Giants Rookies Who Will Make Instant Impact in 2022 Season

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2022

Giants Rookies Who Will Make Instant Impact in 2022 Season

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    Noah K. Murray/Associated Press

    The New York Giants have been mired in mediocrity for so long that it's easy to forget they've won two Super Bowls this century.

    New York hasn't been above .500 at any point over the past five years, and it has failed to find a dependable head coach since Tom Coughlin resigned in early 2016. Since then, the Giants have had a revolving door for the role that has included Ben McAdoo, interim Steve Spagnuolo, Pat Shurmur and Joe Judge.

    This offseason, the Giants turned to former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. New York also had a strong early draft class, on paper, that should help him with his task of turning the franchise back around.

    One stellar draft class isn't going to fix everything, of course, but New York should get a lot of positive contributions from its rookies this season.

    Below, we'll examine the three rookies most likely to provide an instant impact in 2022, based on factors such as positional value, proven production, team needs and player upside. We'll also dive into any relevant buzz from New York's recent rookie camp.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

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    The Giants may have gotten a steal by snagging Oregon pass-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux with the fifth overall pick. He was the top-ranked player on the Bleacher Report Scouting Department's big board and has as much upside as any player in this draft class.

    The 21-year-old, who logged seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss with Oregon last season, should have a fairly high floor, too. He's considered a relatively unpolished product, but he's physically gifted enough to make plays throughout the maturation process.

    "The fact that he has been as effective as he has to this point while only showing adequate hand usage is a testament to all the other tools he has," Derrik Klassen of the B/R Scouting Department wrote. "Thibodeaux can be a good player in any scheme right out of the gate and has the long-term potential to be an All-Pro."

    Expect Thibodeaux to be a force off the edge right away, as the Giants look to improve a defense that finished 21st overall and 23rd in points allowed last season.

Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

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    Last season, the Giants allowed 38 sacks while ranking just 24th in yards per carry. The offensive line was an obvious weakness heading into the draft, and New York addressed it by grabbing Alabama's Evan Neal with the seventh overall pick.

    The 21-year-old, by the way, was the second-ranked prospect on the B/R board.

    A polished and proven starter, Neal should start right away opposite 2020 first-round pick Andrew Thomas, who seems likely to stay at left tackle while the Alabama product slots in on the right side.

    "It should be noted that Neal was working at right tackle, though that's not exactly a surprise since that's what the Giants drafted him to be," Zack Rosenblatt of wrote of Neal at rookie camp. "It shouldn't come as a shock to say that even standing alongside other 300-pounders, Neal physically looks like a man among boys. The Giants list him at 6-foot-7 and 350 pounds."

    Neal projects as a Day 1 starter and a huge asset in the effort to finally turn quarterback Daniel Jones into a reliable franchise signal-caller.

Cor'Dale Flott, CB, LSU

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    For our last entry, we'll jump  to Round 3 (81st overall), where New York took LSU cornerback Cor'Dale Flott.

    New York might get some early contributions out of second-round receiver Wan'Dale Robinson as a gadget player, but the guy he battled in rookie camp, Flott, is better suited to make a big impact early.

    Robinson and Flott met in college, and the latter showcased his coverage prowess in the matchup.

    "After practice, Robinson recalled a moment from last year when he went to the sideline and said to one of Kentucky's coaches that 'It's like he knows what I'm running,'" Rosenblatt wrote.

    Last season, Flott logged 28 tackles, three passes defended, an interception and one forced fumble. He has the potential to quickly become a rotational piece in a secondary that ranked 15th in passing yards allowed last season. He might even step into a starting role.

    New York released cornerback James Bradberry last week after failing to find a trade partner for him. There's a big role up for grabs with the 28-year-old out of the mix, and Flott will have a hand in filling it.