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NFL Draft 2022: What will Giants do with 3 premium picks in Rounds 1 and 2? Find a replacement for Daniel Jones?

NJ.com logo NJ.com 11/25/2021 Darryl Slater, nj.com
New York Giants assistant coach Freddie Kitchens works with quarterback Daniel Jones (8, left) during practice on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. © Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media New York Giants assistant coach Freddie Kitchens works with quarterback Daniel Jones (8, left) during practice on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

The 2022 NFL Draft is still about five months away.

But since the Giants are 3-7, we might as well look ahead.

The Giants will have five premium picks in this draft — or at least that’s their draft capital situation right now. They have two first-rounders (thanks to the Bears), one second-rounder, and two third-rounders (thanks to the Dolphins).

So what will they do with all those picks?

Well, that depends on a couple things. Will they fire general manager Dave Gettleman? (Probably.) Will they retain quarterback Daniel Jones? (Maybe so, maybe not.)

New York Giants assistant coach Freddie Kitchens during practice on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. © Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media New York Giants assistant coach Freddie Kitchens during practice on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

But Walter Football is out with a two-round mock projection, so let’s take a look at what it has the Giants doing — and what we think about that.

• No. 5 overall: OT/G Evan Neal, Alabama

Andrew Thomas struggled to begin his career. He has improved, but right tackle is a big problem because Nate Solder is a shell of his former self. Evan Neal is a 360-pound lineman who can move very well, which almost seems impossible.

• No. 7 overall: DE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State

The Giants have some good talent in their secondary, but their edge rush is sorely lacking. The Giants need to find someone who can pressure the quarterback. Jermaine Johnson, who left Georgia for Florida State, has good speed off the edge.

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge at the podium as he speaks to the media on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. © Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media New York Giants head coach Joe Judge at the podium as he speaks to the media on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

• No. 39 overall: OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

The interior offensive line is still a weakness for the Giants, so this is a way to give Daniel Jones more help. Kenyon Green is a former five-star recruit tackle, but he may have to play guard at the next level.

OK, so what to make of these projections?

Neal makes a lot of sense, since the Giants don’t have a long-term answer at right tackle. Solder stinks and will probably be gone after this season. The Giants drafted Matt Peart in Round 3 last year, but he couldn’t even beat out Solder in training camp. Thomas has a lot of potential. The Giants desperately need a right tackle who also has a big upside.

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge speaks to the media on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. © Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media New York Giants head coach Joe Judge speaks to the media on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants have invested heavily in the secondary. They paid big money to cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and James Bradberry, and drafted Xavier McKinney 36th overall last year. But the pass rush remains a concern, as we saw in Monday night’s loss at Tampa Bay. The Giants, who are currently 31st in Pro Football Focus’ pass rush ratings, desperately need a legitimate edge rusher or two.

New York Giants assistant coach Freddie Kitchens works with quarterback Daniel Jones (8, left) during practice on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. © Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media New York Giants assistant coach Freddie Kitchens works with quarterback Daniel Jones (8, left) during practice on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

And yes, don’t overlook offensive guard (which isn’t a sexy position) as a major need for the Giants entering the offseason. The Giants almost certainly will need new starters at both guard spots. They entered this season with Shane Lemieux at left guard and Will Hernandez at right guard. Both are underwhelming, to say the least.

New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) during practice on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. © Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) during practice on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Lemieux, who suffered a season-ending knee injury, likely will be back in 2022 for his third season. But he’s a backup at best. And the Giants should let Hernandez walk in free agency. Gettleman drafted him 34th overall in 2018 — a horrible pick. Bottom line: The Giants need to do more to solidify the interior of their offensive line, regardless of who the quarterback is.

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New York Giants head coach Joe Judge pauses as he is asked about the process he went through to fire Jason Garrett after the Giants loss on Monday Night Football. Judge did not answer the question during his session with the media on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. © Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media New York Giants head coach Joe Judge pauses as he is asked about the process he went through to fire Jason Garrett after the Giants loss on Monday Night Football. Judge did not answer the question during his session with the media on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Darryl Slater may be reached at dslater@njadvancemedia.com.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws a pass during practice on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws a pass during practice on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
© Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media
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