The Giants got a nice value with Azeez Ojulari falling to the middle of Round 2 in the 2021 NFL Draft and add to their pass rush here with Jackson. While not as productive in a shortened 2020 campaign, Jackson led USC in sacks (5.5) and TFLs (11.5) as a true freshman in 2019 and has the traits to become a top-five pick.
The Giants have made a number of upgrades to their pass rush (including Drake Jackson earlier in this 2022 NFL mock draft) and to their secondary, but they could use a difference maker in the middle of the their defense. Harris enters his junior season as a three-year starter and had 79 tackles, seven TFLs, 4.5 sacks and an interception in 2020.
After all, we are entering the "year of no excuses" with New York Giants signal-caller Daniel Jones. The team added wide receiver Kenny Golladay in free agency as well as the shifty Kadarius Toney in the draft, and with Jones entering year three, he has to take a step forward.
Assuming he does, linebacker is the kind of position that Dave Gettleman could look to address early in the draft. Christian Harris is a former defensive back, and his athleticism makes him perhaps the ideal modern linebaker.
Thanks to the draft-night trade between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants, the deal that allowed the Bears to move up for Justin Fields, the Giants are now back on the clock. Again, quarterback could be in play here if Daniel Jones fails to take the kind of step forward Giants fans are hoping to see in 2021. Or, Dave Gettleman could package this pick and the other first-round selection to move up to the top of the board and add a new face at QB.
Assuming that the organization wishes to move forward with Jones, offensive tackle could be in play for the Giants. Andrew Thomas looked better down the stretch in the 2020 season, Matt Peart performed well for a third-round selection, and the organization also returns Nate Solder for the 2021 campaign after he opted-out in 2020. Still, if the unit does not perform as well as hoped, tackle could be in the mix next season. Nelson started all 13 games at left tackle for the Miami Hurricanes as a true freshman in 2019, and followed that up with another seven starts in 2020.
Bonitto led the entire country with a 93.6 pass-rushing grade in 2020. He's an undersized yet explosive rusher off the edge capable of bending the corner with ease. If he can continue to add muscle, he'll justify his decision to return to school.
11. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Willis is the single most physically gifted quarterback in the country. He's got an absolute hose of an arm and moves like a running back at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds. The former Auburn quarterback is still just a little sloppy game to game heading into his redshirt senior year. He posted a 75.5 passing grade in 2020.
The Giants get back-to-back picks here, and we'll start them off with a pass-rusher. I loved the value of getting edge rusher Azeez Ojulari in the second round last week, but I'd like to see more on that defensive front. Enter Hutchinson, who was creeping up my 2021 board before suffering a fractured leg in November and returning to school for another season. He's 6-foot-6 and 269 pounds, and he had 4.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 2019.
In order to move up to draft Justin Fields in Round 1 last week, the Bears sent New York their first-rounder -- and it could end up being a good one. After going defense at No. 8, the Giants can look to the offensive line at No. 9. Neal is versatile, with 13 starts at right tackle and 13 at left guard, and he's 6-foot-7 and 360 pounds. There are plenty of spots up for grabs along that line, which should be the next area of focus on offense for the Giants.
Jackson can play in space or rush the passer off the edge. In 2019, he was the first true freshman to start a season opener for the Trojans on the defensive line since Everson Griffen in 2007 (and just the second since Tim Ryan in 1986).
A long, explosive safety, Hamilton is a unique athlete for his size with the competitive mentality to match. Though he has the physical skill set to be a top pick, his mental development has also been apparent during his first two seasons in South Bend.
Alabama's top returning tackler, Harris is entering his third season as the starter and is one of the more experienced players in the SEC. He has outstanding run-stopping and blitzing skills, but his development in coverage will ultimately determine whether he is drafted this high.
Kendrick was in the conversation as a first-round pick in the 2021 draft before returning to Clemson and then entering the transfer portal. Wherever he lands for '21, he'll be among the cornerbacks NFL teams will be monitoring closely.
12. George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Injuries and the pandemic saw him play limited snaps in '20 but Karlaftis was dominant at times in '19 when he recorded 17 TFLs and had 7.5 sacks.
Injuries and a positive COVID test stripped Karlaftis of most of his 2020 season. However, he still earned two sacks in just two games in 2020, while earning 7.5 as a true freshman back in 2019. Karlaftis has tremendous size at 6-foot-4 and 270-pounds, as well as some good strength and violent hands, making him a good fit opposite 2021 second-round pick Azeez Ojulari.
The Giants probably have three starting CBs in James Bradberry, Adoree' Jackson, and 2021 third-round pick Aaron Robinson. However, assuming both the Jackson signing and Robinson pick work out as planned is probably optimistic, and you can never have too many good cornerbacks anyway. Elam has the height, athletic tools, and head-on-fire mentality to be a good starting cornerback in the league.