It would be a puzzling development if the Giants did not select an offensive lineman with one of their two first round picks in tonight’s NFL Draft, taking place at Caesars Forum in Paradise, Nevada, situated within the Las Vegas metropolitan area. North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu, Alabama’s Evan Neal and Mississippi State’s Charles Cross are the three tackles who are expected to go within the top 10 picks. The Giants hold the No. 5 and No. 7 spots in the draft and are set up to address a glaring and persistent weakness.
Following a 4-13 campaign, the Giants underwent a restructuring. They have a new general manager and head coach, both hired from the Buffalo Bills. The 42-year-old Joe Schoen was named the franchise’s GM in January after serving as the Bills assistant general manager from 2017-2021. Schoen, in conjunction with Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, then decided on 47-year-old Brian Daboll to replace the fired Joe Judge as head coach. Daboll was the Bills’ offensive coordinator from 2018-2021.
The duo is ostensibly going all in on Daniel Jones next season, who has had an uninspiring three-year run as the Giants starting quarterback after being selected No. 6 overall in the 2019 draft. In 37 games as a starter, Jones has thrown for 8,398 yards with a 62.8% completion rate. He has 45 touchdowns, 29 interceptions and 36 fumbles, 20 of which were lost for turnovers, the most by any player in the league over the past three seasons.
“I don’t make excuses with everybody, starting with me,” said Daboll early this month regarding Jones’ penchant for giving away the ball, “and I think you’ve got to really go back and dive into the cause of the turnovers.”
Jones’ adversity in part can be attributed to the Giants’ offensive line being one of the worst in football during his tenure. Schoen and Daboll will soon make a consequential decision to either pick up Jones’ fifth-year option for 2023 at $21.3 million or weigh beginning anew at the position with someone else after next season.
Therefore, surrounding Jones with the talent necessary for them to carry out a comprehensive evaluation of his abilities is a priority for Schoen and Daboll. An edge rusher and cornerback should also be high on the Giants’ list of positions of needs. Oregon pass rush specialist Kayvon Thibodeaux, Florida State’s defensive lineman Jermaine Johnson II and LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. are prospects the Giants are likely strongly considering taking with the seventh pick.