Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is already widely predicted to be the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He is considered to be a generational talent and will lift the fortunes of any team that that selects him.
In order for that to happen, that team must land the first pick by virtue of finishing with the worst record in the NFL in 2021. The New York Jets and the New York Giants are both on their way to challenge for that pick after both opened the season with 0-2 records.
According to the official NFL standings, the Giants and Jets may be 0-2 but they are two of the best 0-2 teams in the league (how is that possible?) thanks to the NFL’s sophisticated tiebreaker rules. There are 11 teams with 0-2 records at the moment. The league is ranking the Giants 11th overall in the NFC and the Jets 12th in the AFC.
But based on what we’ve seen thus far, that will change as the year goes on. The Jets are a mess who lost their two best defenders (Jamal Adams to a trade and C.J. Mosley opted out) before the season even started and their running back (Le’Veon Bell) and wide receiver (Jamison Crowder) are injured. They got crushed by San Francisco at MetLife Stadium even with the 49ers losing some of their best players to injury during the game.
It’s hard to see the Jets winning more than 3-4 games and they may not even get there. Head coach Adam Gase is on the verge of losing the team – if he hasn’t already – and Sam Darnold, in year three, hasn’t really shown that he’s the answer at quarterback. With the supporting cast they’ve put around him, that probably won’t happen again this year.
The Giants have been more competitive but 0-2 is 0-2. Now, they face the prospect of playing out the year without their best player, running back Saquon Barkley, who went down with a possible torn ACL on Sunday. The face the 49ers this week and then head to L.A. and Dallas to play the Rams and Cowboys after that. They also have Tampa Bay, Arizona, Baltimore and Seattle on their schedule as well as Dallas again. Let’s not forget the two games against the Eagles, a team the Giants have lost 11 of their last 12 games to, including seven straight.
What would happen of one of these two ended up with the top pick next April? Would they take Lawrence? That’s a tough choice, but consider this. A trade could bring franchise-altering draft picks and players in return. Taking Lawrence could change both teams’ fortunes forever.
The Jets’ GM, Joe Douglas, was not in the role when the Jets selected Darnold with the third overall pick Â in 2018. He’s not married to him. He could take Lawrence and trade Darnold and no one would blink, especially if Darnold doesn’t show any improvement.
The Giants are run by Dave Gettleman – for the moment. The Giants have won just 12 games in the three years since Gettleman took over as GM. They won’t win many again this year and the Giants’ ownership is becoming impatient. They might have a new GM come 2021 and given the choice between Lawrence and the turnover-riddled Daniel Jones, that GM may simply turn the page on Jones.