Like the New York Jets, the New York Giants need to address protection early in the draft and the run of quarterbacks will benefit them as well. Had Neal been selected earlier, a chain reaction would have followed with the result being the Giants looking for a second tier tackle. Instead, they are able to land a player that was once in the conversation for the top pick in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
Ikem Ekwonu didn’t test too far off of the numbers that Neal was able to put up. Ekwonu was still the fourth-best graded player at the Combine and his Next Gen Stats grade was in the Top 10 as well. With Andrew Thomas at left tackle, Ekwonu can slide into the right tackle spot, somewhere where he should be much more comfortable. Like Neal to the Jets, Ekwonu is a solid selection with the fifth pick and is nearly interchangeable with Neal.
The quarterback craze is spreading through the NFC South and it can be clear to see why. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a scare when Tom Brady fake retired for a few weeks, but the reality is that is coming eventually. The rest of the division can start preparing now for when the Bucs fall and the division is once again up for grabs.
Carolina’s best fit for a quarterback would be Willis, but they simply don’t have the draft capital to make a jump high enough to get him. Instead, they have to sit tight and see what comes to them. While the sixth pick is too high for Desmond Ridder, it’s the price you have to pay to get a quarterback.
Ridder has been battle-tested, that’s not the concern for him, one that often follows non-Power 5 players. For Ridder, it’s consistency. He has the tools to be a strong NFL quarterback, but the mishaps and errors make it hard to see the full picture. With Sam Darnold in Carolina, Ridder won’t be rushed into starting and can take time and advance to starting level.