Kiper Jr’s New York Giants & Jets 1st Picks in the 2022 NFL Draft
April has become a more important month than January for New York Giants and Jets fans. Neither group has a team playing this weekend in the NFL Divisional Championships. Once again, the April NFL draft will bring Giants and Jets fans the anticipation and excitement that other team's enthusiasts enjoy during the playoffs in January. On Wednesday, ESPN's NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. released his first version of a first round mock draft. Let's see who he has going to the two New York teams with their first picks.
With the 4th pick overall, Kiper, Jr. has the Jets picking Kyle Hamilton the safety out of Notre Dame. The Jets secondary struggled this year and with Marcus Maye most likely moving on this would be a solid move. Kiper, Jr, describes the pick as the "six-foot-4, 220-pound Hamilton has rare traits for his size, and he can play in the box or as a center fielder (he had eight career interceptions for the Fighting Irish). He was one of the most versatile defenders in college football for the past three seasons." Hamilton is the kind of the contributing impact player that the Jets need out of the first round.
With the very next pick, at #5, Kiper, Jr. has the Giants picking Ikem Ekwonu, offensive tackle out of NC State. This would be another top offensive tackle taken by the Giants in the past 3 years. Andrew Thomas definitely had a better year this year. According to Kiper, Jr., "there has been a lot of recent buzz around Ekwonu, whose stock is rising. He dominated at left tackle for the Wolfpack this season after playing some guard earlier in his career. Based on the 2021 tape, there's not much separating Ekwonu from Evan Neal, and I wouldn't be surprised if Ekwonu was the top tackle off the board in April. He has All-Pro potential as a run-blocker and as a pass-blocker." The Giants ownership is not going to suffer blowing up the team. They have to drastically improve the offensive line and go from there. Ekwonu (#79 below) is one step. They will need more help.
With the 7th pick, Mel Kiper, Jr. had the Giants taking David Ojabo, the outside linebacker out of Michigan. At number 10, he has the Jets taking Drake London, a wide receiver from USC. Both positions are great needs for both teams. However, in each case, the rosters are bad and the Giants and Jets general managers are going to have to build some depth. I could see Jets general manager Joe Douglas moving down in the draft to grab additional picks. The Giants should know who their general manager will be on Friday. This will be a big draft for both floundering teams.