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Much about the NFL draft is cloaked in secrecy. No team wants to give away which players they want to pick or even why they want to pick them. Despite trying to keep their plans secret, NFL insider Peter King recently outed the New York Giants for trying out a top prospect at a different position than he played in college.

The New York Giants are in the market for an offensive tackle

The New York Giants’ offensive line was downright offensive in 2021. The unit ranked 30th out of 32 teams, and four of its members scored a 62.3 or lower out of 100 for the season, per PFF. The lone bright spot was left tackle Andrew Thomas who graded out at a respectable 78.4.  

These offensive line struggles were at least part of the reason that the Giants went 4-13 and why head coach Joe Judge got fired.

Fast forward to 2022, and there’s a new regime in New Jersey. General manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll moved six-hour southeast from the Buffalo Bills and are now in charge of shepherding another Big Blue rebuild.

The initial plan seems to be to give quarterback Daniel Jones one more chance to become the franchise QB the organization thought he would become when it drafted him No. 6 overall in 2019. The first step in this plan has to be building an offensive line to protect Jones.

With two picks (No. 5 and 7) in the top 10 of the 2022 NFL Draft, a premium tackle makes the most sense to help create a better O-line next season. The issue here is, with Thomas now entrenched on the left side, getting a right tackle is the goal.

The Giants tried out Mississippi State’s Charles Cross at right tackle

There are three premium tackles available at the top of the 2022 NFL Draft. They are NC State’s Ickey Ekwonu, Alabama’s Evan Neal, and Mississippi State’s Charles Cross.

Most New York Giants mock drafts have the team picking Neal. The Alabama lineman has slightly higher grades from scouts, and he’s played both tackle spots and even guard in college. Additionally, Ekwonu, who grades out higher than Neal, is usually off the board by No. 5 in most mocks.

There’s one mock draft that has the G-Men taking Cross, though. That’s from OG NFL insider Peter King. The NBC Sports pundit mocks Cross to the Giants at No. 5 and drops the nugget that the team secretly worked out Cross on the right side, a position he never played in college:

Lots of spy versus spy here. By that I mean, at first blush, it’s logical to think GM Joe Schoen would want the best available right tackle here, with Andrew Thomas set on the left side. … But what many don’t know is the Giants put Cross through some work to judge whether he’d be a good right-tackle candidate and came away happy that he would be. 

Peter King on the New York Giants

The fact that such a plugged-in insider like King thinks the Giants are into Cross at No. 5 should set off alarm bells with draft fans. And if the Giants do shock the league and take the Bulldogs lineman, the next question is, who goes seventh?

If Cross goes No. 5, who goes No. 7? 

New York Giants on the clock at the 2019 NFL Draft
New York Giants on the clock at the 2019 NFL Draft | Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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Five players (including Charles Cross, if that’s the New York Giants pick at No. 5) will be off the NFL draft board when the team picks again at No. 7. The other four are Ickey Ekwon, cornerback Ahmed “Sauce” Gardner, and edge-rushers Aidan Hutchinson and Travon Walker.

If this is the case, and the Giants get lucky with the Carolina Panthers taking a quarterback at No. 6, the team will have its pick of the rest of the prospects on the board in the seven-slot.

That leaves three primary targets for Brian Daboll and company.

The Giants could draft Kayvon Thibodeaux, a premium yet polarizing pass-rusher from Oregon. He’s got all the physical tools he needs, but scouts seem to question his commitment and work ethic. However, those concerns have lessened as the draft nears.

Option two is Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounds defensive back is the epitome of a modern NFL safety and the highest-graded prospect by many scouts. The only problem here is that picking safeties in the top 10 seldom works out well.

Finally, Alabama’s Evan Neal could still be around at No. 7. With Neal’s versatility, the Giants could kick the 6-foot-7, 337-pound blocker inside and create an absolute wall in front of Daniel Jones.

Whatever the New York Giants decide to do with these two picks, it will have significant ramifications for the rest of the league in the rest of the NFL draft.

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