The New York Giants used their top picks in the 2022 NFL Draft to satisfy two of their biggest needs: getting after opposing quarterbacks, and defending themselves.
With the fifth pick, the Big Blue selected defensive end Kyvan Thibodaux. Last season’s unanimous All-American recorded seven sacks and 12 tackles for the loss with Oregon.
Thibodaux is a fast sprinter who plays with great bursts and length in the backfield. The former five-star recruit looked destined to take the first overall draft after his freshman season, but he was never able to put together a fully effective year amid injuries and a short pandemic season.
Prior to Thibodaux, the Giants had not drafted a defensive end/edge rusher in the first round since taking on Jason Pierre-Paul in 2010. He would fit into many of defensive coordinator Vink Martindale’s plans.
Then, two picks later, the Giants followed that pick with the seventh overall pick by taking on the offensive tackle Evan Neal. The 6/7, 337-pound lineman helped lead Alabama to the national championship game.
Neil has size and explosive athleticism. He started 40 games for the Crimson Tide and missed only one game in his three-year career, which ended as an All-American.
He will be a bookend for Andrew Thomas, who has played at the left since being drafted in 2020. Neil can play from both sides, so expect new coach Brian Dabol to use him on the right to start.
If there was anything surprising about the choice of new General Manager Joe Scion it was the order in which he was selected. Tackles were the biggest need but with early runs on the defensive players, Schoen caught Thibodaux at No. 5 and then knew he would be able to get a tackle at No. 7 as there were three good options.
The Giants (4-13) needed a lot to get into the draft, but the offensive line and putting pressure on the opposing quarterback were the top two.
New York have had five consecutive losing seasons and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2016.