By Michael Stewart @TheTruthNYG
This will be part 9 in a series of 13 as we shift gears and go focus at the edge position in the upcoming draft. The Giants have been yearning for an impact playmaking edge rusher to compliment Leonard Williams on the other side as last year’s draft pick Elerson Smith is still an unknown and would need more time to prove himself. Here are my top 5 edge rushers in the upcoming NFL draft and it may surprise you.
- Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon) 6’5/260: Thibodeaux could be the 1st defensive player taken in the 2022 draft and possibly the 1st overall pick. Thibodeaux possesses all the intangibles you want in an edge defender and all this talk of him slipping down the board is utter nonsense.
- Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan) 6’5/269: Hutchinson is quick off the snap and has a fierce competitiveness that NFL team’s covert. Hutchinson never stops in pursuit and defends the run equally.
- Jermaine Johnson (Florida State) 6’5/262: Johnson had a solid season in 2021 and his stock soar higher after his performance in senior week. Johnson displayed a wide variety of rush moves against the best OT in college football. If Johnson has a solid combine, he could crack the top 15 on draft night or perhaps the top 10.
- George Karlaftis (Purdue) 6’4/270: Karlaftis has a bunch of talent but is still considered a bit raw in certain areas. Karlaftis can play with his hand in the dirt or in a two-point stance and will most likely be the 3rd or 4th edge off board based off the combine results. Karlaftis needs to find consistency in his game moving forward as he sometimes disappears on some plays.
- Cameron Thomas (San Diego State) 6’5/270: Thomas might be a surprise pick over David Ojabo on my list, but hey, it’s my list. Thomas had double digits in sacks and led all defensive linemen in total tackles in 2021. Thomas also finished second only behind Hutchinson in quarterback pressures. Thomas is a no-nonsense blue-collar defender who plays with an edge and plays until the whistle.
This year’s edge class could be the best class over the last decade and the Giants must look to capitalize on this wealth of talent in this draft. The million-dollar question with the new regime is how much do they value edge rushers and when will they draft one? I guess that depends on how the board develops as the Giants can go in many directions with currently 9 picks in this draft. GM Joe Schoen stressed the need to add talent onto the roster, so it remains to be seen how aggressively he is throughout the draft. There’s always a possibility Schoen could look to trade back from one of the 1st round picks, if a quarterback needy team gives the Giants an offer they can’t refuse.