The Giants, who hold the No. 5 and No. 7 overall selections in this month’s draft, are well-positioned to address two of their biggest needs — offensive tackle and edge rusher — with a top collegiate prospect. Per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post, Big Blue has done “a ton of work” on Mississippi State tackle Charles Cross, one of the top OTs in the class.
Cross is not considered to be on the same level as Alabama tackle Evan Neal or NC State blocker Ikem Ekwonu in terms of overall talent, but one scouting source told Dunleavy that Neal and Cross are the best pure left tackles in the class. While all three prospects project well at right tackle, Ekwonu is better-suited to the right side, and he also has the ceiling of an elite guard.
There is a chance that Neal and Ekwonu, or at least one of the pair, will be available for the Giants when they are on the clock with the No. 5 pick. In that scenario, New York could take the highest-rated OL on its board, or it could simply opt to fill a different need, secure in the knowledge that one of those two players and/or Cross will still be there for the taking at No. 7 (assuming, of course, that a club with a Top-4 selection does not nab Cross). But if the first four picks skew towards O-linemen rather than, say, pass rushers, then new GM Joe Schoen may need to pounce on a protector for QB Daniel Jones.
If he ends up with Cross, an accomplished pass blocker who would complete a strong bookend with 2020 first-rounder Andrew Thomas, Schoen should be happy, regardless of which pick he uses. In 719 pass-blocking snaps in 2021, Cross allowed just 16 pressures.
Schoen recently passed along several injury updates on two starting-caliber players already on the roster. LB Blake Martinez (ACL) and WR Sterling Shepard (Achilles), both of whom recently accepted pay cuts, will hopefully be back in action by August, per Schoen (Twitter link via Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com). OL Nick Gates, who started all 16 games for the Giants in 2020 but who suffered a career-threatening leg fracture in Week 2 of the 2021 season, may be ready for training camp, as Raanan tweets.