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Cover 3: What we learned at 2022 NFL Combine


The gives their impressions from the 2022 NFL Combine in Indianapolis:

John Schmeelk: Most of what we learned at the NFL Combine was a reinforcement of prior beliefs.

There's no way to know who the Giants are going to pick with the 5th and 7th overall picks in the draft and it's too hard to narrow it down as much as you'd want at this time of year. There are only four players who will be off the board before they make their first selection. It shouldn't be this hard, but that's the nature of the 2022 draft class with few truly obvious blue-chip prospects available.

You can be very confident Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu and Aidan Hutchinson will be selected before the Giants select at 5th overall. Here are some players Giants fans could keep an eye on as potential selections:

Kyle Hamilton. For many teams he might be the player with the highest raw grade but safeties rarely go this high. Don't let the sub-par 40 yard dash dissuade you. The rest of his testing numbers were excellent and his tape is immaculate.

Charles Cross. Some teams will have him as the third best offensive tackle. He is a smooth moving pass protector with a lot of room to grow.

Trevor Penning. Some might think this is a little rich for an offensive tackle from Northern Iowa, but he is big, an elite athlete for the position and is both mean and nasty.

Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner. Much to Paul Dottino's chagrin, his full nickname from his college coach was "A1 Sauce Sweet Pea" Gardner. It has nothing to do with marinara!. But Gardner is long, acts like a professional and tested well.

Derek Stingley Jr. He didn't work out at the combine but his freshman tape from LSU is as good as any cornerback tape from the college level in a long time.

Kayvon Thibodeaux. Nearly every draft analyst who came on Big Blue Kickoff Live mentioned questions about his consistency and whether he would ever reach the tantalizing high end potential he flashed at Oregon. The talent, however, is undeniable.

Travon Walker. He had one of the best testing weekends of all time. He was rarely allowed to pin back his ears and rush the passer at Georgia, but he has every trait you want at 272 pounds and is an elite run defender.

Jermaine Johnson II. This may be high for some, but his tape checks every box for an edge rusher and he tested like one, too. Like Walker, he was also very engaging to chat with at the podium.

View photos from the Giants' suite in Indianapolis, where the team is gathered to evaluate the top draft prospects.

Dan Salomone: As lead NFL Network's lead draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah noted, this is a “great draft” if you have multiple picks in the first round. The reason? Depth. "You can address a lot of needs in this draft," he said. Well, would you look at that - the Giants have two picks in the top seven and plenty of needs. The consensus coming out of the combine was that there was no consensus to the pecking order by position. What everyone agreed on, though, was that you can find players to fit your team on all three days.

Said GM Joe Schoen: "Again, where we are, [Nos.] 5 and 7 in terms of just the first round ... finding seven players that we really like that fit position specifics, critical factors and the type of football make-up and the type of character we want to build in our building, then I'll sleep good at night. If it's too high to take a guy or whatever it is, that's fine. What I care about is what the people think in the building and we'll do our due diligence and make sure regardless whether it's a deep draft or not, we'll find somebody that we like and will be able to contribute for us."

Lance Medow: Although most of the focus is on the prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine, some of the biggest takeaways can be drawn from the buzz or lack thereof with respect to potential transactions involving veterans. It's why there won't be nearly as much quarterback movement in comparison to 2021. Last year, we saw Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater and Carson Wentz get traded. You also had speculation surrounding Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson's future as well as some veterans – such as Andy Dalton and Mitchell Trubisky - changing teams through free agency. It would be very surprising to see as much activity under center this off-season. Despite the massive cap hits for quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins, the Falcons and Vikings will work out new deals with their respective quarterbacks to create more flexibility and the same can be said for Rodgers, assuming he stays in Green Bay. You won't see Wilson being moved and the Colts can't dramatically upgrade their situation by parting ways with Wentz - other than somehow acquiring Rodgers, which is likely a pipe dream. Jimmy Garoppolo and Deshaun Watson are two strong candidates to be traded, but both come with question marks. Garoppolo has dealt with several injuries over his career and is coming off shoulder surgery this off-season and Watson has the baggage of unresolved legal issues.

If there are going to be any major shakeups or surprises, it will come through the draft with a team or two taking a chance on a young signal caller – even if this class doesn't have the same amount of buzz as recent history. All it takes is one team and there will be suitors for Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral and Sam Howell.


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