa

Analysis: "Yeah, yeah, I know. "You don't take a center this high." However, I genuinely think this is where Linderbaum's range begins, and I also think there's a chance he could be the Giants' second selection. New general manager Joe Schoen comes over from Buffalo, where he served as assistant GM for five years. He was Brandon Beane's right-hand man, and with 20 years of a scouting background, his voice was likely a very important one in the war room. The Bills have honed in on the trenches in each of their last three drafts — all five of their first and second-round picks since 2019 were spent on either offensive line or defensive line. Here, they went with a dynamic, high-ceiling pass protector at No. 5, and I bet Schoen is one of those GMs who simply says, "we're going to draft great football players in the trenches." Linderbaum is one of them."

Pick for No. 5: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, N.C. State

Analysis: "At 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds, Ekwonu has guard-tackle versatility but earned a legitimate shot to start his NFL career at offensive tackle after his spectacular 2021 campaign at left tackle with the Wolfpack. He earned a 91.6 overall grade and 93.8 run-blocking grade across more than 800 offensive snaps this season, the latter of which ranks sixth among all single-season marks for Power Five tackles since 2014. He's a true road grader in the run game with improved polish and footwork in pass protection. A player with his kind of skill set shouldn't fall past the first 10 picks in the draft."

Pick for No. 7: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

Analysis: "Karlaftis will get tagged as just a lunchpail type with a high motor in a lot of lazy analysis this draft season, but he's so much more than that. The 6-foot-4, 275-pounder was extremely productive for Purdue this season and should surprise with his athletic testing at the combine. Karlaftis, another Feldman Freaks List member, reportedly recorded a 10-foot-1 broad jump, 37.5-inch vertical and 4.69-second 40-yard dash at just over 270 pounds this offseason. Boilermakers head coach Jeff Brohm also raved about Karlaftis' efforts on and off the field in a Tailgate interview before the season."

Pick for No. 5: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Analysis: "If you want pass protection, you might as well take the guy who did it 719 times at Mississippi State last season. Cross allowed only 16 pressures after allowing 44 as a redshirt freshman in 2020."

Pick for No. 7: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

Analysis: "They got their pass protection earlier, and now they get their pass-rush. Karlaftis has inside-outside versatility and never has to come off the field. He averaged 55.6 snaps per game in 2021."

Pick for No. 5: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Analysis: "Ideally, the Giants would beef up the O-line here but the two top targets are already off the board. Instead, they focus on the defense. The team has young safeties Xavier McKinney and Julian Love, but that doesn't mean there isn't room in the secondary for Hamilton, too. He's a 6-4, 220-pound version of Ed Reed -- a sideline-to-sideline ball hawk -- and that makes him a Day 1 impact player."

Pick for No. 7: Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa

Analysis: "Linderbaum, who left Iowa's bowl game with a lower-body injury, is one of the best offensive linemen in the country. And although a center hasn't gone higher than No. 18 in the last dozen drafts, a) Linderbaum is that good, b) the Giants need to solidify the interior O-line."

Pick for No. 5: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, N.C. State

Analysis: "The Giants need to address the trenches with their picks. By a sheer numbers game, they should be able to get a quality combination of players. New York is guaranteed two of Charles Cross, Evan Neal, George Karlaftis, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Aidan Hutchinson, Tyler Linderbaum and Ekwonu."

Pick for No. 7: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

Analysis: After selecting Ikem Ekwonu, New York uses its second selection on another trench player -- Karlaftis. The Purdue product is a mature defender who knows how to use his hands to get off blocks."

View photos of the best players ever to be selected with the Nos. 5 and 7 picks in NFL draft history.

Pick for No. 5: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Analysis: "Evan Neal is experienced at right tackle and brings a rare blend of size, power, and mobility to the table."

Pick for No. 7: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Analysis: "David Ojabo is the "other" edge rusher for Michigan, but he's an exceptional prospect in his own right. He features plenty of length, burst, and fluidity to be an impact defender in the NFL. His ability to string together counters is impressive and he can pair with Azeez Ojulari to provide the Giants with an exciting young duo of edge rushers."

Pick for No. 5: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Analysis: "The Giants would be smart to target the offensive line in the first round, perhaps multiple times to boost both Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley."

Pick for No. 7: Ikem Ekwonu, G/OT, N.C. State (6-4, 320 pounds)

Analysis: "The Giants get another strong blocker with their two top-10 picks. Ekwonu is a strong, powerful run blocker with the nasty streak needed to dominate at times. He can play either inside or outside in the NFL, but with Linderbaum bolstering the middle, it would be nice to have Ekwonu flank left tackle Andrew Thomas on the right side."

Pick for No. 5: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State

Analysis: "Play him at guard, play him at tackle — just play him. He's a 6'4", 320-pound savage who will carve open lanes for Saquon Barkley and protect Daniel Jones."

Pick for No. 7: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Analysis: "Having added a game-changing offensive line piece with their first pick in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, the Giants turn to the defensive side of the ball and do the same. Michigan's David Ojabo has all the pass-rush tools and athletic upside to be a monster in New York. While I believe his Michigan teammate is the better overall prospect, I prefer the schematic fit of Ojabo in the Giants defense."

Pick for No. 5: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State

Analysis: "After proving himself this season to be a skillful pass protector in addition to a bully in the run game, Ekwonu looks like just the kind of blocker Big Blue needs."

Pick for No. 7: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Analysis: "At 6-4 and 220 pounds with massive range both in coverage and as a tackler, the two-time All-American can be utilized in an array of different manners. Pairing him with emerging standout Xavier McKinney would give the Giants a formidable tandem on the back end of their defense."

Pick for No. 5: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

Analysis: "The pick of George Karlaftis really boils down to a fit and situation where New York needs all the pass rush help they can get on the outside and I see him as a complementary skill set to the powerful interior defenders the Giants already have at their disposal."

Pick for No. 7: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Analysis: "The Giants enjoyed a promising second season from Andrew Thomas in 2021, but offensive lines aren't made to go by just a single player up front. And in adding Evan Neal to the mix, the Giants suddenly have a first-team "All-First Off The Bus" combination at tackle between Thomas and Neal. Size, power, and athleticism are hallmarks of both of their games and it should give whoever the next head coach is a nice starting point to work with up front."

Pick for No. 5: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Analysis: "Neal, the safer of the top two offensive tackles, doesn't wait long to hear his name called. And he'll play his home games in the same stadium as Ekwonu! I have Neal a smidge ahead of Ekwonu on my personal rankings and there's no doubt he's going to be a top-five pick."

Pick for No. 7: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Analysis: "The Giants' second top-10 pick flips to the defensive side of the ball where New York lands Hutchinson's running mate in Ojabo, who had 11 sacks despite still learning the nuances of playing football. He's new to the sport (he began playing football as a junior in high school) and his upside is arguably just as high as Hutchinson's. Combined with Neal, the Giants land two potential cornerstone players as they kick off a new front office and head coaching regime."


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