The New York Giants have heavily focused the first wave of free agency on the attacking side of the ball. They’ve added several offensive linemen, wide receivers, and even a tight end.
The question is, has that approach opened up options in the NFL draft of 2022? Does this mean they will defend heavily for the first few rounds?
USA TODAY’s Nate Davis thinks so. In his latest mock version, he has the Giants outright ignore their offensive line in favor of their secondary.
Number 5 overall is Notre Dame safety, Kyle Hamilton.
5. New York Giants – S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame: He’s 6-4 and 220lbs at under 4.6 and can handle second and/or third level deficiencies. Hamilton can provide cover, a box presence, blitz ability and an intimidation factor. And with the release of veteran Logan Ryan opening a track at the back, it looks like pairing Hamilton with improving Xavier McKinney would give Big Blue a heckuva safety tandem.
After releasing veteran safety Logan Ryan, Hamilton’s roster makes much more sense than before. The Giants now have a need for position and Hamilton has just as much advantage as anyone else in the draft.
Two picks later, the Giants forgo adding a talented edge rusher in favor of another body in the secondary. This time, Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner.
7. Giants (of Chicago Bears) – CB Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, Cincinnati: It’s very possible that New York could take a few defensive backs in a three pick period, the one obtained in last year’s draft day deal with QB Justin Fields. Gardner would be a safe plug-and-play roster, the consensus All-American allowing only 20 receptions in 2021, picking three passes and — proof of his all-around game — posting 40 tackles and three sacks. And speaking of shutdown – he never allowed a TD while with the Bearcats. His 6-3, 190-pound build is another selling point for a competition that likes wide angles. Adding Gardner could also lead to a deal with veteran CB James Bradberry and return more needed ammunition to the Giants.
Choosing Gardner only makes sense if the Giants are able to trade James Bradberry or are confident that an agreement will be reached on a trade afterwards. They have no intention of releasing the veteran, so taking Gardner before dividing Bradberry would be a risky move.
Still, Gardner has a high ceiling and a potentially bright future. He would come in and start on Day 1 (if Bradberry is traded), giving the Giants a top corner in the near future.