April 30, 2022
In the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants added a couple of starting linemen (one on each side of the ball), while the Washington Commanders and Dallas Cowboys arguably both reached for needs.
Here's what the Philadelphia Eagles' NFC East rivals did on Day 2.
• Trades: The Giants started the day at Pick 36. They made two trades before eventually selecting a player at Pick 43.
• Pick 43: Wan'dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky: Robinson is a short (5'8), shifty slot receiver with some YAC ability. He has super short 27 5/8" arms, which is in the 0 percentile.
Robinson had a highly productive 2021 season, making 104 catches for 1334 yards and 7 TDs. He also has 141 career carries, mostly with Nebraska before he transferred to Kentucky. He's a fun player to watch. A look:
Many took this selection to mean that the Giants would intensify their efforts to trade 2021 first-round pick Kadarius Toney. We'll see.
I like Robinson, but I liked a bunch of players that went in between picks 36 and 43 a lot more. Those players would include the following:
To be determined if the Giants will regret not just taking one of those guys instead of trading back.
• Pick 67: Joshua Ezeudu, OG, North Carolina: The Giants' offensive line has been an unmitigated disaster for, like, a decade now, so it makes sense that the new regime's focus has been on fixing that. They signed Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano in free agency and then in the draft, they added OT Evan Neal with the seventh overall pick and Ezeudu at the top of Round 3.
I'd be lying if I said I knew anything about Ezeudu, so we'll let Lance Zierlein of NFL Network do the heavy lifting here:
A guard prospect with technical kinks in need of being worked out, Ezeudu possesses the traits and athleticism to find an NFL home. Despite his impressive frame, he doesn't play with cohesive hands and hips, which limits his power zone and could prevent him from neutralizing NFL power. He's a more talented blocker on the move and could see a bump in consistency if an offensive line coach can get him playing with more disciplined hands. His length and tackle experience are plusses, but he's going to allow occasional rush leakage due to soft edges. He has low-end starter potential with emergency tackle versatility.
A series of much more recognizable names got selected in the 10 picks thereafter:
"More recognizable" doesn't mean "better," but I'd probably want one of those other guys instead of Ezeudu if I were a Giants fan.
• Pick 81: Cordale Flott, CB, LSU: Flott is a player that most draft experts had projected as likely to be drafted a little deeper into Round 3. Zierlein had him rated as a fifth-rounder, while Dane Brugler had him as a fifth- or sixth-rounder. He was 122nd on Daniel Jeremiah's big board.
Developmental cornerback with good speed and excellent length; he also needs to start hitting stacks of weights and pancakes. Getting Flott to fill out and grow into his frame should be the top priority for teams taking a chance on him. He plays the game fast and hard, but he hasn't been able to find a functional level of control and recognition in his coverage. He has inside/outside experience, but the length and speed make him a likely perimeter cornerback once he gets fully acclimated outside. The athletic upside is great, but it will be asking a lot of Flott to take on big targets, which could limit his overall ceiling.
And once again, the picks made immediately thereafter included some big names:
If there's one thing new GM Joe Schoen has shown in his first draft, it's that he's not afraid to make non-consensus choices.
• Pick 47: Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama: Mathis is now the third Bama defensive end to land on the interior of Washington's D-line, joining Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. Mathis had a very productive final season at Bama, with 53 tackles and 9 sacks.
• Pick 98: Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama: Over his career at Alabama (oh hey look, another Bama kid), Robinson has been behind guys like Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs, Damien Harris, and Bo Scarbrough, and as a result only had 274 career carries in four years heading into the 2021 season. In 2021, it was finally Robinson's turn, and he carried 270 times for 1336 yards (4.9 YPC) and 14 TDs.
Robinson is a big back at 6'2, 225, and while he isn't often going to break off long runs, he is a hard runner who makes opposing defenders put him on the ground. He is also a competent pass catcher out of the backfield. He should be a nice complement to Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic.
• Pick 56: Sam Williams, EDGE, Ole Miss: Williams aligned as a 4-3 DE as well as a 3-4 OLB with experience dropping into coverage, and he has rushed from the inside on obvious passing downs. In his senior season, Williams racked up 12.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. He also impressed at the NFL Combine by running a 4.46 40.
So why didn't this guy go Round 1? Well, he's bad against the run, and until he gets that fixed he's going to be a sub-package player only. There are also serious off-field concerns, which makes him a natural fit for the Cowboys.
• Pick 88: Jalen Tolbert, WR, Southern Alabama: Tolbert has decent size and a career 17.6 yards per catch average. Over the last two seasons (23 games), he had 146 catches for 2559 yards and 16 touchdowns. That would be 111 yards per game during that span. Deep threat.
He should help fill the void left by the trade of Amari Cooper, and is good value at pick 88.
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports
Add Jimmy's RSS feed to your feed reader