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Giants, Jets can fill needs in upcoming NFL draft
Most years, NFL fans would be gearing up this week for the NFL draft, which usually begins on the final Thursday of April. A scheduling conflict with annual host venue Radio City Music Hall forced the NFL to push the date back two weeks this year, and now it will take place May 8-10. Consider this a friendly reminder for those whose body clocks are telling them to seek out mock drafts this week.
But, while on the subject on the draft, here's a look at what positions the Giants and Jets may want to address, now that most of the work in free agency has been done, as well as a few unsigned options left to sift through.
Current draft slots: Round 1 (No. 12 overall), Round 2 (No. 43), Round 3 (No. 74), Round 4 (No. 113), Round 5 (Nos. 152, 174), Round 6 (No. 187)
Recently signed Kellen Davis is likely the most talented tight end on the roster. He was the Bears' starting tight end in 2011 and 2012, but mostly was a reserve for the champion Seahawks last season. The Giants could use a third- or fourth-round pick on C.J. Fiedorowicz out of Iowa, who can catch and block. If not, former Packer Jermichael Finley remains available in free agency.
If they want to bolster their weakest spot on the offensive line, the Giants should look no further than UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo. He plays with an edge that will endear him to fans and could still be around at the 43rd pick. However, Chris Snee won't be playing forever and finished 2013 on the injured reserve, so now would be the time to prepare for the future, especially with few viable free agent options left.
It has been 30 years since the Giants took a linebacker in the first round, and that brought two-time Super Bowl champion Carl Banks into the fold. Perhaps a more draft-slot-appropriate choice than Su'a-Filo in Round 1 would be C.J. Mosley from Alabama. Mosley could contribute right away alongside Jon Beason. If he isn't selected, perhaps the Giants could reacquire Dan Connor for depth.
Current draft slots: Round 1 (No. 18), Round 2 (No. 49), Round 3 (No. 80), Round 4 (Nos. 104, 115, 137), Round 5 (No. 154), Round 6 (Nos. 195, 209, 210, 213), Round 7 (No. 233)
This seems like the wisest choice to make in Round 1, given how deep this class is. They should have their pick of LSU's Odell Beckham Jr., Oregon State's Brandin Cooks and USC's Marquis Lee. Any of them should be better than Stephen Hill the moment they arrive and could make for a great counterpart to Eric Decker during the next few years. However, if they don't pick a wideout first, they might as well stick with what they have for 2014.
Dee Milliner was the team's top pick a year ago, and he's the No. 1 corner now by default. Because available free agents Terrell Thomas and Drayton Florence should be considered stopgaps, the Jets might want to draft this position in Round 2. Utah product Keith McGill is a big corner (6-foot-3, 211 pounds) and would likely would be around at pick No. 49.
If the Jets shy away from cornerback in Round 2, they could still bolster the secondary by selecting Jimmie Ward of Northern Illinois. While not the biggest at his position, Ward has good coverage skills and could make Milliner's job easier. Former Jets Yeremiah Bell and Jim Leonhard are on the free-agent market, but they're probably no better than Dawan Landry or Antonio Allen at this point.