Round 1 (No. 5 Overall): OL Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State
Why would he be a good value for the New York Giants?
Ekwonu was arguably the most dominant offensive lineman in college football in 2021. Evan Neal (the massive offensive tackle out of Alabama) is more heralded, but many scouts are starting to pick Ekwonu ahead of him. (Mel Kiper had Ekwonu picked ahead of Evan Neal in his latest mock draft.)
Ekwonu is more than worthy of a top 5 selection by the New York Giants.
The 6’4”, 320-pound tackle is freakishly athletic for his size and has a nasty streak that Giants fans would love. His 93.8 PFF run-blocking grade in 2021 was the best in the nation among tackles. His size, strength, and athleticism make him an excellent pass blocker as well.
How would he fit on the 2022 New York Giants roster?
Ekwonu would likely slide right in at the right tackle spot, giving the New York Giants two top-5 picks at the tackle positions.
Andrew Thomas has already proven that he can block on an island at left tackle in the NFL. Already, Thomas is quickly becoming one of the better young left tackles and is probably Dave Gettleman’s best draft pick during his tenure.
If Ekwonu struggles to go from left tackle in college to right tackle in the NFL, he has the versatility to move inside to guard. He has three years of starting experience at left tackle but, also has
played more than 200 snaps at left guard in his college career.
NFL Comparison: Tristan Wirfs
Ekwonu and Wirfs have similar size (Wirfs is also 320 pounds, but is one inch taller). Both players are considered athletic freaks. Both had some draft scouts projecting that guard would be their best position, but I think Ekwonu can have the kind of impact at right tackle for the Giants that Wirfs has at right tackle in Tampa Bay.