Giants NFL Mock Draft 4.0: Charles Cross, Jermaine Johnson

I won’t be there.

We hear this so often, that there must be 15 players who will absolutely, positively not be there for the taking when the Giants are on the clock Thursday night with picks No. 5 and No. 7 in the NFL Draft 2022. Someone has to be available, right?

The Giants have a chance to instantly inject their lackluster roster with an infusion of talent, with two picks in the top seven, three picks in the top 36 and five picks in the top 81. They could go in several different directions, but an investigation is in order if they do not come out of the first round – even if they opt to trade down – with a potential starter for the open starting right tackle spot.

There are nine picks and many holes to fill.

Here is Giants Mock Draft 4.0. You can check out Mock Draft 3.0 here.

Round 1, No. 5 overall: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Previous picks: OL Ickey Ekwonu, NC State, OL Evan Neal, Alabama, Ekwonu

Charles Cross runs drills at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine
Charles Cross runs drills at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine
Getty Images

Figure Evan Neal is off the board and Ickey Ekwonu might be, as well. The Giants have been on Cross for a while, drawn to him because he is the most skilled pass protector in this draft and they believe he can add some weight to his 6-4, 307-pound frame and slide over to fortify the right tackle spot. Cross rarely takes a misstep when getting into his pass sets and is a calm, smart presence on the field. Long, athletic body and he can use his hands with great skill. Can he run block well enough? Cross figures to bookend with Andrew Thomas for years to come on the Giants’ line.

Round 1, No. 7 overall: Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State

Previous picks: DE Travon Walker, Georgia, CB Willow Gardner, Cincinnati, Walker

The Giants love CB Sauce Gardner, but he is off the board. They are thinking defense and cannot pass up on this ascending pass rusher as a tag-team partner to Azeez Olulari, who had eight sacks as a rookie last season. Johnson transferred from Georgia to get more playing time and he killed it last season in Tallahassee, with 12 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. He is a fierce run defender and could develop into the best pass rusher in this draft class.

Edge rusher Jermaine Johnson scores a defensive touchdown with Florida State
Edge rusher Jermaine Johnson scores a defensive touchdown with Florida State
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Round 2, No. 36 overall: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

Previous picks: C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa, G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M, S Jalen Pitre, Baylor

A safety running 4.38 in the 40-yard dash? Yup. That is why he is more than a safety. With his coverage ability from him, Hill will be able to play a hybrid role, giving new defensive coordinator Wink Martindale the versatility he craves. This is some help in case (when?) CB James Bradberry is traded. Hill and Xavier McKinney will form a Dynamic Duo on the back end.

Round 3, No. 67 overall: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State

Previous picks: S Jalen Pitre, Baylor, Edge Josh Paschal, Kentucky, WR Skyy Moore, Western Michigan

Desired combination of production and potential. McBride set school records in 2021 for receptions (90) and receiving yards (1,121). He does not have top-end speed but throw it to him and his big hands will bring it in. Also a willing and capable blocker. He fills a huge need for a team without a No. 1 tight end.

Round 3, No. 81 overall: Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin

Previous picks: LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin, WR Khalil Shakir, Boise State, G Cole Strange, Chattanooga

Blake Martinez should be ready for the start of the season coming off ACL surgery and Tae Crowder returns, but help is needed at inside ‘backer. Here it is. Chenal was exceptional in 2021 for the Badgers’ top-ranked defense with 18.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks and 115 tackles. He is an explosive hitter and power blitzer, more adept at surging forward rather than dropping into coverage.

Round 4, No. 112 overall: RB James Cook, Georgia

Previous picks: TE Cade Otton, Washington, TE Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State, TE Charlie Kolar, Iowa State

Do not think of this guy as the younger, slighter brother of Vikings star Dalvin Cook, although they do share traits of elusiveness with the ball in their hands. Think of James Cook as a dangerous accessory piece to an offense, capable of running it and catching it as long as his 199-pound body he does not have to take a pounding. New head coach Brian Daboll will get creative here.

James Cook of the Georgia Bulldogs in the National Championship Game
James Cook of the Georgia Bulldogs in the National Championship game
Getty Images

Round 5, No. 147 overall: Alex Wright, Edge, Alabama-Birmingham

Previous picks: RB James Cook, Georgia, OL Zach Tom, Wake Forest, CB Alontae Taylor, Tennessee

He will need to sculpt his 6-foot-5, 271-pound frame and refine his strength and technique. There is ability here to develop after Wright put up seven sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in 2021.

Round 5, No. 173 overall: Kyle Phillips, WR, UCLA

Previous picks: G Jamaree Salyer, Georgia, CB Cordale Flott, LSU, P Matt Araiza, San Diego State

Phillips is undersized at 5-foot-11 and not a speed demon, but he translates as a shifty slot target. He has led the Bruins in receptions three consecutive seasons and he broke out with 10 touchdowns in 2021. Plus, he averaged nearly 20 yards in his college career as a punt returner. If Darius Slayton is traded away, here is a less-expensive (although different style) alternative.

Round 6, No. 182 overall: Smoke Monday, S, Auburn

Previouspick: CB Vincent Gray, Michigan, DT Noah Elliss, Idaho, RB Abram Smith, Baylor

At this point in the draft, try to figure out what a player does well, rather than his limitations. Monday is a line of scrimmage force who plays like a linebacker and had three interception returns for touchdowns for the Tigers. He will be a special teams fixture.

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