2018 NFL Draft preview: Likely top options for Giants and Jets

Thursday is poised to be one of the most important days of the next decade for both New York football …

Thursday is poised to be one of the most important days of the next decade for both New York football teams, and neither one is playing a down.

The Giants and Jets hold the Nos. 2 and 3 overall picks, respectively, in the 2018 NFL Draft, which begins at 8 p.m. with the Cleveland Browns selecting first in Dallas. After Round 1, the draft resumes Friday night with the next two rounds before completing the final four through Saturday.

While Big Blue finished with the league’s second-worst mark (3-13) to earn their draft slot, Gang Green (5-11) moved up three spots and sent the Indianapolis Colts several draft picks this year and next. Most pundits and reports point to a handful of players in play for each time, with some overlap.

Here’s a look at the prospects most likely to be on the Giants’ and Jets’ radar Thursday.

Sam Darnold

It’s widely believed the USC quarterback will go Cleveland to kick off the night. If not, it’s almost a certainty he’ll be playing his home games at MetLife Stadium going forward.

Darnold is widely believed to be the only passer the Giants would select at No. 2, and he would become the heir apparent to Eli Manning. If he slips past the G-Men, it would be a stunner if the Jets don’t snatch him up.

Saquon Barkley

Almost assuredly, the Browns will take one of the top four quarterbacks with the top pick. However, it’s not out of the question for them to take the Penn State running back first and use the No. 4 pick they also own on a passer.

But, more likely, Barkley becomes the elite every-down back the Giants have lacked since Tiki Barber retired after the 2006 season. Don’t expect the Jets to be as interested; they’re all but assured to pick a QB.

Josh Rosen

The Giants are widely expected to take either Darnold or Barkley, so these last three quarterbacks would only be in play locally for the Jets.

Rosen, a 6-4 UCLA junior, has absorbed criticism of his leadership style. However, he was a fairly accurate passer with good mechanics.

Baker Mayfield

Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner out of Oklahoma, is the most accomplished of the top four QBs after leading the Sooners to the College Football Playoff semifinals. He’s also brash on the field, a trait that likely endeared him to Jets legend Joe Namath in glowing comments to ESPN earlier this week.

Josh Allen

The Wyoming product has polarized observers. Some rave about the 6-5 redshirt junior’s potential, while others are critical of his accuracy issues playing against nonpower conference opposition. Recent media speculation indicates he won’t be coming to New York.

Giants’ draft needs

Running back

Right tackle



Edge rusher

Jets’ draft needs


Offensive line

Edge rusher

Wide receiver

Tight end

Scott Fontana