It’s rare when two teams in one city end up being the focal point of the NFL Draft, but when you have two teams who have struggled as much as the New York Jets and Giants have the past several seasons, it’s not shocking to see both at the top of the draft board. This year is a little different as both clubs own a pair of picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, and both clubs have similar needs.
Cornerback, defensive end, wide receiver, and offensive line are all huge needs for both clubs. And how one team picks could affect the other. It’s going to be fascinating.
The Jets own the 4th and 10th overall picks. The 10th pick New York acquired in a trade with Seattle before last season for disgruntled safety Jamal Adams. The Giants own the 5th and 7th overall picks. The seventh pick the G-Men received in a deal with the Chicago Bears last year.
Any number of players could end up falling to the Jets or Giants on Thursday night. Those names include:
Kayvan Thibodeaux – Defensive end, Oregon. Explosive defensive end, who is right size for the position. Seven sacks in 2021 for Oregon. Has stated he would love to play in the New York market. There are concerns over his passion for the game, a notion he has said is false.
Travon Walker – Defensive end, Georgia. Expected to go number 1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but if he slips past them and Detroit, it will get interesting. Walker has all the measurables, size, speed. Only six sacks last year with National Champion Georgia.
Jermaine Johnson – defensive end – Florida State. Could find himself in New York with the Jets at 10, if they don’t take Thibodeaux, or they lose out on other picks. Has the size, and impressive numbers. Recorded 12 sacks last season at FSU.
Jameson Williams – Wide Receiver, Alabama. Considered the most talented receiver in this class. Breakout year in 2021 with Alabama, over 1500 yards receiving. Suffered ACL injury, although he is expected to be ready to go.
Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner – cornerback, Cincinnati. Considered the best corner in this draft. Nine career interceptions, is good, but what tells the tale is that quarterbacks had a QBR of 30.4 against him. Even Alabama coach Nick Saban refused to pass against Gardner because of his ability shut down opposing teams receivers. Has drawn comparisons to Darrelle Revis.
Derick Stingley Jr. – cornerback, LSU. Considered the second best corner in this draft. Could fall to Giants at seven. Tall corner at 6-1, but there is concern over injuries. Only played eight games last season.
Drake London – Wide receiver, USC. Tall, physical receiver at 6-foot-5. Has ability to make the tough catches in space and in tight coverage. Injury concerns; didn’t run his 40 time at his Pro Day. Not very fast.
Ikem Ekwonu – left tackle – NC State. Could be a wild card early in the draft. If Thibodeaux and Gardner are gone, many think the Jets would pivot and take Ekwonu, since the club seems to be out of love with Mekhi Becton, who has battled injuries and weight problems, and reportedly could move over to right tackle this season.
Evan Neal – Offensive Line, Alabama. Has been pegged at five to the Giants for some time. Big Blue needs help upfront, it has been their biggest issue the past several years. Neal could provide needed help to Andrew Thomas on the left side. Why not get a fellow SEC member in Neal, who at 6-foot-7, 337 lbs. is a beast.
And speaking of the draft, how about this cool moment Giants GM Joe Schoen, Head Coach Brian Daboll and Giants Hall of Famer Eli Manning share with this young man who will announce tonight’s pick!
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