The New York Giants and GM Joe Schoen are about the enter a rebuild of the decade. There is a ton of uncertainty on who stands where in this year’s draft. With the expectations being high and a lot on the line for players and front office members, will this team make the right moves? The Giants have two “lottery” picks this year, #5 and #7, and a slept-on 5th overall pick in the second round. This is my ideal mock draft and picks that will help kickstart Joe Schoen’s rebuild.
Round 1 (#5 Overall)
Ikem Ekwonu – OT – NC STATE
Ekwonu is a pure-bred beast and arguably the best offensive lineman in this draft. The 6’4, 320-pound linemen can be described as freakishly athletic. Ekwonu had the best run-blocking grade in the nation at NC State. His size, strength, and athleticism make him an excellent pass blocker as well. Giants fans will be instantly turned on by his nasty streak. He would likely slide to the right tackle spot, giving the Giants two top-5 picks at the tackle position. He is being compared to Tampa’s own Tristan Wirfs. NFL fans around the world know how dangerous Wirfs is, and know the potential of Ekwonu.
Round 1 (#7 Overall)
Scenario 1, George Karlaftis – EDGE – PURDUE
Karlaftis is a versatile iron man who can do almost anything a team could ask of him. This monster is a 6’4, 275 pounder from Purdue. He played 667 snaps this season and had 14 hits and five sacks. George has the size and strength to hold up and even if his length isn’t optimal, his speed makes it difficult for others to get outside and reach him. With his speed and his willingness to play forward, he’s fast enough to get into the backfield and blows up in the play before it begins. Experts are comparing him to Brown’s edge rusher, Jadeveon Clowney. Personally, I really like Karlaftis, but would love to see the Giants trade this pick.
Scenario 2, Trade to Clevland (13) or Baltimore (14)
Giants now select, Tyler Linderbaum – C – IOWA
Linderbaum currently is universally considered the top center in the 2022 NFL Draft class. He is an impressive technician who is highly skilled as both a run blocker and a pass protector as well as a natural leader on the field. The only downside to Linderbaum’s game is that he is only 6’3, 290 pounds. He will help the Giants out on their young offensive line. Tyler is very quick on his feet and very mobile. He has a lot of raw athleticism with excellent knee bend and lateral movement. He is a run stopper and a real technician with a great feel for the center position. Tyler Linderbaum would bring a HUGE value to this Giants team. Linderbaum’s closest NFL counterpart is Jason Kelce.
Round 2 (#36 Overall)
Travon Walker – EDGE – Georgia
If the Giants do end up going with the trade route, Walker is a must for the Giants. Travon Walker is a prospect who is still a better athlete than a football player. He has an elite combination of size, strength, speed and possesses immense upside to dominate in the pros. He currently stands at 6’5 and weighs 275 pounds. Walker is coming off an unforgettable championship season at Georgia, and I expect him to make a strong impact in the NFL. His strengths can be described as very powerful at the point of attack, and a coordinated quick-twitch athlete with a lightning-quick first step. Travon can dominate offensive linemen who have 40 pounds on him. Lastly, Walker can play multiple spots along the line and has an incredible vision to locate footballs and recognize cut blocks. This would be a great value pick for the G-Men.
Round 3 (#67 Overall)
Darian Kinnard – OL – Kentucky
Darian Kinnard has the ideal size at 6’5, 345 pounds to play either guard or tackle in NFL. He is a super talented athlete with rare skills as both a pass and run blocker. His very few negative areas are all fixable through coaching at the next level and he has athletic talents that are unteachable. He is a dominating pass protector with long arms that envelop oncoming defenders. Kinnard also attacks his man, playing with a wide base and the lateral agility to mirror, sustain and shuffle to help inside. Has the size, strength, and quick feet to be effective as a position run-blocker. Adding Kinnard to this roster will allow the Giants to have options on the O-Line this season, which they desperately need. It would be a great, well-rounded pick for the Giants.
Round 3 (#81 Overall)
Jeremy Ruckert – TE – Ohio State
With the likely departure of both Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph, Ruckert brings lots of value to the Giants. He is 6’5, 255 pounds of a vast amount of athleticism. Ruckert has a lot of what you would look for in an NFL tight end – he’s got impressive soft hands with an equally impressive catch radius and good – but not great speed – as well as a nice feel for the receiving game. He was never really given a true chance to catch footballs at Ohio State. He is a highly competitive player and quickly gets to the perimeter. Ruckert also has smooth body control, reliable hands, and natural ball skills to adjust to off-target throws and make the impressive catch – an ideal red-zone target. Additionally, he has only had two drops his entire college career. He could potentially be a diamond in the rough, and the Giants’ next man up.