New York Giants set up for bright future with two first round draft picks

new york giants, iowa, tyler linderbaum

The New York Giants are a bad football team. The Giants are 3-7, just fired their offensive coordinator, and have not sniffed the playoffs since 2016. Thankfully for the Giants, the Chicago Bears are awful, too.

In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Giants traded down in the first round amidst a blockbuster trade with the Bears. The Bears gave the Giants a slew of draft picks (including their 2022 first-round selection) to move up to 11 overall and select Justin Fields.

Most fans recognize that it is time to turn some of their attention toward the draft. The Giants’ possession of the Bears’ first-round pick makes the anticipation for the draft that much more intense. With the Giants at 3-7 and the Bears at 4-7, the likelihood of New York holding two top-ten picks is seemingly high. Holding two first round draft picks sets the Giants up for a bright future (as long as they have a competent general manager to make the selections).

Top targets in the 2022 NFL Draft

Evan Neal

If the Giants want to add a bookend to the other side of their offensive line, they should look no further than Alabama tackle Evan Neal. Granted, Neal could end up being a top-three selection, but if the is on the board for the Giants, pairing Evan Neal with Andrew Thomas would be a home run.

Evan Neal has only given up 3 sacks on over 1,100 career pass-blocking snaps (PFF). Having Evan Neal and Andrew Thomas as the team’s two starting offensive tackles would set the Giants up with a long-term plan on the offensive line.

Aidan Hutchinson

Twitter lit up on Saturday afternoon as Aidan Hutchinson, one of the NFL Draft’s top prospects this year, put together a dominant performance for Michigan. Hutchinson broke a record, recording his 13th sack of the season, which is the most sacks in season by any Michigan defender, ever (PFF).

The Giants have a clear need for a top-end pass-rusher. If they could land Aidan Hutchinson, that need would be more than satisfied. Hutchinson won’t last long, though. At this point, he appears to be a top-five lock. But if the New York Giants are lucky enough to draft Aidan Hutchinson, they would be transforming their defense for a long time.

Tyler Linderbaum

The Giants not only have issues at right tackle, they also have issues along the interior of their offensive line. Tyler Linderbaum is an interior offensive line prospect that has gathered a bunch of attention.

Linderbaum possesses the natural movement skills and functional athleticism to be a high-end starting center in an outside/wide zone Shanahan-style offense. The quickness in which Linderbaum gets out of the blocks is super impressive and you can see his wrestling background shine with his ability to win leverage points and successfully claiming gaps even if he’s leveraged at the snap. – The Draft Network

As the Giants look to replace Jason Garrett and rebuild their offensive scheme, some consideration must be given to the Shanahan-style wide zone offense that has proven to be so successful for many teams. If that is the direction the team decides to go in, then Tyler Linderbaum should be near the top of their list of targets in April.

New York Giants have real chance at landing top-ten pick from Chicago Bears

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are in an exciting and wild position. They currently hold two top-ten picks in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. Yet, the Giants are also only 1.5 games out of a playoff spot. The Chicago Bears lost their fifth game in a row today to the Baltimore Ravens, increasing the probability that the Giants can land a top-ten pick.

The Giants and Bears completed a trade during the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Giants traded down with the Bears so Chicago could draft Justin Fields. Meanwhile, the Giants drafted Kadarius Toney and acquired Chicago’s 2022 first-round draft pick.

If the season ended today, the 3-6 Giants would hold the sixth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Chicago Bears are now 3-7, which would give the Giants the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Many optimistic Giants fans believe their team still has a chance of making the playoffs. The Giants got off to a slow start this year but have picked up some wins in recent weeks to give their fanbase some hope and keep the team in the hunt. Regardless of where the Giants finish the year, they still have a real chance of landing a top-ten pick in the draft, thanks to the Chicago Bears.

The Chicago Bears draft pick

The Chicago Bears are on a five game losing streak with a 3-7 record. They have their easiest matchup of the season coming up this Thursday. On Thanksgiving, the Bears will face the 0-9-1 Detroit Lions. This could be the bounce back game for the Bears. Yet, it could also be the nail in the coffin if Detroit is able to earn its first win of the season.

The Detroit Lions are a winnable game for the Bears. However, every game after this week is going to be a tough matchup for Chicago:

  • Week 12: Detroit Lions (0-9-1)
  • Week 13: Arizona Cardinals (8-2)
  • Week 14: Green Bay Packers (8-3)
  • Week 15: Minnesota Vikings (5-5)
  • Week 16: Seattle Seahawks (3-6) *Russell Wilson back and healthy
  • Week 17: New York Giants (3-6)
  • Week 18: Minnesota Vikings (5-5)

The Bears will have to play three four divisional matchups in their final seven games. They will also have to face two of the current top-three seeded teams in the NFC. Additionally, the 3-6 Seahawks have just gotten Russell Wilson back from injury. These are all going to be difficult games for the 3-7 Chicago Bears.

The New York Giants will go into their Week 17 matchup against Chicago hoping to bury their opponent a tad deeper and gain a greater draft pick in April. Considering the rest of the Bears’ schedule, there seems to be a real chance that the Giants are going to be picking in the top ten next offseason.

New York Giants would have two top-ten draft picks if the season ended today

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are 3-6 and currently in the middle of their Week 10 BYE Week. At 3-6, the Giants are making a push back into the playoff race. It may be a long shot, however, New York does have a chance to slip in if they can string together some late-season wins. The Chicago Bears are also 3-6. This is important to note as the Giants hold the Bears’ first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

In the 2021 NFL Draft, the New York Giants traded down with the Chicago Bears in the first round. The Bears landed their next franchise quarterback, Justin Fields, while the Giants landed an electric playmaker in Kadarius Toney.

To acquire Justin Fields, the Bears swapped first-round picks with the Giants and also traded away their fifth-round pick in 2021, as well as their first and fourth-round picks in the 2022 draft. This future first-round pick will give the Giants two first-round picks in next year’s draft and an opportunity to rebuild their team with two top-tier draft prospects.

The Giants could land two top-ten picks

While the Giants are looking to make a late playoff push, they are currently 3-6 and likely to end the year with disappointment. The same can be said, however, for the Chicago Bears.

If the season ended today, both the Giants and the Bears’ draft position would fall inside the top ten. The Giants’ pick is eighth overall and the Bears’ pick (which the Giants own) is ninth overall. If the season ended today, New York would own two top-ten picks.

Landing two top-ten picks in this year’s draft would be huge for the Giants. The 2022 NFL Draft class is expected to feature a load of offensive line talent. The Giants have a clear need for offensive linemen and with two first-round picks in April, this could be the year that New York’s biggest issue is finally fixed. Players like Evan Neal (OT, Alabama) and Tyler Linderbaum (iOL, Iowa) come to mind. The Giants are in a position to land a pair of top prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.

New York Jets: A mock draft for the bye week

New York Jets

How has the New York Jets’ performance over the first five weeks affected a fateful draft? ESM investigates.

Football fans and analysts alike will find any excuse to make a mock draft, no matter how soon or how far away the legitimate selection meeting is. With the New York Jets having reach their league-mandated open date, now might be one of the few times an in-season mock draft will hit the spot for both casual and die-hard observers alike.

Using the draft board determined by Tankathon, as dictated by the standings entering Week 6 action, ESM unveils a fall mock draft with a special focus on the Jets’ hypothetical selections…

4th overall: RT Evan Neal, Alabama

Joe Douglas’ offensive line revolution has produced mixed results from an inconsistent veteran class (Connor McGovern, George Fant, Greg Van Roten) and rookie arrivals full of promise (Mekhi Becton, Alijah Vera-Tucker).

The pre-bye slate has made it clear that the wall in front of Zach Wilson (sacked 18 times so far) isn’t complete. A combination of a surprisingly stout defense and medical developments abroad allows the Jets to continue construction to continue. Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton has been a popular projection to the Jets’ first slot, especially with so much uncertainty surrounding Marcus Maye. But the uncertain future ahead of Jeff Okudah and his ruptured Achillies may have Detroit (current holders of the No. 2 pick that yielded Wilson last spring) looking into his services.

While the Jets seem to be set on Wilson’s blind side through the first-round selections Becton and Vera-Tucker, drafting the massive Neal (6 feet 7 inches, 360 lbs.) would help fortify the right side. Morgan Moses has held down the fort well but is signed to only a one-year deal. Adding a homegrown talent on the right side for the long-term would welcome in the next step of the offense’s maturity. Already ranking as one of the top blockers in the class of 2022 (a battle staged with fellow SEC rep Kenyon Green and Iowa interior man Tyler Linderbaum), Neal has united size with strong athetlicism in Tuscaloosa. Such nimbleness should help him quickly adjust to the NFL game.

12th overall (from Seattle): EDGE Drake Jackson, USC

The Seahawks’ surprisingly slow start has afforded the Jets two picks among the first dozen after the first five weeks. Time will tell if the final yield from the Jamal Adams trade remains this high, but such a posting in the early going affords the Jets an opportunity to address needs on both sides of the ball. They took care of the Great Wall of Wilson at No. 4, so which defensive area should be addressed eight picks later?

The early stages of this season has revealed the defensive identity the Jets are hoping to create: one that makes quarterbacks uncomfortable and invades backfields. Such a cause could’ve been delayed by the loss of Carl Lawson, but several names have stepped up in his absence. Nothing has driven the point home better than the shiny, new, expensive contract extension bestowed to John Franklin-Myers. With some pleasant surprises peppered in the secondary (i.e. Bryce Hall, Michael Carter II, Brandin Echols), they can continue bolstering the front seven.

Drafting a USC pass rusher could conjured some sour green memories: the last such Trojan to be drafted in the first round is 2015 arrival Leonard Williams. He’s still in New York, albeit in blue rather than green. Jackson is powerful enough to risk re-opening those wounds as one of the most versatile edge men in the class. His strength and speed (boasting a 4.5 40-time) make him an attractive option, as does his ability to cover receivers in the slot.

The Full First Round

1. JacksonvilleEDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
2. DetroitS Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
3. HoustonQB Malik Willis, Liberty
4. JETST Evan Neal, Alabama
5. Philadelphia (from MIA)CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
6. Philadelpha (from IND)G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
7. NY GiantsIOL Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
8. PhiladelphiaLB Christian Harris, Alabama
9. AtlantaQB Matt Corral, Mississippi
10. New EnglandCB Kaiir Elam, Florida
11. Miami (from SF)T Sean Rhyan, UCLA
12. JETSEDGE Drake Jackson, USC
13. WashingtonQB Sam Howell, North Carolina
14. MinnesotaEDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
15. PittsburghCB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
16. Kansas CityEDGE Geroge Karlaftis, Purdue
17. CincinnatiT Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State
18. New OrleansWR Chris Olave, Ohio State
19. TennesseeTE Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M
20. DenverEDGE Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati
21. CarolinaS Jordan Battle, Alabama
22. NY Giants (from CHI)EDGE Zach Harrison, Ohio State
23. ClevelandDT DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M
24. Detroit (from LAR)WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
25. Las VegasCB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati
26. BuffaloRB Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M
27. Tampa BayEDGE Adam Anderson, Georgia
28. Green BayWR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
29. LA ChargersG Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State
30. DallasS Brandon Joseph, Northwestern
31. BaltimoreT Rasheed Walker, Penn State
32. ArizonaT Zion Nelson, Miami (FL)

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: The case for (and against) Julio Jones

New York Giants, Julio Jones

Accoladed receiver Julio Jones wants out of Atlanta; should the New York Jets inquire for his services? ESM investigates…

Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones is ready to recolor his wings. A shade of green could well be in the cards.

Jones declared he was “out of” Atlanta during a candid, impromptu phone call shared by Fox Sports host Shannon Sharpe during Monday’s edition of Undisputed on FS1. There’s been no confirmation over whether Jones knew he was on air but, in perhaps an attempt to interrupt the rare lull on the NFL calendar, hypothetical trades involving the fantasy football godsend have resurfaced. Jones

The accoladed receiver’s de facto trade request serves to end his decade-long tenure in Atlanta. Several teams will undoubtedly embark on a full assault for his services and the crowded resume that comes with it.

Should the New York Jets be among them? ESM investigates…

For: Fantasy Football

Jones has been a staple of the early portions of fantasy football drafts for years. When’s the last time Jets fans were able to choose their favorite players with legitimate dreams of a fantasy title in mind. The last realistic options were probably Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker prior to the star-crossed 2015 campaign.

Now, the Jets shouldn’t base their entire lineup around who wins fantasy football championships; if that were the case, they might as well made a move for Derek Carr. But the fact they haven’t had any fantasy stars in recent years is rather telling about where they are as a franchise. Where are the reliable big play targets? Who does the rookie quarterback turn to in the clutch? Who will teams double cover on the last drive of the game?

This offseason, the Jets used the free agency process to stock up on weaponry for the new franchise quarterback, who turned out to be Zach Wilson. The current depth chart-toppers (Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, Keelan Cole, and rookie Elijah Moore) are undoubtedly upgrades from last season, but they have yet to prove themselves as consistent, reliable top options. Bringing in Jones would make him one of the Jets’ top playmakers of the past decade, and he might not even have to play a single down to prove that. Plus, the confidence Wilson would have with Jones there to greet him could prove invaluable not only in 2021 but for years to come.

Against: Julio’s Woes

The sophomoric nature of the internet and social media have perhaps made the Jets unwilling to take risks or make high-profile moves. Any move they make is going to be accompanied by satirical scrutiny that’s threatens everything they’re trying to work with in the latest stage of their perpetual rebuild.

Jones, through almost entirely no fault of his own, is going to bring some baggage with him. He’s no doubt keen to stick it to a Falcons that has apparently given up on him, and the Jets do have a high-profile matchup with the Dirty Birds that apparently did him dirty (Atlanta will “host” the Jets in London in October). Jones is also trying to emerge from one of the NFL’s most unfair stigmas: returning from an injury. Hamstring issues limited him to nine games in 2020, but he still managed to tally a respectable 771 yards.

These factors make Jones a perfect candidate, perhaps even the favorite, for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award. Alas, that’s a quest the Jets truly can’t concern themselves with at this point. They have their own comeback/redemption story to write. It’s part of the reason Sam Darnold was let go. Sure, it was entirely possible that a green-clad Darnold could’ve benefitted from the coaching staff shake-up, but the Jets were at a point where they couldn’t base their immediate future on that “if”. The same could apply to Jones and his current endeavors.

For: They Can Help

Coming off three straight losing seasons (including a brutal 4-12 campaign that cost long-tenured Dan Quinn his job), the Falcons need a de facto bailout. As it stands, they’re currently of three teams with under $1 million in cap space (joining Chicago and New Orleans). Even so, they’re obviously going to want a decent return if they’re sending away one of the most prolific names in team history. Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports projects that any potential suitor would have to send at least a second-round pick.

The Jets have expendable assets to help the Falcons out. They own five picks in the first three rounds of next spring’s draft and could even include someone like Crowder (who becomes over $10 million in cap savings upon his departure). If the Falcons are going to trade Jones, something has to capture their fancy, make the deal truly worth their while. The Jets are one of the rare teams with both present and future assets Atlanta potentially covets.

Against: Anything But One Move Away

The Jets have improved by leaps and bounds this offseason, if only because there was little room to plummet further after 2020. Even so, making the playoffs is still going to be a tough ask. They’re trapped in a division with the defending AFC finalists and the other sections are packed with established contenders.

There’s no doubt that Jones can carry the load of a top receiver on a contender. He’s been part of a fairly consistent Atlanta team, but his prescience alone isn’t enough to secure a playoff berth. If he’s serious about moving, he’s likely going to choose a more established destination, not one where a majority of the starting lineup is undergoing a makeover.

Additionally, whoever trades for Jones is going to literally pay a hefty price. His 2021 cap hit exceeds $23 million, with $15 million guaranteed (per Over The Cap). The Jets are one of 11 teams that can handle Jones’ guaranteed salary with their current cap space, but there are other needs that need to be fulfilled before Week 1 kicks off. They’re in desperate need of a backup quarterback (preferably one that can double as a mentor for Wilson) and could certainly use another upgrade in their blocking and secondary areas. Jones, a 32-year-old due over $37 million over the next three seasons, is a luxurious acquisition that doesn’t fit the Jets’ current landscape.

The Verdict: Stay the Course 

If this was a year or two into the Robert Saleh era, adding Jones would be a lot more feasible. There would be time to showcase what Saleh and his staff are building, a few contests to develop momentum in what the Jets hope is their last extensive renovation for a long time.

Recent history suggests that maybe the Jets would be a bit better off in bypassing redemption-seeking superstars, at least for the time being. New York is still picking at the wounds left behind in the wake of the Le’Veon Bell era. The ghost of Bell shouldn’t haunt the Jets forever, but things are still a bit too fresh to justify and work through the growing pains of a superstar seeking to prove to himself and the football world that he’s still capable of an NFL workload.

If the Jets were on the cusp of the contention red zone, they would be right to go all out. But, right now, they’ve picked up a few first downs, but probably haven’t even reached midfield in the stadium of NFL fortune. If they were closer to the Super Bowl, investing a substantial sum into a 32-year-old receiver…one who has taken quite the pen to the NFL record books…would be a relative risk worth taking. But when progress would be possibly defined as an appearance in the “In the Hunt” column seen on the networks’ playoff charts come the holidays, adding Jones is not something you can do and would be an endeavor that would merely leave everyone bitter.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags