Giants Mock Draft 2.0: Sauce Gardner, offensive linemen

Giants Mock Draft 2.0: Sauce Gardner, offensive linemen

In our newest seven-round Giants Mock Draft there is nearly something for everyone, and especially a great deal for those desperate to see this team import talent to restock the offensive line.

For this trial, we used the Pro Football Focus simulator, which uses its own grading system to evaluate draft prospects, often leading to interesting and surprising results, in terms of which players on and off the board. Here is Giants Mock Draft 2.0:

Round 1, no. 5 overall: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Previous pick: OL Ickey Ekwonu

In this simulation, Aidan Hutchinson, Derek Stingley Jr., Kyle Hamilton and Kayvon Thibodeaux were off the board, giving the Giants at No. 5 their pick of any of the offensive tackles, as well as defensive end Travon Walker. They want and need a right tackle and love Ickey Ekwonu but go with Neal, who stands nearly 6-foot-8 and carries his 337 pounds remarkably well. He has the size, strength and technique to play left or right tackle and pairing him with Andrew Thomas (first round pick in 2020) gives the Giants young bookend tackles for what they hope will be a decade.

Evan Neal goes to the Giants at No. 5 here
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Round 1, no. 7 overall: Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Previous pick: DE Travon Walker

Ekwonu and Charles Cross are available but the Giants, although tempted, are not going to double-down with another offensive lineman. Walker was taken by the Panthers at No. 6 and that means there are no edge rusher / defensive line prospects the Giants like this high. Gardner is a need-value selection. He did not allow a touchdown in college, has great length and ball-hawk skills and possesses just the right amount of confidence / cockiness for the position. With James Bradberry expected to be a salary cap departure, Gardner will be needed to step in immediately.

Sauce Gardner goes to the Giants at No.  7 here
Sauce Gardner goes to the Giants at No. 7 here

Round 2, no. 36 overall: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M

Previous pick: C Tyler Linderbaum

Get a look at the way the 323-pound Green levels defenders as a run blocker and you will come away impressed. He took some snaps outside at tackle this past season but he is best-suited for guard in the NFL and has the body and temperament to be a really good one. Pass-protection technique needs work but he should challenge for a starting job right away, as there is a guard spot open on what will be a nearly completely revamped line.

Round 3, no. 67 overall: Josh Paschal, Edge, Kentucky

Previous pick: S Jalen Pitre

Paschal arrives as already NFL-sized (6-3, 268) and ascending – his 15.5 tackles for loss led the Wildcats this past season. He is the only three-time team captain in school history and should be a positive force in the locker room from Day 1. The Giants need plenty of help on the edge and hope Paschal can team with Azeez Ojulari (second round, 2021) to form a youthful pass rush duo with some punch.

Round 3, no. 81 overall: Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State

Previous pick: LB Leo Chenal

Anything wrong with a team that could not find the end zone in 2021 adding a player who consistently finds his way across the goal line? Shakir scored a touchdown every seven touches last season. He caught 77 passes for 1,117 yards and should be able to be used in many different ways in Brian Daboll’s attack. He also has value as a kickoff and punt returner. The Giants have Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney but neither scored a single touchdown in 2021. Plus, Sterling Shepard is coming off a torn Achilles.

Round 4, no. 112 overall: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State

Previous pick: TE Cade Otton

As a big-time recruit from Long Island (Lindenhurst), Ruckert grew up a Jets fan but he will look just fine in blue as an in-line blocker at 250 pounds. In his college career, Ruckert caught 54 passes and had 12 touchdowns for the Buckeyes and was able to make some highlight-worthy grabs in big games. It is not easy to put up big numbers with all the weapons assembled in Columbus. Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph are gone and the signing in free agency of Ricky Seals-Jones does not discount adding someone at this position in the middle of this draft.

Jeremy Ruckert goes to the Giants in the fifth round here
Jeremy Ruckert goes to the Giants in the fifth round here
Getty Images

Round 5, no. 147 overall: Zach Tom, OL, Wake Forest

Previous pick: RB James Cook

Three offensive linemen in the first seven picks? You betcha. You can never have too many and Lord knows the Giants never have enough. Tom started the past two seasons at left tackle but projects more of an interior player, most likely at center, based on his smarts and strong pass protection skills. The Giants signed veteran Jon Feliciano to start at center but gave him a one-year contract. Tom has position versatility, a big plus.

Round 5, no. 173 overall: Cordale Flott, CB, LSU

Previous pick: G Jamaree Salyer

Flott played in 29 games in three seasons at the highest level of college competition. He has good size and might be best-suited for a role as a nickel back in the slot as he acclimates to the NFL. The Giants had him in for one of their top-30 visits to familiarize themselves with him as a person.

Round 6, no. 182 overall: Noah Elliss, DT, Idaho

Previous pick: CB Vincent Gray

At 346 pounds, Elliss is a load in the middle of the defensive line. He was coached in college by his adopted father, Luther Elliss, a longtime NFL player. The Giants added Justin Ellis from the Ravens in free agency but can use another big body on defense.


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