As one of the seven teams with multiple first-round selections in the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants have a great chance to upgrade their team in the first year of HC Brian Daboll’s tenure. With the likes of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley potentially suiting up for their final seasons with the Giants, it is imperative that they nail both of their first-round selections.
Their first selection, at fifth overall, is their original selection for having a poor 2021 season, and their seventh selection was acquired from the Chicago Bears in a deal that saw those two teams exchange draft slots during the last NFL Draft that saw Justin Fields go to the Bears.
Unlike many of these teams with multiple first-round selections, the Giants did not have to ship out a key player to earn that extra premium selection. Plus, with how poorly constructed the NFC East currently is, it is anybody’s guess who ultimately wins that division this season, giving the Giants a great chance to shorten their ‘retooling period.’
Best Players for the Giants at 7th Overall in the 2022 NFL Draft
3. Jermaine Johnson
This NFL Draft cycle sees a ton of edge-rush prospects floating to the top of many draft boards, and Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson is a perfect example of that.
Having made three stops during his collegiate career (JUCO, Georgia, and FSU), Johnson has experienced his fair share of collegiate ball at different levels, and he has succeeded everywhere he went. But his impact during his lone year with the Seminoles is exactly why he is considered a premium prospect.
Dynamic and fluid are the trigger words frequently used to describe Johnson’s impact, as his dynamic pass-rush sets involve fluid movements and motion in every aspect – from his hand usage to setting a strong platform, he is the whole package. Plus, his Senior Bowl performance helped get him on the radar big time for top 10 teams, and the Giants would be smart to address their faulty pass-rush options with a twitchy option destined to be a great option.
2. Charles Cross
Two years ago at this time, the Giants decided to try and protect Jones, selecting Georgia’s Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft to be his blindside protector. Flash forward two seasons, and it’s fair to say that, even with the growing pains he experienced in his first year, Thomas was a great selection.
Thomas actually living up to his draft buzz does not stop this team from needing more help in that area, and that is where Mississippi State’s Charles Cross comes into play. Cross, Ikem Ekwonu, and Evan Neal are the top three tackles in this year’s draft class, and with both Ekwonu and Neal being talked about as potential first-overall options, Cross could be the odd man out.
The only concern here is the ‘worst’ part of what Cross brings to the NFL is his run-blocking abilities, making him more of an LT prospect. With Thomas being entrenched at LT for his first two seasons, it may be a tough alignment to put Cross on a side of the line that he may struggle at – but his skillset absolutely creates a potential plan for him to be a bookend opposite Thomas.
1. Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner
Trade talks have been fluttering around James Bradberry this entire offseason, and while the Giants certainly do need him to help be a veteran anchor in their defensive secondary, he could very well be on the move, opening the door wide open for Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner to be the seventh overall selection.
Gardner is right up there with LSU’s Derek Stingley as the CB1 in this NFL Draft class, especially with how much he did not allow during his entire collegiate career.
As Gardner was a living nightmare for opposing wide receivers at Cincinnati, he failed to allow – and this is 100% accurate – 1 single TD to an opposing WR that he was covering. And yes, this covers his time from when he was starting as a true freshman.
Detractors may look too much into Cincinnati’s opponents as to why Gardner is not ready for the big time, but he showed up on the national stage too, holding opposing Alabama WRs to a measly 14 yards on 4 targets in the CFP Semifinal this past December.
Shutdown CBs are hard to find, especially those who are younger than 22 years old, but Gardner is absolutely the real deal and should be the Giants’ selection at seventh overall in the NFL Draft if still available.