2022 NFL mock draft: Picks 5-8
It has been reported that New York intends to retain Daniel Jones and Joe Judge for next season. If so, the quarterback will need some help on the front line. The New York Giants offensive line has been a significant issue for years. Outside of Andrew Thomas, the unit requires a makeover.
Tyler Linderbaum can come in and help change that. From a school that is notorious for shipping out offensive lineman, Kirk Ferentz has had the pleasure of coaching this young man. Before becoming a center, Linderbaum played on the defensive line, so his versatility is on full display.
In 2020, Linderbaum was named an All-American and finalist for the Rimington Trophy. This past season, he achieved the award. Linderbaum was also a finalist for the Outland Trophy and was recognized as a Unanimous All-American.
With New York looking for stability to protect their quarterback, Linderbaum can come in Day One and fix that. If playing center does not work, he would work as a guard, provided he puts on some weight and develops. Sounds like the perfect pick for the Giants, indeed.
New York is back on the clock and ready to make another selection, thanks to a trade with the Seattle Seahawks. After addressing the offensive line with their first pick, they go the opposite route and add another player for Robert Saleh’s defensive line in George Karlaftis.
Purdue football has mostly been an afterthought. At the same time, this season could be considered a success given the upsets they have pulled off against Iowa and Michigan State. Though David Bell is the more prominent name, Karlaftis has been among the top of draft boards for quite some time.
He has logged 36 tackles for 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles this past season. Against Indiana, Karlfatis recorded a sack in the 44-7 win over the Hoosiers. His size and physical gifts will be enough for Saleh and co. to take a chance on him this high in the draft. With Carl Lawson on the other side, it will be easy for Karlaftis to learn and get up to speed.
Regardless of who takes the snaps in Carolina, the franchise needs help along the offensive line. Though Taylor Moton is excellent, he can only do so much. So, Carolina hits the trenches. To their fortunes, they need only look within their state and land a talented player in the Wolfpack’s Ikem Ekwonu.
In 2020, he received the team’s Jim Ritcher Award for the top offensive lineman. He was also named co-ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week for their opening game and the win over Duke. However, his best award is receiving the most pancake blocks—50 of them.
The NFC South is a competitive division, and given what resides inside, it would be best to have an offensive line that can control the line of scrimmage. Plus, Christian McCaffrey can only do so much, and he needs blockers to help him do his magic.
Until the offensive line is fixed, resources should be poured into that unit as much as possible. This includes double-dipping in the draft. New York can find defensive players quite well in free agency, which leaves the draft for fixing the other side. To pair with Linderbaum, New York, thanks to a trade with Chicago a year ago, shores up the edge by taking Mississippi State’s Charles Cross.
Initially, Cross may have slipped further down the draft, but the Giants, as evidenced by what recently took place against Philadelphia, have no choice but to keep plugging their holes until the leaks stop. Though Cross may be a bit high in this slot, he fits the bill and can contribute right away.
The NFC East is littered with defensive lines groomed to go after the quarterback. Sunday Night Football between Washington and Dallas proved it. However, a strong and physically imposing offensive line can at least contain them and provide an offense the time to work. New York needs help, and it cannot be stressed enough. Adding Cross and Linderbaum can help fix the issue.