The Jets and Giants welcomed a new crop of young talent after the NFL Draft, as both teams filled holes in their roster and won widespread praise from experts and insiders.
Led by general manager Joe Douglas, Gang Green came out of the draft with 3 first-round selections, beginning with the #4 overall pick that they used on cornerback Ahmad Gardner out of the University of Cincinnati. The 6’3″ junior figures to bring first-class speed and shut-down skills to MetLife Stadium — where the Jets gave up a league-worst 6,760 yards to opposing offenses last season.
The team then boosted their offense with the 10th overall selection, when they picked Ohio State University wide receiver Garrett Wilson. The 21-year-old should make an immediate impact in the passing game for the Jets, as his lightning fast speed will give him big-play ability from Week 1.
The Jets finished out the first round with Florida State University edge rusher Jermaine Johnson II with the 26th overall selection. At 6’5″ and 254 pounds, Johnson possesses a pro-ready body, which allowed him to rack up 70 tackles and 11.5 sacks last year.
The Giants, meanwhile, headed into the weekend behind newly-hired general manager Joe Schoen with 2 first round picks, and used the 5th overall selection on edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux from the University of Oregon, and the 7th overall selection on right tackle Evan Neal from the University of Alabama.
Thibodeaux will surely be a nightmare for opposing offensive lines, as his elite-level athleticism and great first-step moves saw him get after college quarterbacks with ease — which figures to translate well in the pros.
Neal, meanwhile, will be a huge help for quarterback Daniel Jones. At a whopping 6’8″ and 337 pounds, Neal is a force to be reckoned with, and should allow him to fit in anywhere on the line. Giants quarterbacks were sacked 38 times last season, and, with Jones entering the final year of his rookie contract, the team will need to put him in a better position to win (and stay upright) if they want to truly evaluate the passer going forward.
Both teams made a single selection in the 2nd round, as the Jets picked physical running back Breece Hall from Iowa State at 36th overall, while the G-men selected ball-dominating wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson from the University of Kentucky at 43th overall.
Overall, the Jets used 4 of their 7 total picks on offensive players — Wilson and Hall, along with tight end Jeremy Ruckert (101st overall) and offensive tackle Max Mitchell (111th), while drafting 3 defensmen in Gardner and Johnson, along with edge-rusher Micheal Clemons (117th).
The Giants, on the other hand, had 11 total selections this weekend, which tied them for the most of any team.
Big Blue used 5 picks on offensive players — Neal and Robinson, along with offensive guard Joshua Ezeudu (67th), tight end Daniel Bellinger (112th), and lineman Marcus McKethan (173rd). On the other side of the ball, the team selected Thibodeaux, cornerback Cordale Flott (81st), safety Dane Belton (114th), linebacker Micah McFadden (146th), defensive tackle D.J. Davidson (147th), and linebacker Darrian Beavers (182).
ESPN’s draft expert Mel Keiper listed both the Jets and Giants in the “winners” category of his post-draft analysis — saying that Thursday night was “a huge win for New York.”
Below is a list of each draft selection from both teams from MetLife:
Round 1, #4 overall: Ahmad Gardner (CB, Cincinnati)
Round 1, #10 overall: Garrett Wilson (WR, Ohio State)
Round 1, #26 overall: Jermaine Johnson (EDGE, Florida State)
Round 2, #36 overall: Breece Hall (RB, Iowa State)
Round 3, #101 overall: Jeremy Ruckert (TE, Ohio State)
Round 4, #111 overall: Max Mitchell (OT, Louisiana)
Round 4, #117 overall: Micheal Clemons (EDGE, Texas A&M)
Round 1, #5 overall: Kayvon Thibodeaux (DL, Oregon)
Round 1, #7 overall: Evan Neal (RT, Alabama)
Round 2, #43 overall: Wan’Dale Robinson (WR, Kentucky)
Round 3, #67 overall: Joshua Ezeudu (OG, North Carolina)
Round 3, #81 overall: Cordale Flott (CB, LSU)
Round 4, #112 overall: Daniel Bellinger (TE, San Diego State)
Round 4, #114 overall: Dane Belton (S, Iowa)
Round 5, #146 overall: Micah McFadden (LB, Indiana)
Round 5, #147 overall: D.J. Davidson (DT, Arizona State)
Round 5, #173 overall: Marcus McKethan (OG, North Carolina)
Round 6, #182 overall: Darrian Beavers (LB, Cincinnati)