Giants 2022 Draft Grades
The New York Giants entered the 2022 offseason in need of an identity. The team has spent the better half of a decade chasing their own tail, pinballing from head coach to head coach. The final two years of Tom Coughlin were followed by two years (kinda) of Ben McAdoo, followed by two years of Pat Shurmur, and then two years of Joe Judge. And, devastatingly enough, the team got worse in year two in all of those regimes, forcing the Giants to press reset once again and come back to the well for another try. This iteration of the Giants is inspired by a regional foe, the Buffalo Bills. New York has tapped key players in the rise of Buffalo in Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll to serve as the new pillars of Big Blue. How are things looking as we hand out Giants 2022 draft grades?
The Giants got their first offseason under Schoen started with an 11-player draft class this past weekend, including cornerstone players on both sides of the ball. Five top-100 picks, eight top-150 picks, and 11 overall picks later, here’s what the Giants have to show for their latest overhaul.
Giants 2022 Draft Grades
Round 1 (No. 5 overall): Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Thibodeaux’s landing spot in New York gives the Giants a massive star on the line and the perfect complement to all of that interior beef built up by former general manager Dave Gettleman. Thibodeaux’s explosive first step will help Azeez Ojulari, the team’s successful second-round pick from last year, too. Consider Thibodeaux a plug-and-play starter up front and a presence that has the potential to change the entire dynamic of the Giants’ defense. Our No. 4-ranked prospect overall, New York got appropriate value and a potential game-wrecker here.
Round 1 (No. 7 overall): Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
NC State tackle Ikem Ekwonu was TDN’s consensus No. 1 tackle but Neal checked in as my personal favorite from this year’s class—so I take no exception to the team choosing to allow the Panthers their choice of tackle at No. 6 first before drafting Neal here at No. 7 overall. Neal pairs with Andrew Thomas to give the Giants ample juice to bully the point of attack and win real estate in the run game. That doesn’t just help QB Daniel Jones, but it helps RB Saquon Barkley as the former No. 2 overall pick desperately tries to regain his footing as a star weapon in the league.
Round 2 (No. 43 overall): Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky
I’m going to be somewhat critical of this pick and I hate that for Wan’Dale Robinson, who I like a ton and had as a top-100 prospect (86th overall on my personal board and 90th overall in the TDN100 consensus rankings). But the turnaround here after drafting a player with similar skills in the first round of last year’s draft in Kadarius Toney (but not getting Toney off the roster first) hurts. And while that isn’t necessarily the sin of Schoen and Daboll, the opportunity cost here certainly is.
Alabama’s John Metchie III went with the next pick and was comfortably graded higher among our staff. Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore lasted until No. 54 overall (Kansas City) and wins in similar ways with the ball in his hands. Shoot, the Giants picked four times between this pick and where Memphis’ Calvin Austin III was drafted (Pittsburgh at No. 138). Going in a different direction here at No. 43 would not have prevented New York from getting a comparable talent later, perhaps even still getting Robinson later in the queue.
Round 3 (No. 67 overall): Joshua Ezeudu, IOL, North Carolina
For a team that desperately needs stability in the offensive front, I can appreciate adding a tenacious blocker like Ezeudu here in the early third round. Would I have personally drafted Memphis’ Dylan Parham instead? Absolutely. But Ezeudu has plenty of appeal and should challenge for an immediate starting job next to Thomas on the left side after serving as the Tar Heels’ left tackle and guard. Some (albeit lackluster) positional versatility serves as a bonus.
Round 3 (No. 81 overall): Cordale Flott, CB, LSU
I was very surprised to see Flott’s name come off the board this early. Not because Flott can’t play—he certainly can—but there are some size limitations that will make an NFL leap challenging for Flott to sustain his current style of play. I admire the toughness and how aggressive he is, but Flott is still a sub-180-pound defensive back who is presumably being drafted to play in the nickel.
With several slot flexible safeties on the roster between Xavier McKinney, Julian Love, and fourth-round choice Dane Belton, I’m just surprised to see a nickel targeted this early.
Round 4 (No. 112 overall): Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State
We live in a world in which the Giants very well may have drafted their Day 1 starting tight end at No. 112 overall. Ricky Seals-Jones, Jordan Akins, and Chris Myarick are only going to take you so far.
Head coach Brian Daboll is used to having a “dirty work” player at the tight end position and Bellinger certainly fits the bill (no pun intended, I promise). I see the fit and the vision, for sure. I have to presume that Bellinger blew them away in the interviews, as I did like players such as Jake Ferguson (Dallas, No. 129) and Jeremy Ruckert (New York Jets, No. 101) better on film. Ruckert would have had to come at the expense of Flott, but I digress. Bellinger seems like a sound fit and should play early and often.
Round 4 (No. 114 overall): Dane Belton, SAF, Iowa
I liked Belton a lot on film. I graded him as a fourth-round value so I do feel like New York got appropriate value here, too. I want to know the vision for the personnel—is Belton pushing Julian Love to corner? If so, why did Flott get such an investment early on? Are we implementing a lot of big nickel?
There are some fascinating layers to this decision given it’s still a top-120 selection. But I like the player and don’t think there’s any question he’ll carve out a role, even if I see plenty of the same skills Love offers.
Round 5 (No. 146 overall): Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana
You won’t find very many linebackers in college football that blitz more often than Micah McFadden does. And from that perspective, I certainly appreciate what New York went after here in the fifth round: someone with a niche skill set who can play special teams and boost your sub-packages and pass rush. Among blitz-heavy backers, this was the best available at the time of his choosing for our evaluation and by extension an appropriate selection.
Round 5 (No. 147 overall): DJ Davidson, IDL, Arizona State
With a top-150 pick, New York targets and lands an early-down run defender in Davidson. I like his projection to the Giants’ front as someone who will be enclosed with talent all around him on the front, including heavy-hitting nose tackle Dexter Lawrence and speed on the edge. This is a low-ceiling selection, but I expect Davidson finds a home as a rotational member of the front quickly in New York.
Round 5 (No. 173 overall): Marcus McKethan, IOL, North Carolina
More competition on the offensive line is never a bad thing. McKethan offers chemistry with fellow Giants draft class member Joshua Ezeudu—although we selfishly would have liked to have seen Jamaree Salyer get a call here. The former Georgia lineman tumbled all the way to No. 195 overall after TDN fit him with a third-round grade. So from that front, you could make the case that we’d have liked to see New York go in a different direction here with Salyer (who played all five spots on the OL during his time at Georgia) still on the board.
Round 6 (No. 182 overall): Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati
Beavers is a player TDN saw ample potential in. He’s still got some work to do in refining his skill set but you saw flashes against Alabama that give you hope that the big-bodied ILB he profiles as can continue to develop. But he’s going to need to be more effective plugging and playing through contact. He’ll certainly get protection if he’s on the field behind New York’s physical interior defensive line. That’s a best-case scenario for him early on.
I’m going to be honest… I certainly would have made some different decisions if I were the Giants—particularly on Day 2. The parallels between what New York pursued and what the franchise had at their disposal in Buffalo are obvious, which gives you an appreciation for the vision that Schoen and Daboll share for their team. But opportunity cost is something that I can’t help but feel as though provided some missed opportunities.
For now, I’m still wondering what this class would have looked like with some of the alternatives listed above. But with an impact player on both sides of the ball at the top of the draft, there’s no question that the floor for this class is one that will push the franchise back toward relevancy. That, in itself, is a win.
Overall Grade: B
New York Giants
- May 17, 2022
New Orleans Saints
- May 11, 2022