Perfect Giants 2022 NFL Draft plan: Invest in the offensive and defensive lines if Daniel Jones returns

Change has become consistent for the New York Giants once the season expires. Each of the past three head coaches has lasted two seasons or less. It is impossible to know what the future holds for Giants leadership, but their offseason plan has to start with the current roster. 

New York is projected as having $-5,737,436 in salary cap space, per Spotrac, which is the fifth least among all NFL teams. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad contracts that it makes no sense to touch this offseason, namely cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, defensive lineman Leonard Williams, wide receiver Kenny Golladay and defensive back Logan Ryan. Instead, it is more likely that they move on from tight end Kyle Rudolph, linebacker Blake Martinez and wide receiver Sterling Shepard. One would think that the Giants will try to avoid a situation that Chicago found itself in last year when they were forced to release cornerback Kyle Fuller rather than their own veteran tight end — Jimmy Graham. The NFC East franchise could theoretically do the same with James Bradberry

As it currently stands, the team will certainly allow offensive tackle Nate Solder to explore other outlets in free agency. Tight end Evan Engram, safety Jabrill Peppers and offensive guard Will Hernandez are also scheduled to become free agents. It is time for Engram and the Giants to go their separate ways. 

Where does that leave New York? 

In addition to uncertainty at the quarterback position, the team could create needs at cornerback and tight end to go along with edge rusher, linebacker and the interior offensive line. Fortunately, New York holds the No. 5 and No. 7 overall selections in the 2022 NFL Draft, and that allows them to add top-shelf talent at Black Friday prices.

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2022 NFL Draft

No. 5 overall: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

It goes without saying that all of these picks are dependent upon the choices made prior to New York’s picks. Neal is an intriguing option for the Giants because of his sheer size. With Andrew Thomas showing improvement this season, Neal could be the bookend tackle that the team has coveted. If the Giants are able to lock down those spots for a decade, then it makes the odds of repairing the interior offensive line feel far less daunting. 

There has been significant conversation about whether or not the franchise might be in the market for a veteran quarterback, like Seattle’s Russell Wilson or Houston’s Deshaun Watson. A deal for either would likely include at least one of these early choices.

No. 7 overall: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

There is never a shortage of suitors for good edge rushers and Karlaftis falls into that bucket. He is a physically mature edge rusher that knows how to win with his hands and fight through chips and double teams. Rookie Azeez Ojulari quietly accumulated eight sacks this season but has not emerged as that piece with which teams will have to scheme against. In an ideal world, he will continue to develop opposite Karlaftis and take advantage of more eyes being directed elsewhere.

Round 2: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia

Walker is a physical freak. He possesses imposing size and the speed to track running backs on the back side or into the flat. He is often overlooked alongside the Nakobe Dean’s and Jordan Davis’ of the world on that Georgia defense, but the media is starting to come around on Walker. Few can compare with his size profile and athleticism. If New York moves on from Martinez to conserve salary cap space as was noted in the introduction, then Walker’s role on this team becomes vital. 

Round 3: Cade Otton, TE, Washington & John Metchie III, WR, Alabama

In the introduction, a scenario was laid out in which New York could move on from Engram and Rudolph this offseason. The Giants are not losing game-wrecking playmakers, but they will be faced with the dilemma of replacing ample production. Otton suffered a foot injury late in the season, but he had already established himself as one of the premier senior tight ends in the country. 

Metchie is dealing with his own injury that could hinder his draft stock, which was already lower than that of his Crimson Tide teammate, Jameson Williams. Metchie is a blazing fast wide receiver who should bring more depth to that wide receiver room. The choice was made with the understanding that Shepard may have to go this offseason and, Golladay’s contract may be prohibitive of his return in 2023. 

Round 4: Luke Fortner, C, Kentucky

Round 5: Dylan Parham, OG, Memphis & Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State

Round 6: Jeremiah Gemmel, LB, North Carolina

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