NFL DRAFT GUIDE: Another year of high picks for the Giants and Jets
News 12's Pat O'Keefe is breaking down what to expect from the Giants and Jets when the NFL Draft kicks off tonight. The 2021 NFL Draft has a seemingly generational talent at the top in quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, followed by a bunch of quarterbacks who other franchises hope will be transformational players. The top two picks seem to be set. Beyond that, things will get interesting. Here are a few pressing questions.
Are the Giants in an advantageous spot at No. 11?
I think they are because of the number of quarterbacks/offensive skill players who appear to be ticketed for top 10 picks. Let’s assume that 4 QBs (Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, Josh Fields or Trey Lance), plus WR Ja’Marr Chase, TE Kyle Pitts and OT Penei Sewell all get picked in the top 10. That would mean at least one of the following would still be on the board when the Giants are on the clock: Alabama WRs Devonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle, Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater or South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn.
I think the Giants need to go offense, specifically a wide receiver. This is a make or break year for Daniel Jones. Dave Gettleman needs to give him every opportunity to succeed.
The Jets are drafting their franchise QB in the top 3. Has anything changed since 2018?
From a talent standpoint, not really. That's what's so frustrating for Jets fans. They picked their franchise quarterback three years ago, and all they have to show for it since are 15 wins, 33 losses and a roster that is still bereft of talent. So can Zach Wilson fare better than Sam Darnold? He can if the infrastructure is better. So far, so good with what we've seen from Robert Saleh; although he hasn't coached a game yet, and he was bound to look promising after replacing Adam Gase. Joe Douglas' first draft was promising, especially Mekhi Becton and Denzel Mims (if they can stay healthy). Each of them will be crucial to Wilson's development.
Which team, not in position to select a first-round quarterback, is most in need of one?
New England Patriots. One Super Bowl championship is not going to convince me that Tom Brady was more important to the Patriots dynasty than Bill Belichick. But round one certainly went to Brady. Belichick cannot go into round two with a QB depth chart that looks like: Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham and Jake Dolegala. At No. 15, the Pats should be ready to pounce if Justin Fields or Trey Lance falls to them, however unlikely that may be. Worst case, 15 is not too far to move up for a New England team that has 10 picks in the draft, including three in the first 96 selections.
Is there another team that can take advantage of the expected run on QBs/offensive skill players at the top of the draft?
There are two, and they both play in the NFC East – the Cowboys at No. 10 and the Eagles at No. 12. Both teams are set at QB with Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts, respectively. Hurts, a second-round pick last year, might already be better thanvDaniel Jones, the sixth pick in 2019. Both Dallas and Philadelphia need defensive help. Look for them to target CBs Jaycee Horn (South Carolina) and Patrick Surtain II (Alabama) or Penn State LB Micah Parsons. Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater could also help either team if he's still on the board.