Jets, Giants take necessary risks at NFL Draft

he New York Giants and New York Jets each entered the 2019 NFL Draft with glaring concerns. The teams made their respective selections with confidence over the course of the few days, but it remains to be seen how it will all pan out.

For starters, general manager Mike Maccagnan and the Jets have prided themselves on taking the best player available when presented with options. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the Jets chose to select Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams with the third overall pick. While Williams has the potential to be a devastating presence on the interior of their defensive line, Maccagnan elected to pass up the opportunity to draft at a much-needed position at edge.

Jets fans, though, were likely pleasantly surprised to have been in the position that followed them to the third round. After a rough few weeks of butchering interviews and a lackluster performance at the combine, Florida outside linebacker Jachai Polite began to fall down draft boards. Many believed that he possessed first-round ability yet lacked the mentality of a franchise cornerstone.


Both the New York Jets and Giants took chances on players with question marks in last week’s NFL Draft. Photo via NFL.com

The Jets, however, saw the raw potential in Polite as an edge rusher. After missing out on Anthony Barr this offseason, the team jumped at the opportunity to draft him as a steal in the third round.

Then, albeit not a top name in this year’s draft, the Jets chose to address their offensive line by taking USC tackle Chuma Edoga with their second third-round selection. Edoga was a former teammate of quarterback Sam Darnold and could look to build upon a preexisting trust that the two developed just a few seasons ago.

As for the Giants, their 2019 draft class can be described as controversial to say the least. Fans are still wondering why Dave Gettleman is in the driver’s seat after trading away a generational talent like Odell Beckham Jr. After this year’s draft, he went all out to change the narrative.

The Giants took Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth pick when Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock, who had much better college careers, were still on the board. Whether seen as an agreeable move with it or not, the Giants got their man and did not have to trade up for him.

Part of the Beckham Jr. trade involved New York receiving the 17th overall pick from the Cleveland Browns. Of which, Gettleman and company selected Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence. He may not be the flashiest choice, but Lawrence appears to have the frame and athleticism to become a force on the interior of their defensive line.

Arguably the Giants’ best first round addition came from a pick that was acquired amidst the madness. The Giants traded back into the first round and acquired Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker with the 30th selection. A former Jim Thorpe award winner, Baker could develop into a franchise player and leader for that New York defense.

It remains entirely too early to see if both teams found exactly what they were looking for in this year’s draft. Be that as it may, it is hard to fault either franchise for taking a few risks in hopes of changing the football culture in New York.

Anthony Talarico can be reached at anthony.talarico@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @ant_tal.

Author: Anthony Talarico

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