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As part of The Post’s 2022 NFL Draft preview, we examine what the Giants might do at each position. Today: edge rushers Next up: linebackers.
Protect the quarterback and attack the quarterback. The teams that do this the best are almost always the best teams. The teams that do this the worst, well, take a look at the Giants and judge for yourself. The only returning player with a pedigree as a pass rusher is Azeez Ojulari, an outside linebacker who had eight sacks as a rookie in 2021. It was an extremely promising NFL debut, but he cannot do it alone. Does this new defensive staff have any use for Oshane Ximines (third-round pick, 2019)? The previous staff did not.
This is a solid draft for edge rushers, and the Giants should be able to find one with two picks (Nos. 5 and 7) so high in the first round. There is no doubt the most talented is Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon, who has all the measurables but does not have great production in college and the brand-name LA vibe he gives off concerns many NFL teams — including the Giants.
This creates a risk with taking Thibodeaux, but the rewards might be sensational. Travon Walker of Georgia is not a prototype pass rusher but he might develop into one. Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan) will not be on the board for the Giants.
Jermaine Johnson is a fascinating prospect. He went to junior college and then Georgia before finishing up at Florida State, where in 2021 he had 18 tackles for loss and 12 sacks to earn the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award. At 23 years old, he was only a one-year college starter. Is he right for the Giants?