Left tackle Andrew Thomas played better in 2021 than he did as a rookie in '20, but the Giants still had one of the league's worst offensive lines last season. Right tackle Nate Solder and right guard Will Hernandez are both impending free agents. A mauler in the run game, Ekwonu has high-end traits to continue to develop as a pass blocker as well as the experience and versatility to play either tackle or guard.
Walker's former Georgia teammate Azeez Ojulari had a team-high eight sacks as a rookie in 2021, but the Giants still ranked 30th in pass-rush win rate last season. Already an outstanding run defender, Walker's strength, length (35½" arms) and athleticism (4.51 40-yard dash at 272 pounds) should allow him to develop into a more productive pass rusher at the next level.
I've liked Cross for a while, and I've heard from a few people since the combine that his stock has risen in their minds as well. While he hasn't shown the ability to be an outstanding run-blocker in his career, it's more a reflection of the offense he was in than in his ability. He's strong and athletic enough to believe that he shouldn't have much trouble figuring it out.
Walker is another outstanding player from the Georgia defense who turned heads in Indianapolis and has improved his stock considerably. I swear it was only 10 days ago when most thought he'd be an early second-rounder, and now we could see him going in the top 10. The Giants adding Cross and Walker while trading down to get extra picks would be an incredible start to the Joe Schoen era.
The Giants need to add toughness and athleticism to their offensive line. Neal is a physical specimen (6-foot-7, 350 pounds) who improved every season in Tuscaloosa and thrived at both tackle positions and left guard.
Passing on Micah Parsons could haunt the Giants for years. Thibodeaux is a top tier athlete who wins with speed and has shown surprising coverage versatility. His ceiling is massively high, but it might take a few years for his technique and toolbox to catch up to his talent. The narrative coming out of Indy was Thibodeaux came off as "cocky" in his interviews with teams. The same thing was said about Parsons last year.
Thibodeaux reminded us what he's all about in Indianapolis, showing out with a STRONG weekend of athletic testing. We all knew that was going to be the case, but it was great to see a healthy Thibodeaux competing at full capacity.
The Giants enjoyed a good rookie season from pass rusher Azeez Ojulari this past year but they certainly need more on the outside. Thibodeaux playing in Wink Martindale's defense offers a TON of appeal and a chance for a double-digit rookie sack season.
7. Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
I certainly hope you weren't hoping to see any of these top-four tackles get outside the top 10 picks. Penning's offseason circuit is a clean sweep--he knocked his opportunity to compete at both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine out of the park. He's sufficiently put to bed the questions about his level of competition by showcasing that his physicality translates against better players and he's still a top-tier athlete (at least from a raw athleticism standpoint).
The Giants generated just 34 sacks (tied for 22nd) last season, and while Walker didn't pile on the QB hits at Georgia (six sacks and 29 pressures last season), he was asked to do a lot of different things in a Bulldogs front seven that produced three other likely first-rounders. The 272-pound Walker had a terrific workout in Indy, running a 4.51-second 40 and 6.89-second three-cone drill. Few players I've ever evaluated can generate the power he does from the ground up, and that was on display with a 35½-inch vertical and 10-foot-3 broad jump. Teamed up with Leonard Williams and Azeez Ojulari, Walker will only continue to develop while giving the Giants a dynamic edge rusher to spark the defense.
Kenny Golladay led the Giants in receiving last season with just 521 yards. Evan Engram led the team in catches with all of 46, and he's headed to free agency. The next two on the list were running backs. And Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney each struggled to stay healthy. You get the point. With the top three linemen in the class off the board already, new GM Joe Schoen and new coach Brian Daboll can get quarterback Daniel Jones help in another fashion. Wilson has elite body control, 4.38 speed and a big catch radius. New York can walk away happy on Day 1 with exciting new players on defense (Travon Walker) and offense (Wilson).
The New York Giants seem determined to build around Daniel Jones, and the hiring of Brian Daboll as their next head coach is another prong to their approach, given how he helped transform Josh Allen from raw quarterback prospect into secondary-destroying alien. One thing the Giants need to do to help Jones? Fix the offensive line. That stats with adding Ikem Ekwonu from N.C. State, a player that is OT1 on some boards right now.
After checking the necessary boxes in Indianapolis during the Combine, Ahmad Gardner has put himself firmly in Top-Ten territory. Those who have been following the mock drafts so far this season have seen him sent to New York before, but to the Jets with the tenth-overall selection. But his length and movement skills see him rise up the board, all the way to the Giants at seven overall.