The 2018 NFL Draft is going to be one more interesting ones in recent years. Especially if you’re a Giants or Jets fan. Both teams will make their top selections in the first half-hour of the show. After the Cleveland Browns stun the world with the first of their top-four picks at No. 1, the Giants and Jets pick in rapid-fire fashion at Nos. 2 and 3.
Who will they take? This is a fairly deep draft at several positions but the one position that has grasped the public’s attention is quarterback, where experts are predicting there could be five or six ‘franchise’ players to be had.
The Giants are pretty much in the driver’s seat at No. 2. They could go in several different directions and come out better than they went in. One question is whether they will go for quality or quantity in this draft. Another question is how many years they feel QB Eli Manning has left and if his backup, Davis Webb, is their QB of the future.
Even with all his candidness, GM Dave Gettleman has not tipped his hand at all. He knows drafting this high is a golden opportunity to start fresh but other temptations linger. Several teams will be offering a nice bounty for that pick and one in particular, Buffalo, is said to be dangling four picks in the first two rounds. But Gettleman is not known for blockbuster, risky deals. I’m predicting he plays it safe and keeps the pick.
Who they’ll take…
If Cleveland takes USC QB Sam Darnold with the first overall pick, I expect the Giants to pass on the other QBs. If they don’t, I see the Giants taking him. Darnold is the perfect choice for them if he’s there. Gettleman will have to take Darnold. If he doesn’t, he will live to regret it.
If Cleveland does the sensible thing and selects Darnold, then Gettleman will have to use his noggin. The five best players in this draft in my opinion are as follows: Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, DE Bradley Chubb of NC State, Notre Dame OL Quentin Nelson, Darnold, and Tremaine Edmunds, a LB out of Virginia Tech.
Barkley is a dynamic weapon, very much in the Ezekiel Elliott-Todd Gurley class and would transform the Giants’ offense. He’s a turnkey solution for sure. Chubb would come in and immediately start on the other side of Olivier Vernon as Jason Pierre-Paul’s replacement. Nelson makes sense because he’s the best lineman in the draft, and as we all know, the Giants’ offensive line has been lees than serviceable the past few seasons. Edmunds would slide right into the Giants’ defense alongside the newly-acquired Alec Ogletree. Linebacker is a position the Giants have practically abandoned the past decade. He would be a welcome addition.
The player that would make the biggest impact, of course, would be Barkley, but Nelson would fill the biggest need. Gettleman has vowed to transform the Giants from the inside out and drafting Nelson would go a long way in doing that.
My Giants’ draft board is as follows: Darnold, Nelson, Barkley, Chubb, Edmunds.
As for the Jets, well they already planted their flag in the sand for this draft. Their trade with Indianapolis to get from No. 6 to No. 3 was all about getting into the QB derby. They have a problem, though. The Browns and Giants could both take QBs ahead of them.
If Cleveland takes Darnold, then the Giants will either pass on a QB or trade with a team that will take a QB. If the Browns take Wyoming’s Josh Allen or Josh Rosen of UCLA, the Giants will take Darnold. Either way, Darnold isn’t heading to Florham Park.
The Jets will be left with either Allen, Rosen or Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma. In my opinion, none of the three are exact fits for the Jets. Allen is still very raw. Rosen has had a history of injuries, including concussions. Mayfield is small in stature and has a swagger that may not fit the Jets’ culture.
But, they will end up with one of them. Keep in mind that whoever they pick is unlikely to play as a rookie. They just re-signed Josh McCown to a one-year deal and also took a flier on Teddy Bridgewater.
Allen has all the tools and under OC Jeremy Bates and alongside McCown, he can mature into a very good NFL passer. He has the arm and can move. He’s not quite Carson Wentz but he could be close enough. I favor him for the Jets. Rosen is a much more ready for the pro game but, like I mentioned, I don’t like his injury history. Yes, he’s been hanging out with Aaron Rodgers but still, the Jets can’t miss on this pick and Rosen has risk.
Mayfield has been compared to Russell Wilson and Doug Flutie. He’s also been compared to Johnny Manziel. Some experts are predicting great things for him while others have stamped him with the caveat emptor label.
Here’s my Jets board: Allen, Mayfield, Rosen. There’s no sense listing anyone else since it’s QB or bust for the Jets in this draft.
If all breaks right, the Giants end up with Darnold and the Jets with Allen. That would be the best outcome for New York football fans on April 26.