The NFL draft is quickly approaching, with the first round set to start on April 26 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. It’s a shame that this year’s draft is not in New York, where it was held for 50 straight years until 2014, because this is the biggest draft for both the New York Giants and Jets since 1981. Just like this year’s draft, the Giants held the second-overall pick in the draft and the Jets were right behind them with the third-overall pick. The players selected were Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor for the Giants and All-Pro running back Freeman McNeil for the Jets.
This year, both teams would like to replicate what they did in that draft by picking franchise-altering talent. With the Giants, they are looking to win a few more games with quarterback Eli Manning at the helm, so they may pick a top player that could help them win now. However, they will also look towards the future without the two-time Super Bowl MVP, so they may draft a quarterback they can groom or trade down in the draft to get more draft capital for the future. The Jets, meanwhile, traded up from the sixth overall pick to get in a better position to pick the player they want, which it would be surprising if it wasn’t a quarterback. Let’s take a look at the top needs in the draft for each team.
Giants’ Top Needs
I understand New York’s love for Eli and what he has done for the franchise. However, he has been more of a liability than an asset in recent years and it’s easy to wonder how much longer the Giants can rely on him to lead the team. Drafting a quarterback in this draft, which is considered to have the deepest class of quarterbacks in a long time, should be a huge priority. The Giants have their eyes on USC’s Sam Darnold and Wyoming’s Josh Allen, but I think UCLA’s Josh Rosen would also be a great fit for this team.
The Giants signed Nate Solder this offseason, which fills a big need at left tackle. That doesn’t fill the other four positions on the offensive line, which could all use an upgrade. If the Giants feel like they can wait until later in the draft to pick up a quarterback, I don’t see why picking Notre Dame offensive guard Quenton Nelson is a bad move at no. 2.
The last time the Giants had a 1,000-yard rusher was 2012, when Ahmad Bradshaw barely eclipsed the mark by 15 yards. Jonathan Stewart has come over from Carolina in free agency and he has a history of being a franchise-back. Although, he hasn’t run for 1,000 yards since 2009 and hasn’t been able to break tackles like he used to. Could the Giants draft Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, a player many believe is the best in the draft?
Jets’ Top Needs
As I stated earlier, it would be surprising to see the Jets go with any position other than quarterback at the third pick. Their quarterback room is a bit crowded, with respected veteran Josh McCown and former Minnesota Vikings first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater likely to remain on the roster and failed quarterback picks Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg on the way out. While any of the quarterbacks stated above could be reliable options for the Jets, it would also be fun to see Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield be taken and become the face of the franchise.
After the Jets cut Muhammad Wilkerson, it became obvious the team was yet again in need of a pass rusher that can ruin an opposing quarterback’s day. Whether the player is a defensive end or an outside linebacker, the team needs to do better up front in order to support the Jets young, talented secondary. If they decide to go this route with the third pick, taking NC State’s Bradley Chubb would make plenty of sense, especially since some believe he’s better than last year’s first overall pick Myles Garrett.
It was amazing that Josh McCown stayed as healthy as he did up until the end of the season behind a porous line that gave up 47 sacks. Regardless, the Jets should aim to use their later picks on this need. Potential mid-draft options include Pittsburgh offensive tackle Brian O’Neill and Nevada offensive guard Austin Corbett.