New York Giants NFL Draft Picks & Grades 2022: Lockdown Tackle – Check, Premier Edge Rusher – Check

After a rough showing down the stretch last season, this roster needed an overhaul. In Joe Schoen’s first draft as GM of the Giants, he was handed a gift with the 5th and 7th overall pick in a fairly talented draft. He capitalized on it by securing both a high upside edge rusher and a lockdown offensive tackle in Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal, respectively. For a full breakdown of the New York Giants 2022 NFL Draft with grades and analysis for each pick, check out the descriptions below.

New York Giants Draft Picks 2022

Round 1 No. 5 DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
Round 1 No. 7 OT Evan Neal
Round 2 No. 43 WR Wan’Dale Robinson
Round 3 No. 67 OG Joshua Ezeudu
Round 3 No. 81 CB Cordale Flott
Round 4 No. 112 TE Daniel Bellinger
Round 4 No. 114 S Dane Belton
Round 5 No. 146 ILB Micah McFadden
Round 5 No. 147 DT DJ Davidson
Round 5 No. 173 OG Marcus McKethan
Round 6 No 182 LB Darrian Beavers

Overall Draft Grade: B-

Analysis: The Giants got off to a hot start by securing a top edge rusher and offensive tackle with their first 2 picks. After that, however, their decision making became a bit more curious. They went for a gadget player in Wan’Dale Robinson with their first (and only) pick in the second round and then took a developmental corner with serious bust potential with their second pick in the third round. I like the move for Dane Belton at safety, and think they would have been better served going for a linebacker with the 81st pick. If they had done this, they could have still gotten a corner at 146 and filled both needs to their satisfaction. Overall, I think the Giants made most of their money in the first 2 picks, but if both Neal and Thibodeaux play to there potential this draft will ultimately be looked at in a favorable light.

New York Giants Draft Grades 2022

Round: 1 Pick: 5 / Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

There was a time when Thibodeaux was considered a favorite to be the number 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. His long arms, explosive lower body, and overwhelming strength make him a prototypical candidate for an all-pro player at an increasingly important position. The Giants finished the 2021 season with only 34 sacks — tied for 9th fewest in the league. There’s not a starting edge rusher on their team that would make an NFL tackle think twice and this deficiency in the trenches has been one that’s haunted them for years. By getting Thibodeaux here they solve some of these issues, though he will need to keep improving with his hands to grow into his potential. I’m also a bit surprised that they didn’t draft an offensive linemen here and waited until 7 to grab Thibodeaux given there was no indication that the Panthers were going after an edge rusher. By not waiting, they left Ekwonu on the board and were relegated to Neal by 7.

Grade: B

Round: 1 Pick: 7 / Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Evan Neal was another guy that some speculated might be the number 1 overall pick in this year’s class. Though he’s 337 pounds, he carries it like a 270 pounder. He’s got really long arms at over 24 inches and displayed great collegiate production. He’s agile in his tance and has experience playing in a number of different, more complex pass blocking schemes many of his counterparts in this draft have not. His biggest drawback right now is weight moving forward. Though he looks fine now, he could have problems maintaining agility if he gets much bigger. If Neal can stay healthy, he will be a major addition to a Giants offensive line that has struggled mightily over the last 2 years.

Grade: A-

Round: 2 Pick: 43 / Wan’Dale Robinson, WR

After all the drama with Kadarius Toney, the Giants went out and got Wan’Dale Robinson in the draft to complement an otherwise underachieving wide receiver room. Robinson brings a level of twitchness and playmaking to the perimeter that the Giants desperately need. While the quarterback situation with Daniel Jones remains unchanged in the short term, the Giants are going to be able to use Robinson like the Steelers use Diontae Johnson — a speed demon out of the back field who can also be used on the perimeter. At just 5’8”, Robinson’s size limits some of what he can do downfield and this relegates him to more of a gadget role. For this early in the second round, I don’t love going for someone who’s already naturally limited and would have liked to see the Giants go for either a corner or offensive lineman here.

Grade: B-

Round: 3 Pick: 67 / Joshua Ezeudu, OG, North Carolina

Ezeudu has great size and vision which allow him to move to the second level and maintain his balance all the while. The Giants need someone at left guard right now and I’m sure Ezeudu’s 6’4”, 308 lb frame left Giants offensive line coach Bobby Johnson salivating. Ezeudu will need to work on his hand placement and footwork and is generally a bit raw. I saw him as more of a 4th or 5th round prospect, but I don’t necessarily disagree with the Giants’ logic here given the state of their offensive line.

Grade: B

Round: 3 Pick: 81 / Cordale Flott, CB, LSU

At over 6’ with 30 ⅛” arms, Flott is another guy that has great physical measurables for his position. He’s got solid on field speed and has great patience in zone coverage. This may signal a departure to a more zone intensive scheme for the Giants in 2022, though overall this pick feels like a bit of a reach. Flott still needs to fill out a bit to be a proficient tackler in the NFL, and he was already known to get pushed around by more aggressive wide receivers in man. I understand taking a flier on him in the fifth round, but the third round seems a bit early. He’ll have to both fill out and improve his anticipation to be a solid starter in the NFL.

Grade: D+

Round: 4 Pick: 112 / Daniel Bellinger, TE, SDSU

Coming out of San Diego State, Bellinger has good hands and a strong muscular frame that will translate over to the NFL. He’s able to get hit and not fall down, as well as block down the field in the run game. His effort levels as a blocker can vary at times, though this is something he can improve upon. He’s got the vision to get yards after the catch, though he lacks the athleticism of an Isiah Likely. Overall, I like this pickup for the Giants as a team who needs a versatile TE who can pass-catch on a consistent basis.

Grade: A-

Round: 4 Pick: 114 / Dane Belton, S, Iowa

Having started as a linebacker for the Hawkeyes, Belton didn’t transfer over to safety until 2020. The fact that he’s played both positions is apparent on the field, as he hits with the punch of a linebacker and plays with the ball skills of a safety. Belton racked up 5 interceptions in 2021 and forced a couple more fumbles. At 6’1”, he’s also able to leverage his size at the catch point. He does have a good 40 time at 4.43, though he never looked like a burner on the field. He’ll have to continue to grow into the position, but I like his upside.

Grade: A-

Round: 5 Pick: 146 / Micah McFadden, ILB, Indiana

Another Big Ten product, McFadden is a bit smaller at 6’1” 240 lbs, though he possesses some great instincts. He makes solid reads and is able to use his quickness to make plays as they develop on offense. There are some concerns with McFadden, though, as he did struggle against better opponents like Iowa and Ohio State. His size also hurts him as a tackler where he can’t impose his will. The Giants do need a linebacker, but they missed out on a lot of the high upside prospects. McFadden is fine, but they could’ve gotten a perennial starter in the third round.

Grade: C+

Round: 5 Pick: 147 / DJ Davidson, DT, Arizona State

A bulky 6’3”, 327 lbs, Davidson will be a solid run stopper on size and strength alone. He doesn’t bring much to the table in the way of versatility or athleticism, which will limit the extent to which the Giants are able to use him. He is somewhat agile laterally, though, which allows him to fill gaps and evade double teams. If he can improve his on-field awareness he can certainly increase his chance of getting a roster spot, but his biggest inhibitor generally will be speed.

Grade: B

Round: 5 Pick: 173 / Marcus McKethan, G, North Carolina

At 6’7” and 340 lbs, McKethan is the biggest guard in this draft. Having spent 3 years as a starter at North Carolina, he has a fairly refined skill set and, though he’s not the most mobile, is able to get where he needs to be. McKethan will struggle against speedier, more athletic rushers in the NFL. His size won’t be as much of a factor in the NFL and his lack of athleticism will be exposed. He does have good length though and will be able to absorb contact from bullrushes.

Grade: A-

Round: 6 Pick: 182 / Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati

Beavers comes in with good size and average athleticism having run a 4.67 40 time at 237 lbs during the NFL combine. He gets a good jump off the line of scrimmage and has solid rad and react skills that can compensate for some of what he lacks athletically. He isn’t the most powerful tackler, however, and usually has to grab guys to bring them down. If the play doesn’t come towards him, the odds of him having any impact are next to none.

Grade: B

As a central Ohio native and lifelong Cleveland sports fan, Patrick Monnin has lived the emotional rollercoaster every sports fan knows all too well. Whether it be the Browns or the Buckeyes, he loves watching football and going on nice long runs in the afternoon. In the local Chicago area, where he now lives, he can often be found making the case for LeBron James as the greatest basketball player ever.

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