Both the Giants and Jets are coming off disappointing seasons, resulting in an empty-feeling for New York football fans as the NFL playoffs are underway.
At least the Giants (3-13 in 2017) and Jets (5-11) have the second and sixth overall picks respectively to look forward to come April’s 2018 NFL draft. Here are three college prospects each team should consider selecting with their first-round pick.
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
1. An aging Eli Manning was the least of the Giants problems on offense last season. It makes little sense to draft a quarterback here with so many other glaring weaknesses and 2017 third-round pick Davis Webb still deserves his fair shot at being Manning’s successor at QB. It’s been five years since the Giants finished in the top-half of the league in rushing. Adding an elite-level talent at running back such as Barkley could rejuvenate the back-end of Manning’s career.
2. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
New general manager Dave Gettleman must prioritize fixing the Giants offensive line. At six-foot-eight, 315 pounds, McGlinchey is heralded as the best offensive lineman in the draft. McGlinchey would be a candidate to immediately replace 2015 first-round bust Ereck Flowers at left-tackle.
3. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The Cleveland Browns figure to choose between two California quarterbacks — Sam Darnold of USC or UCLA’s Josh Rosen at No. 1 overall. Most mock drafts currently give the edge to Darnold, meaning Rosen could be enticing for Big Blue at No. 2. Drafting Rosen to have him hold the clipboard for a year before Manning is ready to pass the torch isn’t a bad idea.
1. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
With Rosen and Darnold expected to be off the board when the Jets pick at six, Mayfield could be hard to pass up. The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner comes with some maturity issues but on the field he’s a big-armed gunslinger and can make plays with his legs. At six-foot-one, Mayfield has drawn some comparisons to Russell Wilson thanks to his size and dual-threat ability.
2. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Scout’s rave about Allen’s character and maturity, so at six-foot-five he’s a polar opposite quarterback prospect compared to Mayfield. Despite possessing a cannon arm and plus pocket-mobility, Allen completed just 56.2 percent of his passes at Wyoming, leading some evaluators to question whether he’ll develop enough accuracy to thrive in the NFL.
3. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
If Smith chooses to forgo his senior season, the junior inside-linebacker would make for an excellent complement next to Darron Lee on the Jets defense. Smith boasts top-notch speed and power and finished last season with 137 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks for the Bulldogs.