NFL Draft Review: New York Giants and New York Jets
Reading Time: 8 minutes
The NFL Draft can have many unpredictable outcomes: teams can make horrible picks and fans scream at their general managers or teams can make great picks and fans can’t stop raving about how many future Hall of Famers have just been drafted. This year, the NFL held an unprecedented virtual draft due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, no pandemic can beat the sheer love Americans have for football. In a time of uncertainty and apprehension, the 2020 NFL Draft provided a much-needed distraction.
NEW YORK GIANTS
New York Giants fans have had a rough couple of years, from drafting a player whose only skill is drawing holding penalties (that’s right, Ereck Flowers) to another player who loves racking up pass interference penalties (you guessed it—Eli Apple). But then the Giants hired Dave Gettleman as the new general manager and have not looked back since. He won the hearts of many fans by drafting the elusive running back Saquon Barkley, and earned the trust of the Giants’ community when controversial pick Daniel Jones turned out to be a pretty good decision. Gettleman made another great decision by picking Danny Dimes, who proved to be a pivotal franchise quarterback. So who else is joining the squad?
Player: Andrew Thomas
College: University of Georgia
Position: Offensive Tackle
Giants fans—did we expect anything but to draft the only player we didn’t expect to draft? Some fans are fuming under the impression that the Giants have drafted yet another bust. But when you take a closer look at Thomas, you will realize that he is a stud athlete. Thomas is technically sound, moves his feet well, and boasts an impressive arm length just over 36 inches, one of the longest in the Draft. In addition, this player—or should I say giant—stands at 6’5” and 320 lbs. Gritty and hard working, Thomas is a determined player who will give his all on the field. He will be a powerful weapon for the Giants, as he can protect Daniel Jones’s blind side and create huge holes for Saquon Barkley. Overall, Thomas was a great pick.
Player: Xavier McKinney
College: University of Alabama
Giants fans—if you weren’t happy with this pick, you must not watch football! McKinney was not expected to fall to the second round, and even though the Giants were prepared to trade down, according to Gettleman, “we had made up our mind that if Xavier fell to us, we were taking him.’’ He is simply the best safety in his class. Furthermore, he is extremely versatile: he can play slot cornerback near the line of scrimmage or deep safety. Gettleman hit it out of the park with this one.
Player: Matt Peart
College: University of Connecticut
Position: Offensive Tackle
Gettleman made his intentions clear with this pick: to build this team prioritizing the offensive line. Peart is a physical player; he towers the field at 6’7” and has good athleticism. However, he still needs to work on some skills in order to succeed in the NFL, which means he may not start on opening day. While he is quick off the snap, he needs to improve his hand usage and strength in order to contend with top divisional edge rushers, such as Demarcus Lawrence and fellow draftee Chase Young. Despite this, Peart and Thomas make up the future of the offensive line.
Player: Darnay Holmes
Position: Slot Cornerback
Holmes has the potential to be a very good slot cornerback as an incredible athlete with incredible play recognition. He is also able to return kicks, a position the Giants haven’t had recently. Despite this, he needs to work on turning his head toward the ball when it is in the air. Furthermore, he lacks the ability to open up his hips to keep up with a vertical receiver running a deep route. Under the guidance of the impressive Giants coaching staff, however, Holmes will surely be able to hone in on these skills and make his mark on the league.
Player: Shane Lemieux
College: University of Oregon
Position: Interior Offensive Lineman
If you had any doubts about Gettleman’s promise to draft some “hog mollies” for the offensive line, this pick should have put those doubts to rest. Lemieux is a versatile interior lineman who can play both the guard and center positions. Be on the lookout for his possible transition to a center for the Giants.
NEW YORK JETS
JETS! JETS! JETS! Other than being notorious for playing mediocre football, the New York Jets have also made a name for themselves for having the most passionate and critical fans in the league. From booed draft picks to absolute chaos at stadiums and football venues, the Jets franchise has had a hard time building a team that can satisfy their fans’ hunger for talented athletes, big plays, and wins. So which players are joining them this year?
Player: Mekhi Becton
College: University of Louisville
Position: Offensive Tackle
As expected, the Jets took Becton with the team’s first pick, a franchise left tackle who will be in charge of protecting star quarterback Sam Darnold and improving last season’s 28th-ranked offensive line. Towering at 6’7” and weighing over 360 lbs, Becton is sure to manhandle anyone who tries to rush him. Moreover, Becton’s astounding 5.1 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine demonstrates his unique ability to move to the second level when run blocking. Despite his special size and athleticism, questions loom around his endurance and agility when defending speed rushes. Otherwise, this was a great pick by the Jets.
Player: Denzel Mims
College: Baylor University
Position: Wide Receiver
This was another great pick by the Jets and a steal in the second round by some accounts. Standing tall at 6’3” with nine-inch hands, Mims fills the big-time role of a receiver in an offense that severely lacks star pass-catchers. His large frame contributed greatly to his college production, and it will be one of his greatest assets as he transitions into his professional career. Mims’s 4.38 second 40-yard dash distinguishes him as an outside receiver with huge potential in the red zone, especially with jump ball catches. However, his elementary abilities to run routes and release from contact consistently limit him from being a strong run-after-catch type of receiver. Nonetheless, Mims has high potential to go very far.
Player: Ashtyn Davis
College: UC Berkeley
Davis is a latecomer to football, first starting out as a star track runner specializing in the 110-meter hurdles. He then joined Berkeley’s football team as a defensive back. His college production came as a special teamer, where he was honored as the team’s MVP his first two years. He then played safety his junior year, displaying an impressive level of toughness when tackling and high motor skills on the field. One concern with Davis’s style of play is that he lacks awareness and recognition when guarding receivers, which can be attributed to his inexperience with the game. If he spends a few years playing behind the more experienced all-pro safety Jamal Adams, Davis will be able to develop into an extremely versatile player.
Player: Jabari Zuniga
College: University of Florida
Position: Defensive End
The Jets are shooting in the dark with this pick. Zuniga is an incredibly bold and explosive athlete, but he lacks consistency. His college career was defined by great production, most notably exemplified by the fact that in just four years, his statistics included 33 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks. However, due to persisting ankle injuries during his senior season, he was limited to only playing half of the season. His physicality will be his strength as the Jets work to develop him into a potential starter in the next couple of years.
Player: La’mical Perine
College: University of Florida
Position: Running Back
Though Perine is 5’11” and weighs 216 lbs, his bruising running style and consistent receiving ability make up for his average build. While he doesn’t have the top speed needed to outrun defenders on the outside, his short-field bursts allow him to bounce into holes and wide-open field spaces. His play-making ability could seriously take some of the pressure and workload off of presumptive starter Bell, making them a great pairing.
Player: James Morgan
College: Florida International University
Um…what? This is one of the first confusing picks the Jets made this draft. The team already has Darnold established as the starting quarterback, which leaves Morgan as the definite backup quarterback. But using a pick this late into the draft on an unnecessary position while other parts of the team are still in dire need of talent seems to be a reckless decision by the front office. This position could have also been filled by players with NFL experience through free agency. Morgan had good production in college as a pure pocket passer with a rocket arm. However, his unusual throwing motion causes him to lean on his back foot and hold the ball at a low level, which often delays his release, causing him to make inaccurate throws. He also hasn’t played against top college athletes, which raises the question of whether he has the ability to compete with professionals.
Player: Cameron Clark
College: UNC Charlotte
Position: Offensive Tackle
Clark is a solid, safe pick by the Jets, who could potentially get a lot of value from him. Clark possesses great intangibles as a player. For example, he was elected twice as the captain of his college team, and he puts in a tremendous amount of effort on and off the field. Though he is not regarded as highly as first-round selection Becton, Clark has a powerful punch and aggressively mauls people until the whistle is blown. However, he lacks lateral quickness and consistent technique, which could hurt his run game ability. Despite this, Clark possesses great qualities overall that will enable him to develop into a backup tackle for Becton or, if needed, transition into an interior lineman.
Player: Bryce Hall
College: University of Virginia
Hall, a large, lanky player with great instincts, serves as a much-needed cornerback for the Jets. Hall fits well into a zone scheme that allows him to see the development of plays, and he can jump passes with a great burst. However, he lacks consistency in man-to-man coverage and tackling. Lastly, he lost the back half of his senior season to an ankle injury, raising concerns regarding his health and reliability. Despite these drawbacks, Hall has the athletic ability to become a solid starter for the Jets.
Player: Braden Mann
College: Texas A&M University
Punters are important players, too! Mann has a leg like no other and fills an underrated role in pinning opposing offenses deep into their respective territories. Mann was honored as the top punter in the country during his final season at Texas A&M, kicking an astounding 51 yards per punt. Mann also has a special tackling ability when covering punts and kickoffs, an impressive skill aided by his unexpectedly impressive 4.83 second 40-yard dash. Mann will be crucial in setting the defense in a good field position, and he is set to be with the team for a long time.