The New York Giants hold the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. With free agency just about over, the Giants spent a lot of money but did not fill every hole. New York did secure an inside linebacker, Blake Martinez, however, he still will not thrive in the pass-coverage role that the Giants desperately need to fill. This makes Isaiah Simmons still a suitable option at fourth overall.
But the Giants did not sign a bonafide-starter at the offensive tackle position either. Cameron Fleming was signed by New York with hopes of starting at right tackle opposite of Nate Solder, but that could change in next month’s draft, too.
The option for an offensive tackle or a linebacker (Isaiah Simmons) with the fourth overall pick is still there. Dave Gettleman and company will have a tough decision to make: take the best player available in Isaiah Simmons and change the face of your defense? Or address a major position of need with a stud offensive tackle prospect?
First-Round Offensive Tackle Draft Success
In the last three years, eight offensive tackles have been drafted in the first round:
Ryan Ramczyk- 2019 First-Team All-Pro.
Garrett Bolles- Has not missed a game, good PFF grade (75.9 overall).
Isaiah Wynn- Missed 24 out of 32 games with injuries.
Kolton Miller- Has not missed a game, average PFF grade (65.0 overall).
Mike McGlinchey- Played in 28 of 32 games, integral to San Francisco’s dominant offensive line.
Kaleb McGary- Has not missed a game, 13 sacks allowed, poor PFF grade (53.0 overall).
Tytus Howard- Missed 8 games in rookie season with an injury.
Andre Dillard- Played 4 games, sat behind Jason Peters. Expected to start in 2020.
Jonah Williams- Missed entire rookie season with an injury.
First-round offensive tackles are volatile. Many of them miss significant time with injuries or struggle to play at a high level early on in their careers. Drafting an offensive tackle is a long-term upgrade. But it does not necessarily improve your team right away. Drafting an inside linebacker in the first round, however, has proven to have an instant impact.
First-Round Inside Linebacker Draft Success
In the last three years, nine inside linebackers have been selected in the first round:
Reuben Foster- Career derailed by suspensions and injuries.
Jarrad Davis- Has played in 41 of 48 games, poor PFF grade (40.4 overall), and 15.3% and 13.7% missed tackle rates.
Haason Reddick- Started 20 of 48 games, poor PFF grade (40.1 overall), 12.1% and 12.6% missed tackle rates.
Rashaan Evans- Started 23 of 31 games played in, missed 1 game, recorded 11 combined tackles on 16 starts in 2019 with a 13.3% missed tackle rate and a poor PFF grade (49.8 overall).
Leighton Vander Esch- 2018 Second-Team All-Pro with 140 tackles and 6.7% missed tackle rate, missed 7 games with injury in 2019.
Tremaine Edmunds- Played 31 of 32 games, 115+ tackles both seasons, 9.4% missed tackle rate in 2019.
Roquan Smith- Missed 4 games in 2019 with injury, still managed 101 tackles with a 3.8% missed tackle rate.
Devin Bush- Started 15 games as a rookie, 109 combined tackles with 11.4% missed tackle rate, and average PFF grade (62.9 overall).
Devin White- Played in and started 13 games as a rookie, 91 combined tackles with 11.7% missed tackle rate poor, PFF grade (50.6 overall), and led the NFL in fumble return yards and touchdowns (121 yards, 2 touchdowns on 3 forced fumbles and 4 fumble recoveries).
Despite mostly poor Pro Football Focus grades at the position, the inside linebackers have been impactful in their first seasons. Many of them totaled over 100 tackles in more than one season and many played in the majority of their team’s games as starters on the defense.
If the Giants do decide to draft Isaiah Simmons, they will be getting the best and most versatile inside linebacker prospect of the last four years. He will have an instant impact on the team and significantly boost the defense’s talent level. However, drafting an offensive tackle is a long-term selection with an impact that might be more valuable but take longer to arrive.
Shoutout to @BigBlueUnited on Twitter for inspiring this article.
There’s been a lot of speculation, especially over the last few days, about when the MLB will return and what the season will be like. Here’s what we have heard so far, but nothing, of course, is official.
It sounds like the MLB is shooting for a return in June at some point. Medical officials and researchers believe that COVID-19 will likely peak in a month, so by June, the virus will be on a downward trend.
Once the season starts, the league will be aiming at playing 100 games, running well into October. The league will be trying to schedule weekly doubleheaders to try and get in as many games as possible. That would mean that teams would need a six-man starting rotation.
For the postseason, the league may expand the format to include a few more teams. That way, they can give more contending teams a chance if they haven’t fully peaked yet. Also, this could help teams and networks make up for lost revenue.
Now, the end of the postseason would likely run into late November, when the weather becomes a factor. The league will probably either schedule the World Series at a neutral site or have a site ready if the weather suddenly turns bad. For example, if the Yankees and the Dodgers play in the World Series and a blizzard is expected in New York, they would play the entire series neutrally. Sites like Marlins Park and Globe Life Field have come up as potential hosting sites.
There doesn’t seem to be many rumors though about how the league will condense the schedule. My guess is that they would eliminate one home and one away series for teams against division opponents, play non-division league teams just once and play only a few interleague series.
Keep following Empire Sports Media for updates as the league releases schedule news.
Because of concerns regarding the coronavirus and its impact on the society, MLB took a similar approach to that of MLS, NBA, NHL, NCAA, and lots of top soccer leagues around the world and suspended its operations for the time being. Major League Baseball won’t play any official games until, at least, late May, and June (and even July) are more likely scenarios. That’s why the New York Mets won’t be on the field today on what would have been opening day.
It’s clear that, when play resumes, the Mets would need to figure out some roster-related scenarios and situations. Yes, they lost Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery and the pitching side of things got a little trickier after that news, at least the starting rotation. However, the teams looks loaded offensively.
Loaded in every sense of the word: quality and quantity. Each position is well-covered by a quality offensive option. Wilson Ramos will be the New York Mets’ starting catcher, and word is that he worked to add more loft to his swing during the offseason. Pete Alonso will occupy first base, and he is fresh off knocking 53 balls out of the park in 2019.
Robinson Cano and Amed Rosario will start at second base and shortstop, respectively. One is a veteran and the other one an ascending young player, but they have something in common: their 2019 stat lines left something to be desired. We know that both can be better this time around.
The Mets have lots of moving parts
Jeff McNeil will take most reps at third base, and Jed Lowrie should (although it’s not a given) be healthy come June or July. Michael Conforto had a lat strain a few weeks ago but should be ready to return to right field duties when play starts, whenever that is. Brandon Nimmo and Jake Marisnick will share center field.
The Mets, however, have a couple of options in left field. Yoenis Cespedes and J.D. Davis are both deserving of regular playing time if they are both healthy. If that’s the case – and the extra time off is extremely beneficial to Cespedes, as he has several more weeks to get himself in top shape after multiple heel and ankle surgeries – who should accumulate the majority of at-bats there?
Davis broke out in a big way last season. He had a 136 wRC+ and batted .307/.369/.527 with 22 home runs. He carried the New York Mets for a spell, and his potent bat outweights his lousy defense.
Cespedes, meanwhile, hasn’t played since July 2018, but when healthy, he is one of the league’s premier sluggers. He had 31 blasts and 86 RBI in 2016, his last fully healthy year. He carried the Mets to the 2015 World Series. Cespedes is a difference-maker in the lineup.
Who should start, then? For now, it is safe to say that if both are healthy, they are going with some kind of split. Davis can play some third base innings when Robinson Cano rests and Jeff McNeil slides over the keystone. Meanwhile, Cespedes could DH in interleague play, and he can rest when Davis plays so he can be relatively fresh. If Conforto needs a day off, one of them could slide to right, as well. There are workarounds to the situation.
All we know for sure is that in Cespedes and Davis, the Mets have to formidable sluggers. Let’s see how things play out. There has to be a season first, really.
The New York Giants aren’t done making moves yet, as they signed former second-round pick in 2016, Austin Johnson, to a contract on Thursday.
Johnson has played the last four seasons with the Tennessee Titans, meaning he knows what it’s like to be on a quality unit with a great defensive coach.
The former Penn State player has familiarity with Sean Spencer (current NYG defensive line coach), who coached him during a productive bout at the University. This is a solid depth add with no big-money tied up, so they can depend on a player with experience and familiarity with the coaching staff in 2020.
“There’s a lot of versatility on the DL with him,” Titans GM Jon Robinson said of Johnson during the 2016 draft, which NJ.com Matt Lombardo dug up. “He’s a great trait guy and has some quickness. He can win on third down situations.”
Johnson posted depth numbers in 2019, earning 23 combined tackles, one tackle for a loss and one QB hit. Starting in only one game, Johnson will help supplement the loss of Olsen Pierre as an option in the interior. At 6-4, 314-pounds, Austin is a big-body they can throw into the trenches to hold his own. He’s by no means a starting-caliber player.
Baseball’s opening day has sadly gone by the wayside, but, hopefully, these New York Jets gems at least partially soothes the ache.
Opening day festivities in baseball were, alas, not to be. America’s Pastime’s national holiday was given the worst kind of rain delay, indefinitely put on hold until the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled.
We here at ESM’s New York Jets department sympathize with our Yankee/Met brothers and sisters. To help with the baseball blues, we present the Jets’ finest “Opening Day”…or, in this case, Week 1, memories….
1960: Titanic Conquest
The New York Jets’ franchise wasn’t always one of doom and gloom. In fact, their tenure began on the highest of notes, crushing their new American Football League brethren, the Buffalo Bills, by a 27-3 final under their New York Titans moniker at the Polo Grounds.
Buffalo took an early 3-0 lead, but the Titans stormed back with 27 unanswered. Two scores came from the feet of quarterback Al Dorow, while Dick Jamieson found Art Powell for the first aerial score in team history. On defense, the Jets let up only 113 yards and just five combined completions between a pair of Buffalo throwers.
1991: Defensive Struggle, or Anything But
The defensive struggle is a dying art in today’s NFL, but the Jets have managed to come out on the right side of some good ones. One such tilt was their 1991 opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where both Ken O’Brien and Vinny Testaverde had trouble gaining traction. Pat Leahy was the Jets’ biggest contributor on the scoreboard, compiling 10 of the team’s 16 points on the afternoon. His boots, including the de facto game-winner in the penultimate minute, allowed Leahy to move up to sixth on the NFL’s all-time scoring list.
1994: The Bill Stops Here
By 1994, the Bills had been to four consecutive Super Bowls but came up short each time. Some felt a fifth time would finally be the charm, but the Jets hastened the decline of Buffalo at the onset of the 1994 season.
The Pete Carroll era began at Rich Stadium, where the Jets stunned the home crowd with a one-sided 23-3 victory. A pair of second-quarter rushing touchdowns from Richie Anderson and Johnny Johnson erased an early Buffalo lead, while Nick Lowry held off any resistance with three field goals. Jim Kelly was brought down four times on the afternoon, twice by Marvin Washington. The Jets had lost 12 of their prior 13 matchups with the mighty Bills, but the 1994 opener paved the way for a sweep, their first in the series since 1986.
1997: Neil the Power
The Jets were in desperate need of good vibes in August 1997. They had gone 4-28 in Rich Kotite’s disastrous two years at the helm and nursing a streak of eight seasons without a winning record. Former New York football hero Bill Parcells was brought in to drag the team out of dire straights. For at least one weekend, happy times were finally green again.
Visiting Seattle’s Kingdome, the Jets demolished the Seahawks in a 41-3 shellacking. The cause was led by Neil O’Donnell’s career day, as the costly veteran put up a career-high five touchdowns. Wayne Chrebet and Jeff Graham each earned a pair of that tally, while Kyle Brady added the outlier. Defensive, the Jets harassed Seattle tandem John Friesz and Warren Moon, allowing them only 168 yards on 17 completions combined.
2000: Oh, Groh Up
The Jets got the new century off to a good start, as the Jets battled their future single-season thrower Brett Favre in a thriller at Lambeau Field. Despite the defense’s best efforts in holding an injured Favre in check (14-of-34, 152 yards, one touchdown), the Green Bay Packers kept pace with the Jets, even holding a 16-13 lead in the latter stages of the fourth quarter.
After a Ryan Longwell field goal broke a 13-13 deadlock, the Jets got a major boost via a 61-yard connection between Testaverde and Dedric Ward that situated them three yards away from the end zone. It took three downs to pull off the final three, but Testaverde eventually found Curtis Martin for a three-yard score that gave the Jets what they needed. It the final touches on a 144-total yard, two-touchdown performance that got the 2000s rolling. Favre, true to form, nearly pulled off a gunslinging, game-winning drive, but a potential long touchdown pass to Bill Schroeder instead landed in the arms of New York cornerback Victor Green.
2002: Buffalo Thrills
The Jets opened the 2002 season against a familiar foe in unusual colors: Drew Bledsoe. Tom Brady’s emergence the year prior put Bledsoe in a Buffalo Bills uniform, and his first game was a back and forth thriller against the Jets. Buffalo jumped out to an early 10-0 lead, but the Jets moseyed on back into the game with Chad Morton’s 98-yard touchdown. Despite major problems in the run game (Travis Henry torched the Jets for 149 yards and three scores and Curtis Martin left the game with an injury), the Jets kept pace with Buffalo and took a 31-24 lead via a Wayne Chrebet touchdown pass. Bledsoe, however, forced overtime with a scoring strike to Eric Moulds with 26 seconds to go in regulation.
Morton’s special team heroics, however, created the shortest overtime in NFL history. The veteran returned needed only 14 seconds to go 96 yards, allowing the Jets to escape Orchard Park with a 37-31 win.
2009: Making His Mark
A star was born in 2009, but Lady Gaga was nowhere to be found.
That’s what the cover of the New York Daily News declared after Mark Sanchez earned a victory in his first start, completing 18-of-31 passes for 272 yards and a touchdown in Gang Green’s 24-7 win over the Houston Texans. His first touchdown pass was a 30-yard strike to Chansi Stuckey in the second quarter. Sanchez got the credit, but the defense might’ve been the real heroes at Reliant Stadium. Defenders held the Texans to 183 yards and 11 first downs in triumph, allowing no points as Houston’s only score came on a fumble return for a touchdown.
The 2011 campaign began on an emotional note, as the NFL’s opening weekend coincided with the 10th anniversary of September 11’s tragic events. Many prominent names who helped the country recover were in attendance, including first-responders from the NYPD and FDNY. Former US President George W. Bush helped oversee the opening coin flip.
On the field, the game situated the Ryan brothers, with Rex coaching the Jets and Rob manning the Cowboys’ defense. Dallas led 24-10 at the onset of the fourth quarter, but the Jets inched back into the game with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to Plaxico Burress. The Jets failed to capitalize on a Tony Romo fumble forced by Mike Devito, but eventually tied the game when Isaiah Trufant took a punt blocked by Joe McKnight back for a score. Dallas’ would-be game-winning drive stalled when Darrelle Revis intercepted a pass intended for Dez Bryant. Former Cowboy Nick Folk put the finishing touches on a moving, booting a 50-yard field goal in the final minute to secure a 27-24 win.
We’re used to seeing someone with the shortened name of “L. David” make bumbling mistakes on Sundays thanks to Curb Your Enthusiasm. This time, however, an HBO subscription wasn’t necessary.
Geno Smith’s Jets debut was a sloppy back-and-forth tilt with the Buccaneers. Smith managed the game well enough to earn the Jets a 15-14 lead in the latter stages of the fourth quarter. However, a 37-yard hookup between Josh Freeman and Vincent Jackson inside the two-minute warning situated the Buccaneers in Rian Lindell’s field goal range, putting them up 17-15 with 34 seconds to go. With 15 seconds to go and the Jets approaching midfield, Smith successfully scurried out of bounds to preserve what little time was left. However, he gained some assistance from Tampa linebacker Lavonte David, whose late hit on Smith earned the Jets 15 free yards. That allowed Folk to drill the winner from 48-yards out, giving New York an 18-17 win.
2018: Hey, Darnold!
Sam Darnold’s precise Jets debut drew the tired chorus of “same old Jets” at Ford Field. His first NFL play ended in a touchdown, albeit in the most horrifying way possible. An interception to Quandre Diggs went back 37 yards for an early Detroit Lions lead. Fortunately for the Jets, Darnold would make up for it with a 41-yard score to Robby Anderson, part of a back-and-forth barrage that situated the game at a 17-17 standstill early in the third quarter.
New York took over from there on out, causing ED-209 levels of damage to the Lions’ defense in the form of 31 unanswered points. Darnold contributed to the cause with the first part of the carnage, a 21-yard strike to Quincy Enunwa that gave the Jets the lead for good. Notably, Jamal Adams earned his first NFL interception, while Darron Lee took another Matthew Stafford miscue back 36 yards for a touchdown, one of two “receptions” for Lee on the evening.
We are currently a little nostalgic, since today, Thursday, March 26th, was supposed to be opening day in Major League Baseball. However, due to ongoing concerns about the quick spread of the COVID-19, MLB and other professional sports, leagues and circuits decided to push back their seasons to avoid public gatherings and other risk factors. The New York Mets, therefore, aren’t playing today and won’t do it until late May at the earliest.
The Mets’ first baseman and reigning Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso is certainly keeping himself busy during the off time. Recently, he teamed up with manager Luis Rojas to give a long time fan a huge surprise, and now, he is doing his best to bring a little cheer into doctors working tirelessly to help combat coronavirus in the tri-state area.
“I just want to say thank you so much for all the time and effort that you’re putting into this, and thank you on behalf of everybody, because you’re a part of a bigger picture trying to help prevent this disease,” Alonso said in the video. “Thank you for keeping everybody safe, and providing protection for everybody here on the front lines, working on the prevention of this thing.”
Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has killed thousands of people around the world, and the United States are one of the most affected countries. The doctors’ role in preventing and treating the disease has been truly invaluable.
Alonso wants to give recognition to those who have been battling on the front lines during the pandemic.
The first baseman was one of the best Mets’ players in 2019, his debut season. He hit 53 home runs and had a team-leading 143 wRC+.
“I don’t want to be just a good baseball player,” Alonso said last summer. “I want to be a good person, too.”
MLB and the Players’ Association are negotiating several aspects of the season. There is no set date for baseball to start, but we do know that it won’t be until June or July, which would result in a shortened schedule that will affect teams and players, including several members of the New York Mets.
It appears that players will be recognized a year of service time despite the shortened season and no matter how many games the schedule has. It would mean that, if there is no baseball played this year, those Mets’ slated to be free agents this fall/winter will hit the open market having already played their last game in uniform.
Such is the case of, for example, Marcus Stroman. The right-hander, who came from the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade last season, is in his third and final year of salary arbitration, which means that 2020 will be his final year with the Mets unless the two sides agree to a deal down the road. If coronavirus keeps lurking around and there is no season in 2020, Stroman will enter free agency.
Other Mets’ free agents
A similar case happens with Rick Porcello, Jed Lowrie, Michael Wacha, Justin Wilson, Jake Marisnick and Yoenis Cespedes. If there is no season, they will all enter free agency, just like that. In the specific cases of Porcello, Wacha and Marisnick, they would test the open market without playing a single game for the New York Mets.
Among players in this situation are Mookie Betts, the former AL MVP who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Trevor Bauer, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, George Springer and JT Realmuto, plus several others.
A report of the Associated Press states that service time “affects a player’s status for free agency, salary arbitration and the pension plan.” The likely service time agreement was first reported by The Athletic.
Opening day was supposed to be today but has been pushed back to mid-May at the earliest due to the new coronavirus outbreak. A full service year usually is 172 days, and the season was set to be 186 days long. If the proposed deal comes into fruition, no matter how many games are played this season, a player on the active roster or injured list for the entire season would receive a full season of service.
The New York Mets continue to trim their big league roster as they send down a couple of bullpen arms with major league experience. Paul Sewald and Daniel Zamora will both be members of the Syracuse Mets whenever baseball finally resumes.
Paul Sewald and Daniel Zamora have been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse after successful Spring Trainings.
Zamora pitched very well in the Spring. Over five innings he only allowed one run, three hits, walked one and struck out eight batters. Always known as a left-handed specialist, he showed the ability to retire right-handed hitters as well. The only lefty in the Mets bullpen is Justin Wilson which makes Zamora the next man up if they need to replace him.
Sewald Out of Options
Sewald’s demotion marks the last time they can send him down without putting him through waivers. He also impressed in the Spring through his 5.1 innings pitched. He did not walk a single batter, allowed three hits, one run and struck out five. Sewald has always shown glimpses of dominance but he has never been able to consistently pitch well for a long period of time. As one of the most experienced relievers in the bullpen, he should see more big league time in 2020.
Last year both would have been guaranteed to make the big league roster but the Mets revamped it to gain more experience from their relievers. Having Zamora and Sewald should give the team confidence in their depth, should the have to deal with injuries.
While the globe deals with a pandemic and continues to shut down entire cities, states, and countries, many are looking for positive reinforcement in these difficult times. Sports are often an outlet for the negatives in society, but this time around, even they have been affected significantly. The New York Yankees are trying their best to remain hopeful and spirited while we collectively deal with the quarantine and nation-wide shutdown.
I love Mike Tauchman’s clip — sitting dog-side (quarantine buddy, Dakota). He looks awful cold, wrapped him in gear, weathering out the storm (pun intended).
Giancarlo Stanton is perennially wearing a tank-top or extremely tight shirt to emphasize his physique. Maybe he should let his muscles breathe a bit, so they don’t tense up and result in strains (total reach, but I have no other explanation).
Then you have Tyler Wade, who, in my mind, lives in the clubhouse and may actually be homeless. This is more attests to his work-ethic than actually having a home if you didn’t get the joke. Wade is one of the few Yankees left in Tampa working out informally and practicing social distancing.
Miggy gets on screen, happy as can be — I have never actually seen him look upset. He has two gears — happy and serious. He advises everyone to stay at home, “please.” He’s right; we can get through these times quicker if we all take things seriously!
Wow, Luis Severino looks like he aged 40 years in two weeks. That Tommy John surgery must have done a number on his telomeres.
Kyle Higashioka breaks out the tunes to lighten the mood. I feel like Higgy is one of those guys who has 100 useless talents but can entertain people for hours. Still love the guy and rooting for him this season!
All of the players express their gratitude to the health care workers fighting on the front lines. Thank you to all of you, brave professionals risking your health every day to stop the spread!
The New York Giants have plenty of time to sign interior defensive lineman Leonard Williams to an extension. General manager Dave Gettleman placed the franchise tag on Williams almost two weeks ago, which will count $16.126 million against the salary cap. That is a lot of money for Williams, who was anticipated to earn somewhere in the $10-12 million range per season.
While there is no rush for Williams to sign an extension with the Giants or stay on the franchise tag, the team has until July 15 to officially make a decision on his future. Signing the tag too early takes leverage away from the player, which can hurt their stock and chances at an extension. The consensus is that Williams will re-sign with the Giants on a multi-year deal for a lower per-year hit but high guarantees, based on the contracts the Giants have handed out this offseason.
Williams has been a controversial topic among Giants fans in recent months after Gettleman traded a third and fifth-round pick to the New York Jets in exchange for the defensive tackle. In 2019, Williams started in five games for Big Blue, earning 26 combine tackles, 11 quarterback hits, 0.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. His statistical output doesn’t scream efficiency, but he played well against the run and did generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
What does Leanord Williams bring to the New York Giants?
Williams was double-teamed on 64% of defensive snaps last season, proving that he does draw more attention away from offensive lineman and coordinators. The hope is that he can be a foundational player for the Giants on defense, especially in stopping the run, where Gettleman and new head coach Joe Judge are focused.
Currently, the defensive line features Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Dexter Lawrence. The three big men are all capable of putting together solid performances and can develop into one of the better front three units in the league.
However, the biggest concern at this point is Williams not being signed to a contract extension and rescinded off the franchise tag. Subtracting Leonard’s $16 million off the salary cap is essential moving forward, as it would allow them to re-sign a player like Markus Golden or another quality pass rusher.
That is a significant solicitude, as the Giants currently feature Kyler Fackrell, Lorenzo Carter, and Oshane Ximines at the outside linebacker position. Scheming a pass rush is not an ideal situation for defensive coordinator Patrick Graham in 2020. Retaining Golden or bringing in an alternative should be a priority in the coming weeks.