Hot Takes, Predictions for Giants Rookies After 2022 NFL DraftMay 2, 2022
Hot Takes, Predictions for Giants Rookies After 2022 NFL Draft
The New York Giants have found little success over the past few years, both on the field and in the draft.
They haven't been above .500 at any point in the past five years, and their early draft picks haven't been home runs, either.
The Giants recently declined the fifth-year option for quarterback Daniel Jones. They got little from 2021 first-round pick Kadarius Toney as a rookie, though general manager Joe Schoen insists he's not shopping the receiver.
However, the new front office of Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll represents hope for the Giants, as does their 2022 draft class. New York selected 11 players over the weekend, including two first-rounders and five in the first three rounds.
How did Schoen and Co. fare in the 2022 draft? Below, you'll find a couple of hot takes and some bold predictions for the Giants' 2022 draft class.
First, though, let's revisit how the weekend unfolded.
2022 NFL Draft Results
New York Had Ideal 1st Round
Giants fans can't be much happier with how things played out in the first round.
New York landed a premier pass-rushing prospect in Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux—the top-ranked prospect on the Bleacher Report Scouting Department's big board—with the fifth overall pick.
The Giants then came back to grab Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, who was the second-ranked prospect on the final B/R board and should be an instant starter for the team, at No. 7.
"Neal's blend of physical traits, polish despite limited time at one position and youth make him an immediate-impact starter at either left or right tackle with Pro Bowl potential if he can play with better overall posture and hand placement in the run game," Brandon Thorn of the B/R Scouting Department wrote.
Thibodeaux is less polished but has elite traits and should contribute immediately as an edge-rushing complement to Azeez Ojulari.
It wouldn't be a shock to see Thibodeaux surpass the eight sacks Ojulari had as a rookie in 2021. Neal, meanwhile, should immediately become the bookend tackle opposite Andrew Thomas—possibly even replacing him on the left side.
The Giants got two Week 1 starters and absolutely nailed the first round.
Wan'Dale Robinson Is Gamble Worth Taking
While Thibodeaux and Neal should be starters from Day 1, second-round pick and former Kentucky receiver Wan'Dale Robinson is a little more of a gamble.
The 5'8", 178-pounder is undersized and projects as a slot specialist and gadget player only. He was also drafted much higher than expected at 43rd overall. He was the 112th-ranked prospect on the B/R board and will need to find the right role to be successful at the next level.
"He rarely worked from the outside at the college level, and his lack of size and length limits his projection to do so in the NFL," Nate Tice of the B/R Scouting Department wrote.
However, the 21-year-old is a great choice for Daboll's offense. Cole Beasley thrived under the Giants head coach while with the Buffalo Bills, and Robinson has the potential to be a similarly important player. The challenge will be getting the rookie's impressive college production to continue in the NFL.
Last season, he tallied 1,348 yards and seven touchdowns on 104 receptions for the Wildcats. He had the highest Pro Football Focus grade among all SEC receivers.
Plenty of folks will argue Robinson was overdrafted and shouldn't have gone ahead of more "traditional" perimeter receivers. The hot take here is that he was a great pick for the Giants and will be a meaningful contributor alongside Toney, Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, even if he's far from a sure thing.
Expect Robinson to get onto the field often as a rookie and to blossom into an offensive staple by Year 2.
New York Drafted for the Future After Round 1
Robinson wasn't the only prospect the Giants took higher than many might have expected.
North Carolina interior lineman Joshua Ezeudu, for example, was the 132nd-ranked prospect on the B/R board and went 67th overall. LSU cornerback Cordale Flott was the 182nd-ranked prospect and went 81st overall.
In the fourth round, New York grabbed San Diego State tight end Daniel Bellinger, the 211th-ranked prospect on the B/R board. Fellow fourth-round pick and former Iowa safety Dane Belton wasn't even among Bleacher Report's top 300 prospects.
While some might view these as reaches, the hot take is that Schoen had a plan to draft for the future after landing Thibodeaux and Neal. Bellinger, for instance, is a better blocker than receiver right now but has tremendous athletic upside.
According to Kent Lee Platte of Pro Football Network, Bellinger's relative athletic score ranks 35th out of 1,014 tight ends from 1987 to 2022.
Flott is a similar developmental prospect who needs to add mass (6'0", 175 lbs) but has tremendous upside.
"He will be a high-level developmental prospect who may pay dividends a couple years into his career," Cory Giddings of the B/R Scouting Department wrote.
The theory here—and it may be an overly positive one—is that the Giants know they aren't going to contend in 2022 and instead drafted for 2023, 2024 and beyond after Day 1 was complete.
The prediction is that this class looks a lot better two years from now than it will in September.