After many mock drafts, the NFL Draft was finally here. The New York Giants had two first-round picks to work with. General Manager Joe Schoen knew he couldn’t mess this up. Being his first draft as the head man, he did not disappoint.

Let’s dive into the Giants’ first-round picks.

Kayvon Thibodeaux: Defensive End, Oregon


After the Jaguars took Travon Walker with the first overall pick, the odds of drafting the Oregon defensive end increased. Detroit would then draft Aidan Hutchinson second overall. The Houston Texans, who Thibodeaux was projected to go to, decided to take a chance on Derek Stingley.

Then, it came down to the New York Jets. Would they take a chance on the defensive end?

To Giants fans’ delight, Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner was the Jets’ choice at #4. The time was now. Kayvon Thibodeaux was there for the taking.

A defensive end with a great first step. Someone who can get to the quarterback in a snap. That is Kayvon Thibodeaux. He is the first official member of Big Blue’s 2022 draft class.

But what about the offensive line?

Evan Neal: Offensive Tackle, Alabama

With Carolina at #6, they had their choice of either a quarterback or an offensive lineman. They decided to go with Ikem Ekownu from North Carolina State.

This set the stage for the Giants to draft a man who was dominant during his time under Nick Saban. A lineman who moves “50 pounds lighter” than his weight says.

With experience at both tackle spots, New York has the flexibility to put Evan Neal at left or right tackle. The likely scenario would be the latter, as Andrew Thomas is already solidified as the starter on the left side.

Regardless, Neal is someone who will cause headaches to edge rushers due to his ability not to get overmatched. Once again, Schoen hits a home run with this pick.


The first day of the NFL Draft was indeed a success for Schoen and Co. They got a dominant pass rusher and an offensive lineman who will easily shut down one side of the line.

For New York, the chips fell their way. Seeing Walker get drafted at #1 and Stingley at #3 set things up perfectly for Big Blue.

Thibodeaux is explosive and has a bend like no other. He finished with a 91.5 PFF pass-rush grade, which was overwhelmingly better than Travon Walker’s 65.3 grade. Pairing him with Azeez Ojulari equals a dangerous pass rush duo for years to come.

The concerns about his motor? That can be put to rest because he had a message for Giants fans.

He is definitely ready for the New York spotlight.

For Neal, he only allowed 24 pressures over the past two years at both tackle positions. Neal was the perfect guy to draft if the Giants want to give Daniel Jones time in the pocket. His physicality will help open up holes for Saquon Barkley to dart through for big plays.

There are still six rounds left in the draft. But it was an outstanding first round for Big Blue. Props to the entire front office for making two extraordinary decisions on the first night of the draft.

Welcome to New York, gentlemen. More reinforcements are on the way.

For more on the NFL, check out Belly Up Sports and follow Nathan on Twitter.

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Nathan Nguyen

As a student at San Jose State University, I strive to give my thoughts on the Los Angeles Lakers after every game and keep you updated on the New York Giants.

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