Embarrassment, we’ve all felt it. After last Sunday night, the assumption would be that the New York Giants have felt it as well.
The hype behind the Giants was REAL. The made a splash by trading for Las Vega Raider’s tight end Darren Waller. They finally worked out a short-term deal with Saquon Barkley, ending his holdout. Both assistant coaches returned after several interviews for head coach positions following their successful rookie year. Most importantly, Daniel Jones was coming off a career year and a big pay day.
Most assumed that the Giants would put up a fight against the rival Dallas Cowboys. That was not the case. In the main event of opening day, in their own building, the Giants lost 40-0. In front of Queen Latifah, too.
It was rough. Jones was mauled by Dallas’ defense, which led to Waller and the wide receiver corps never really gaining any traction. Barkley also struggled to do anything of note against the very aggressive defense. Majority of defense aside, we can blame just about everyone.
No crew more is guilty than the offensive line. Which I feel like we can chalk it up to them just shitting their pants. Hey, it happens. And it’s embarrassing, I know.
Sometimes as a youth you order chicken tenders from IHOP, being blissfully ignorant to how they would devastate your stomach. Then, your mother decides to take the long way home and Mother Nature reminds you how unforgiving she is. A fart turns into a problem and next thing you know, you are stopping at your aunt’s house to clean up the crime scene.
Now sure that’s a little embarrassing, but when you hear the doorbell ring and a car load of people are asking to coming in to use the phone, it grows. Like the Grinch’s heart on Christmas morning. My embarrassment grew and grew. As I heard these poor people gagging as they called Triple A, I knew changes needed to be made.
There is a point to this story. Sometimes you shit your pants and you get embarrassed in front of a lot of people. While I didn’t do it in front of millions, Evan Neal just played bad. I think it evens out a bit.
I never wore khakis to go out to eat and never ordered something that wasn’t breakfast food from IHOP again. Just like I did, Brian Daboll and company will make adjustments and learn from their mistakes.
Daboll was vocal this week about making the changes needed to fix the problems that they saw during that bloodbath. Many expect to see a bit of a revamped offensive line come Sunday’s game with the Arizona Cardinals. Hopefully they remember not to order the chicken fingers in Arizona.
With the 2022 NFL Draft mere days away, it’s time for the big boards to be locked in. After months of hard work, evaluation, and armchair scouting, Thursday will be a term-ending exam for NFL franchises. They just hope they’ll get it right.
A big board is always an ambitious project. Watching close to 200 players in all kinds of different positions with wildly different rubrics seems wild for any layman. But, through the noise, a sense starts to come as to why a player is NFL-ready or not. A certain stance, a certain trait that isn’t obvious, it will show itself.
But, don’t overthink it. The top players are the top players for a reason. That will show itself quickly.
Here’s the 2022 NFL Draft big board.
The Top 5
#1 – Kayvon Thibodeaux – Edge – Oregon
As an edge player, Thibodeaux is perfect. His get-off out of his stance is insane. He plays assignment football very well, and understands the little nuances about quarterback containment. The strength he shows to shove an offensive tackle back is also absurd.
Concerns about his motor are lazy, and he’s the top player in the draft.
#2 – Jordan Davis – Defensive tackle – Georgia
Admittedly, this is ambitious. But, Jordan Davis is a true game-breaker at defensive tackle. He’s the most athletic defensive tackle that Kent Lee Platte’s RAS database has ever seen. That may not come in a every-down package, but the way he blows up plays is so systemic. He may end up being the best player in this draft.
#3 – Evan Neal – Offensive tackle – Alabama
Neal is perhaps the most fluid of the three big offensive tackles in the top of the first round. He moves like no other offensive tackle, his first punch is fantastic, and he anchors fantastically on pass rushes.
#4 – Charles Cross – Offensive tackle – Mississippi State
Cross seems to be lagging in mocks compared to his actual talent. On film, he’s a big ol’ rock at left tackle who has the footwork to almost always stay in front of his man. Perhaps the strongest of the three big time offensive tackles, he’s also a force in run blocking.
#5 – Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner – Corner – Cincinnati
The ideal corner prospect for the modern NFL, Gardner is a towering 6-foot-3, and can stay with any receiver on the field. He’s a big hitter too, and brings instant hot sauce to any secondary.
6 to 10
#6 – Aidan Hutchinson – Edge – Michigan
Hutchinson is a stellar pass rusher, is as strong as an ox, and is as athletic as any player in the draft. While there are “tells” in his game that offensive coordinators will pick up on, it’s hard to imagine him not having a very productive NFL career.
#7 – Kyle Hamilton – Safety – Notre Dame
A wildly athletic safety prospect, Hamilton’s ranginess is his biggest gift. At 6-foot-4 and weighing 220 pounds, he was a decent run defender, and has versatility in the defensive backfield. As well as safety, he was often called upon to play slot corner in a man-to-man defense, and he performed well.
#8 – Nakobe Dean – Linebacker – Georgia
Dean is a never-ending battery of effort who is also gifted with great vision. He flies through gaps to blow up plays with ease. As a pass defender, he does well against back releases and tight ends. He is a tad short at 5-foot-11, but that won’t hinder him a bit.
#9 – Derek Stingley Jr. – Cornerback – LSU
Twelve months ago, I thought Stingley would be the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. He’s fast and sticks to receivers like maggots on meat. Yet, his injury history is a concern, and staying on the field will be his biggest task in the NFL. The talent, however, is there.
#10 – Ikem Ekwonu – Offensive tackle – NC State
Ekwonu lags behind Neal and Cross at tackle. While he’s very intelligent at the position, and is able to adjust to defensive rip and swim moves, he does have a overall lack of agility on film. Quicker edge players may have a matchup advantage on him in the NFL.
11 to 16
#11 – Treylon Burks – Wide receiver – Arkansas
On 2022 NFL draft big boards, Burks comes in consistently in the 20s. Yet, when one watches, he looks every bit of a top 10-15 pick. His physicality and body stands out the most on film, as he’s able to out-muscle any defender to the ball. While he doesn’t have quite the same explosiveness as other receivers, his floor is far higher and he’s a far safer bet for multiple pro bowl seasons.
#12 – Tyler Linderbaum – Center – Iowa
Don’t overthink the arm length concerns, Linderbaum is a great center prospect. He is strong enough to shove interior players off the ball extremely well and anchors well on passing downs.
#13 – Garrett Wilson – Wide receiver – Ohio State
Wilson is an exceptionally fluid receiver. He sees the ball well, can look and reel in absurd catches, and has great open-field speed too. He’s just a complete receiver prospect.
#14 – Kaiir Elam – Corner – Florida
Elam tends to lag around in the high 20s and early 30s in most mocks, but he should be considered a top half of the first round player. He’s long, has great hip-turn ability, and tracks the ball well when it’s up in the air. Although it isn’t as important for a corner, he’s perhaps a bit too contact-averse.
#15 – Jelani Woods – Tight end – Virginia
While Jelani Woods is considered a second day steal prospect, his ceiling and current ability says he’s better than that. When one puts on the film, it’s easy to see Woods as a Kyle Pitts-esque player. At 6-foot-7, he’s a massive body, but has enough speed to be a dangerous receiver in the open field. He can play in the slot, but can also stay in to block well enough, too.
#16 – Kenyon Green – Guard – Texas A&M
Even against Alabama’s complement of pass rushers, nothing got past Green. What’s even wilder about that is he was playing out of position at tackle. At guard, he’s a natural, and will be a block of granite there for years to come.
17 to 24
#17 – Arnold Ebiketie – Edge – Penn State
Ebiketie’s tape is a blast to watch. He’s got impressive get off and blows by any tackle there is.
#18 – Devin Lloyd – Linebacker – Utah
Long, athletic linebacker who has a good nose for the football. Potential is very high at the NFL level.
#19 – Jameson Williams – Wide receiver – Alabama
Speedy receiver who played all over the field in Alabama’s offense. A true deep threat, and if he can recover from his ACL tear, he’ll be just as good in the NFL as he was at Bama.
#20 – Calvin Austin III – Wide receiver – Memphis
Austin is just 5-foot-8, but his potential is otherworldly. Extremely fast receiver who can beat press coverage at flanker, or could be a menace at slot.
#21 – Chris Olave – Wide receiver – Ohio State
Dynamic receiver who could be a great deep threat from day one. Sometimes does struggle with seeing the ball in, however.
#22 – Bernhard Raimann – Offensive tackle – Central Michigan
Raimann has serious upside, given he just started playing the position a few years ago while still in college. Yet, when one watches the film, everything is good. He’s a fluid athlete, and can anchor very well.
#23 – Lewis Cine – Safety – Georgia
Cine is a sideline-to-sideline safety who plays deep effectively, can run up in a big hurry to defense the run, or play man up on slot receivers.
25 to 32
#24 – Daxton Hill – Safety – Michigan
Hill is slightly built and very quick, but can also play defense in the box as well.
#25 – Jalen Pitre – Corner – Baylor
Pitre is a nasty, physical nickelback, who will translate to corner in the NFL extremely well.
#26 – Devonte Wyatt – Defensive tackle – Georgia
A ridiculously athletic rusher who knocks in offensive linemen with regularity.
#27 – Jaquan Brisker – Safety – Penn State
Brisker is a massive safety who excels in run defending. Yet, his pass coverage is solid as well.
#28- Nick Cross – Safety – Maryland
Cross is far underrated by draftniks. A strong, stout safety, Cross is an effective pass defender, and could very well play nickel in the NFL as well.
#29 – Jahan Dotson – Wide receiver – Penn State
Dotson is a serious deep threat at flanker, but could also make for matchup advantages at slot receiver.
#30 – Christian Harris – Linebacker – Alabama
Great pass-rushing linebacker, but unproven in pass coverage, which he’ll need to do to stay on the field in the NFL.
#31 – Kenny Pickett – Quarterback – Pitt
Pickett is a one-year wonder, but in that one year, he showed great athleticism and accuracy that makes him QB1 heading into the draft.
#32 – David Ojabo – Edge – Michigan
Ojabo would be higher on this list, if not for the Achilles tear. If he recovers back to 100%, he’s a top 10-15 talent at edge rusher.
Top Half of Second Round Grade
#33 – Christian Watson – Wide receiver – North Dakota State
#34 – Kenneth Walker – Running back – Michigan State
#35 – Channing Tindall – Linebacker – Georgia
#36 – Sam Williams – Edge – Ole Miss
#37 – Malik Willis – Quarterback – Liberty
With Wills, the physical tools are there in bunches. Yet, he does struggle with pressure in his face, and also sometimes doesn’t read the field as well as he should. He’ll need some development time to be a good NFL quarterback.
#38 – Trent McDuffie – Cornerback – Washington
#39 – Nicholas Petit-Frere – Offensive tackle – Ohio State
#40 – James Cook – Running back – Georgia
#41 – Roger McCreary – Cornerback – Auburn
#42 – Kyler Gordon – Cornerback – Washington
#43 – Charlie Kolar – Tight end – Iowa State
#44 – Drake London – Wide receiver – USC
A true possession receiver in the NFL, London is a big body who doesn’t possess deep ball play ability.
#45 – George Pickens – Wide receiver – Georgia
#46 – Ty Chandler – Running back – North Carolina
A dual threat out of the backfield, Chandler is a great pass-catcher, as well as a powerful, straight-ahead runner.
#47 – Obinna Eze – Offensive tackle – TCU
#48 – George Karlaftis – Edge – Purdue
Massive, strong, but not a particularly smart edge rusher, and also has trouble with play recognition.
Bottom Half of Second Round Grade
#49 – Zamir White – Running back – Georgia
#50 – Josh Paschal – Edge – Kentucky
#51 – Bryan Cook – Safety – Cincinnati
#52 – Luke Godeke – Offensive tackle – Central Michigan
#53 – Trey McBride – Tight end – Colorado State
#54 – Martin Emerson – Corner – Mississippi State
#55 – Travon Walker – Edge – Georgia
Walker is a massive, freakish athlete, who has also put very little on tape that shows those traits off. His penetration at edge was negligible against NFL-caliber offensive linemen. Even at edge, he was never as prolific as others on the Georgia defense.
#56 – Zyon McCollum – Corner – Sam Houston State
#57 – Jermaine Johnson – Edge – Florida State
Johnson is quick, has good moves, but is perhaps a better run defender at edge rather than a great pass rusher. Any team that plays a 4-down defensive package would be well served to pick him up.
#58 – Nik Bonitto – Edge – Oklahoma
#59 – Alex Pierce – Wide receiver – Cincinnati
#60 – Jalen Tolbert – Wide receiver – South Alabama
#61 – David Bell – Wide receiver – Purdue
#62 – Dylan Parham – Guard/Center – Memphis
#63 – John Metchie III – Wide receiver – Alabama
#64 – Isaiah Likely – Tight end – Coastal Carolina
Third Round Graded Players
#65 – Cam Jurgens – Center – Nebraska
#66 – Skyy Moore – Wide receiver – Western Michigan
Penning is a massive 6-foot-7 tackle prospect with ostensible unlimited upside. Yet, his lack of side-to-side agility when pass blocking is evident, and his intellect when playing the position is a step or two behind most prospects in this draft.
The NFL offseason is here and NFL Draft season is in full swing. Mock drafts are being written, scouting reports are being put together, and podcasts are recording. With the NFL Combine now in the rearview mirror, we have a more data to work with. Free agency and Pro Days are coming, but it’s time to take another swing at what the Draft might look like.
Tackle Cam Robinson will be back after being given the franchise tag by the Jaguars, but the offensive line situation is by no means solved. Neal could easily become the best lineman on the team quickly and the long-term solution at left tackle.
2. Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibideaux, Edge – Oregon
The Lions grab the highest graded player in the draft here. Questions about his effort are overblown, but his ceiling is sky-high and he makes an instant impact. This is just too early for any of the quarterbacks in this class.
3. Houston Texans: Jermaine Johnson, Edge – Florida St
Everybody is predicting a certain talented safety here, and that makes sense. Pass rushers are more valuable, though, and Johnson is the highest graded one available. He is long, fast, and plays with violence in his eyes.
4. New York Jets: Kyle Hamilton, Safety – Notre Dame
The Jets are another team that needs everything. Hamilton is one of the elite players in this draft, so despite the positional value argument, taking the best player on the board makes sense for them. He’s an impact player from the start.
5. New York Giants: Aiden Hutchinson, Edge – Michigan
Getting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks has to be a priority for the Giants next year. They were near the bottom of the league in sacks, and Hutchinson falling a little bit makes this selection a no-brainer for them.
6. Carolina Panthers: Ikem Ekwonu, Offensive Line – North Carolina St
Quarterback is the biggest need in Carolina, but there’s major risk in taking on this high. Instead, getting a top offensive line prospect to protect whoever is under center makes sense. Ekwonu is an athletic blocker who could go even higher than this.
Guards don’t often find themselves being taken inside the top ten, but Green is an exception. He grades out as the top offensive lineman in the class here, as he’s long, athletic, and impossible to move off his spot.
The Falcons would probably love to trade back and get some extra picks here. They desperately need receiver help, but it’s early for that. They could also use some secondary help and Gardner has all the traits a team could want.
It seems destined that quarterback Malik Willis is the pick here, but it’s still a bit early. Walker, on the other hand, could be an absolute steal here and is rising up boards quickly after the NFL Combine, where he shined.
10. New York Jets: Charles Cross, Offensive Line – Mississippi St
There are question marks up front for the Jets going into 2022. There are more questions than answers, particularly at tackle. Cross hopefully solves some of those issues. He is as technically sound as any tackle in this class.
11. Washington Commanders: Treylon Burks, Wide Receiver – Arkansas
The two Super Bowl contestants from this year proved that having elite weapons matters. The Commanders have their quarterback, so they get another big-time option to go with Terry McLaurin on the outside.
There’s some risk associated with picking Stingley here, but if he returns to the form of a few seasons ago, he’s a steal. The Vikings are barren at cornerback, and this could be a homerun. One of the linebackers could be an option as well.
13. Cleveland Browns: Jordan Davis, Defensive Tackle – Georgia
Positional value says this is too high for Davis, but players like him don’t come around that often. The Browns are thin on the interior of their defensive line and Davis is a monster and an athletic freak, even if he isn’t a three-down player.
14. Baltimore Ravens: Devonte Wyatt, Defensive Line – Georgia
With the board falling the way it has, an offensive lineman is a bit of a reach. The Ravens need some bodies on the defensive line as well, and Wyatt is the best on the board. He plays with quickness and provides plenty of pass rush upside.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Devin Lloyd, Linebacker – Utah
With three picks in the first round, the Eagles can address a lot of needs. First up, improving the defense, which needs help at all three levels. Here, they take the highest graded linebacker in the class, and Lloyd probably starts from day one.
16. Philadelphia Eagles: Trent McDuffie, Cornerback – Washington
It’s back to the defensive side of the ball, and they pick the best available cornerback on the board this time. He has good length, while also possessing good instincts for the position. He’s versatile enough to play inside or outside.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Nakobe Dean, Linebacker – Georgia
With wide receiver Mike Williams re-signed, the focus is on the defense. They have a major need at defensive tackle, but the board didn’t fall in their favor. Adding a rangy linebacker to fly around the field helps out as well.
The Saints have to get out of cap trouble this season, and then ideally begin to compete again in 2023. Drafting the best quarterback in the class is the start of that. Willis may need some time, but has the tools to be a star.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: George Karlaftis, Edge – Purdue
Once again, the Eagles address the defense. Karlaftis plays hard and knows how to get to the quarterback. He may not be as physically gifted as other pass rushers in this draft, but he makes up for it with technique and motor.
The retirement of Ben Roethlisberger leaves the Steelers with a gigantic hole on offense. A trade for a veteran might be a better option, but as of now, they draft an exciting player who has some flaws in his game, but has a high ceiling.
21. New England Patriots: Andrew Booth Jr, Cornerback – Clemson
This is as simple as drafting a guy to replace a guy they lost. JC Jackson appears to be headed to another team this offseason, leaving the Patriots short at cornerback. Booth is another of the great corner prospects in this draft.
22. Las Vegas Raiders: Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver – Alabama
With Russell Wilson headed to Denver, and the rise of Justin Herbert, the AFC West is becoming a division defined by offense. Derek Carr needs more weapons and Williams, once fully recovered from injury, might be the best of this class.
This is a steal at this point. The Cardinals can certainly use another pass rusher, but Ojabo is worthy of a top 15 pick. In this case, he slipped down a bit, and Arizona will take it. The former Wolverine is explosive and has some nice pass rush moves.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Zion Johnson, Offensive Line – Boston College
The Cowboys offensive line has been an area of strength for a long time. However, age, injuries, and defections are taking a toll. Johnson may go even higher than this, as his stock is rising. He likely would start at left guard right away.
25. Buffalo Bills: Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver – Ohio St
Having one of the league’s best young quarterbacks means the Bills are contenders every year. Keeping his weapons stocked will be important though. Wilson might be the best player on the board here, and gives Allen another big-time target.
26. Tennessee Titans: Chris Olave, Wide Receiver – Ohio St
The Titans certainly need to address the offensive line, but the need for receiver help is underrated. AJ Brown is fantastic, but Julio Jones is on the downside of his career. Olave is a fantastic route runner and has some much needed speed for the Titans too.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tyler Linderbaum, Center – Iowa
The offensive line in Tampa has taken a hit this offseason. They need help along the interior and with Ryan Jenson entering free agency. Linderbaum has size and length concerns, but is technically sound and has plenty of power.
28. Green Bay Packers: Drake London, Wide Receiver – USC
The Packers have famously failed to use top picks on weapons for Aaron Rodgers over the years. Need meets value here and they finally get him some help. London has great size and hands, and he will be a nice “money down” target.
29. Miami Dolphins: Trevor Penning, Offensive Line – Northern Iowa
Penning made himself some money at the NFL Combine and he could wind up going much higher than this. Miami has to protect the quarterback better going forward if they want to be contenders in an increasingly difficult AFC.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: Daxton Hill, Safety – Michigan
The Chiefs secondary was a liability in 2021, particularly in their late season and playoff losses to the Bengals. Hill is a rangy safety with ball skills. The other option here would be a cornerback, but Hill is the highest graded available defensive back on the board.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: Sean Rhyan, Offensive Lineman – UCLA
The offensive line cost the Bengals a Super Bowl ring. They’ll use free agency too, but getting a potentially dominant player in the draft too is advisable. Rhyan would benefit from a move to guard, where his strength and use of leverage would allow him to thrive.
Simply put, it’s time for a new era at quarterback in Detroit. Pickett could be a top 15 selection, but small hand measurements hurt him. He has an intelligence for the position, and has an NFL-quality arm to show off for his new team.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. It’s been widely speculated they may take Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, so let’s dive into his scouting report to see why.
Evan Neal is from Okeechobee, Florida. He went to high school, and played football there before transferring to IMG Academy, also in Florida. A dominant offensive lineman in high school, he became a five-star recruit. He was one of the highest rated offensive tackles in the country, and a top ten player overall in his recruiting class. When it was time to pick a college to play at, he chose the Alabama Crimson Tide.
In 2019, Neal played left guard and garnered a lot of attention for his game. He received Freshman All-American honors on an offensive line that was loaded with talent. He moved to right tackle in 2020, and was once again a key part of a successful line and team. Left tackle became his home for 2021 and it was his third position in three years. Once again, he was dominant and declared for the 2022 NFL Draft after the season ended.
Evan Neal Scouting Report
Looks the part, with long arms and a massive body, he has prototypical size for the NFL.
He has above average movement skills for his size. He can get out in the run game and blocks well in space.
His hands are strong and when he gets them on a defender, they’re done. He also anchors well when his footwork is good.
There’s a mean streak to his game. Especially in the run game, he has no hesitation in burying would-be tacklers.
While he’s likely a left tackle from day one, he does have experience at guard and right tackle.
He’s massive, but pops out of his stance quickly and moves well enough laterally to handle all types of pass rusher.
Likely hasn’t reached his peak yet. His ceiling is sky-high.
Speed rushers can give him trouble and get his footwork out of sorts.
His technique can use some refining. Hand placement can be inconsistent and his balance can be disturbed by pass rushers with good counter moves.
His weight was an issue at one point, and though it hasn’t been a problem recently, it’s something he’ll need to be conscious of.
Evan Neal is nearly universally the best tackle in this draft class, as his scouting report demonstrates. His combination of size/length, quickness, and strength is unmatched and his upside is through the roof.
The NFL has a shortage of quality offensive linemen, so quality players are always coveted in the draft. Neal projects as a top pick and positional value will have him near the top of many boards. That includes, possibly, the Jacksonville Jaguars, who hold the first overall pick.
His game is not perfect, but the strengths far outweigh the weaknesses. He’s not as “can’t miss” a prospect as Penei Sewell was last year. However, Evan Neal has the tools to be a great left tackle at the NFL level.
The NFL is always searching for talent along the offensive line, especially at the tackle position. Aside from quarterback, offensive tackles are one of the most highly selected positions in the draft. For a good reason; they protect the quarterback. So we could be looking at a potential top ten pick in next year’s draft with Evan Neal out of Alabama. However, if Neal were not to play another snap of college football, there is a good chance he would still get drafted in the first round of the 2022 draft. He possesses the height-weight-speed combination that the NFL adores.
With Neal playing in the 2022 season, he can raise his stock and become one of the first players taken in the upcoming draft. This upcoming season is enormous for Neal and his draft stock. With a stellar season, we could be looking at a top-five pick and a future cornerstone for the NFL team that elects to pick him in next year’s draft.