When it comes to the 2022 NFL Draft, finding the best prospect at each pick certainly isn’t a perfect science. Every draft includes busts, steals, and drastically different draft boards depending on who you ask. That makes it particularly difficult to prepare an accurate NY Giants mock draft.
So what if you were able to use a model to predict the prospect each team will select with each pick? That’s exactly what we are going to do for this Giants 3-round mock draft. ESPN sports analytics have recently released their “Draft Day Predictor Tool”. The model works with a number of variables to help predict the pick, as described by Seth Walder of ESPN Sports Analytics.
Let’s take a look at how the Giants’ draft would pan out, according to the predictor. For the purposes of the mock, we will avoid drafting the same position twice.
Ekwonu is widely considered in a battle with Evan Neal to be the top-ranked offensive tackle in the class. He is an absolute mauler in the run game, regularly seen downfield taking on anyone who is in his way, and is certainly not afraid to finish his blocks aggressively. Giants running back Saquon Barkley would no doubt be cheering as Roger Goodell calls out the pick.
With experience at both tackle and guard, the flexibility of Ekwon brings to the Giants would no doubt be appreciated. The only position from the 2021 unit which doesn’t need upgrading is left tackle. A player of Ekwonu’s talent who can play both inside and outside opens up a number of possibilities for Joe Schoen and the team.
Garrett Wilson is considered by many the top-ranked receiver in the 2022 draft class. He scored 12 touchdowns on over 1,000 yards on the talented Buckeyes roster in 2021 and had productive seasons both in the slot and out wide during his time in Colombus. Daniel Jeremiah’s pro-comparison for Wilson is Bill’s star receiver Stefon Diggs – someone who certainly brought Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen success during their time in Buffalo.
A few weeks ago most would assume this is too early for the Giants to target a receiver in the draft. With rumors of the team potentially looking to move on from Kadarius Toney, that might not be the case anymore.
Even if Toney remains a Giant, the first-round capital spent on him, as well as the large free-agent signing of Kenny Golladay returned 0 touchdowns a season ago. Pair that with the fact this is a whole new coaching staff and front office – maybe just maybe the Giants look to bring in a new number 1 receiver.
The most controversial pick in this mock draft comes in the form of Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. With a combined 49 passing touchdowns over the last two seasons, he threw for north of 3,300 yards both years. On the ground, however, he is one of the better athletes in the class. He had almost 200 yards on the ground against Tennessee this past season, scoring four rushing touchdowns against Tulane a few weeks earlier – not statistics you usually see at the quarterback position.
A look at Corral’s NFL.com draft profile and you will see a 6.4 “prospect grade” and strengths which include arm strength, ability to run with the ball, and the notion that his receivers in college negatively impacted his completion percentage. Interestingly, if you look at Josh Allen’s draft profile ahead of the 2018 draft, you will see all of those comments present, as well as the same prospect grade.
That’s not to say they are the same prospect, there are a number of differences between the pair as well. Corral’s for comparison by NFL.com is Baker Mayfield, a player a long way from the physical talent of Allen. Having seen how successful Daboll and Schoen were in elevating Allen’s game in Buffalo, however, it’s worth keeping an eye on.
The biggest question with this pick is of course – what about Daniel Jones? In his fourth year, it is still unclear where the Giants and Jones stand in terms of a long-term partnership. Successful teams in the NFL in recent years have generally benefited from building around talented quarterbacks on cheap rookie contracts. Don’t be surprised if Schoen and the Giants take a similar approach.
A former walk-on at UCLA, Dulcich is now considered one of the top tight ends in the 2022 class – a testament to its development at the collegiate level. He scored 5 touchdowns each of the past two seasons, averaging over 17 YPC both years. He was one of Daniel Jeremiah’s biggest standouts from Reese’s Senior Bowl week.
During Joe Schoen’s time as Buffalo Bill’s assistant general manager, the team selected one tight end – Dawson Knox, in the third round. Don’t be surprised if Schoen goes that way again, with Evan Engram having left in free agency.
Not only is it a position of need for the team, but it was also a position of frustration under Dave Gettleman’s reign. Schoen and the new front office hitting on a talented tight end proves an important step in the rebuild of the franchise.
Adding Ikem Ekwonu in the first round doesn’t magically fix this offensive line – it’s a historically bad unit. Using another top 100 pick on a talented guard certainly helps, however. The reason you may not have heard of Cole Strange is that he played for the lesser-known Chattanooga Mocs of the Southern Conference (SoCon).
As you would expect, Strange stood out against the competition he faced in the SoCon, giving up only 1 sack over the last three seasons. In comparison to draft talent at the 2022 combine, he more than held his own. Compared with other offensive linemen, Strange finished with the best broad jump, equal second-best bench press, and was top seven in the 3 cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.
There is a very good chance the Giants will look to add starting talent to protect Daniel Jones and free up Saquon Barkley in the draft. Leaving day two with both Ekwonu and Strange would be a perfect start to the offensive rebuild in New York.
NY Giants 3-Round Mock Draft Summary
Coming out of the draft with an offensive tackle, receiver, tight end, and interior offensive line help, the model has addressed a series of needs for the Giants. Quarterback Matt Corral appears to be the only “shock” selection. With the increasing need to have young, talented quarterbacks when rebuilding a franchise, maybe it wouldn’t be such a shock to see Schoen and the Giants take a quarterback come the last weekend in April.