Why the New York Jets must draft offensively at No. 23

New York Jets

It’s a foregone conclusion that the New York Jets will draft a quarterback at No. 2. But what will they do with their latter Thursday choice?

If this is the most pressing of problems the New York Jets have for the remainder of 2021, they’ll be one of the most, if not the most, blessed teams in all of professional sports.

The Jets have a welcome dilemma when the first round of the NFL Draft is held in Cleveland on April 29 (8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN/NFL Network). They’re one of a handful of teams with multiple first round picks, first choosing in the second slot before reaping the fruits of the Jamal Adams trade at 23rd overall. Though the second pick is more than likely spoken for…barring a jaw-dropping pre-draft surprise, the Jets will undoubtedly be taking a quarterback…there’s a major decision to be made in the latter station, a place where this draft’s predictability should be long gone.

When you’re a team like the Jets…coming off a two-win season, one even more brutal than this star-crossed franchise’s usual standards…

 Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Make the quarterback as comfortable as possible

When it comes to the second overall pick, the Jets have answered the question of what. Unless they plan on starting James Morgan, their 2020 fourth-round choice who has yet to wear an NFL game jersey, they’re drafting a non-Trevor Lawrence quarterback, be it Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, or an unknown third party.

Whoever it is, he’s going to need help, whether it’s through protection or weaponry (more on each of those in a minute). One of the things that doomed Sam Darnold’s New York career was the lack of stability on his end of the ball. By the time his third season began, no receivers from his rookie season (with the exception of tight end Chris Herndon) remained on the New York roster and his starting offensive line was completely different from even the year prior. The Jets need homegrown talent to help their new, young franchise man get used to the NFL game in a hurry.

The draft is also a more attractive option for the Jets to find offensive help because their last few big-ticket offensive arrivals from elsewhere (i.e. Le’Veon Bell) haven’t worked out. If they can build through the draft…and there’s a prime opportunity with 21 picks over the next two years…they can lay a foundation and rebuild a winning culture.

 Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Big plays are here again

So the Jets need offense, but that decision begets a decision: should they take a box score contributor or build the wall in front of Wilson/Fields/Other?

In the case of the former, it’s been a while since the Jets have had a truly explosive offense. It’s only been five seasons since Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker put up dueling 1,000-yard tallies during the bittersweet 2015 campaign, but that might as well be an eternity in football years. Making matters worse is that the Jets made little effort to keep Robby Anderson, the closest thing they had to a consistent playmaker. He posted career-best number in Carolina last season and now reunites with Darnold.

The Jets have assembled a decent core of veterans with Corey Davis and Keelan Cole joining the fray alongside incumbent slot man Jamison Crowder and sophomore Denzel Mims. But while drafting Mekhi Becton was a move no one could truly quarrel with, the Jets passed on name-brand receiving talent like Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and future All-Pro Justin Jefferson. This supposed sin can be rectified at No. 23, where names like Rashod Batman, Kadarius Toney, Terrace Marshall, and Tutu Atwell should all be available. Sure, the receiving class is deep enough that the Jets could find a receiver at No. 34…the second pick in Friday’s drawings…but the lack of offensive firepower has reached crisis levels in New York. Over the past five seasons, have the Jets have reached the four-touchdown/extra point plateau in 16 games, a mark besting only four teams (Chicago, Washington, Denver, and the Jets’ blue roommates in East Rutherford). That lack of production is ridiculously unsustainable in today’s NFL, and it shows: that group, including the Jets, has failed to win a playoff game over the last half-decade.

Many have theorized that the Jets could take a running back in the slot, but the Jets have resolved that issue, if only temporarily, through an affordable one-year deal with Tevin Coleman and a trio of young projects (La’mical Perine, Ty Johnson, Josh Adams). Besides, the recent first-round running back crop…especially when it gets to the later stages has shown it’s not worth it, at least not for their needs. It’d be great to bring in a, say, Rashaad Penny (drafted 27th by Seattle in 2018), but they can’t afford to use a first-round pick on a reliable spell option with a first-round pick. If they do address rushing, a power option like Rhamondre Stevenson could be a valuable latter-day steal.

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton
Credit: Joe McManus

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General manager Joe Douglas has had a small habit of having his football cake and eating it too, even if the dessert isn’t fully baked yet. When he took Becton with his first draft pick last season, he filled the big-play receiving potential slot with Mims, a Big 12 star from Matt Rhule’s Baylor Bears.

This offseason, Douglas has noticeably improved the team’s offensive chances through skilled talents that should at least keep fantasy football players’ eyes on Jets games (Davis, Coleman, Cole). He addressed the defense as well through 4-3 talents that will fit the preferred scheme of Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich. But the Jets remain understaffed on their blocking despite Douglas opening his checkbook for Connor McGovern, George Fant, and Greg Van Roten. Their quarterbacks were still on the run and little has been done to rectify that this offseason. Dan Feeney is high in personality but low on analytical rankings. Corey Levin hasn’t partaken in a regular season game since 2018.

Thus, it might help to continue building their fortress around the new thrower and improved rushing attack. Blocking draftees rarely send the draft parties into a frenzy…legendary blocker D’Brickashaw Ferguson was booed by a fanbase lusting after Matt Leinart…but no one’s complaining when the quarterback has time and the rushers have room to move.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: 2 round mock draft – trading back to secure the haul

New York Giants, Rashod Bateman

If the New York Giants can get creative in the 2021 NFL draft, they can walk away with several premium draft selections and upgrades at multiple spots of weakness. Of course, injecting an offensive playmaker into a unit that ranked 31st in scoring last year is essential, but their defense could also use a bit of support.

In this mock draft, we execute a trade back with the New England Patriots, assuming there is a quarterback on the board they are keen on acquiring, and considering they are only four spots back from the Giants, it is not a crazy leap to make.

1st round: 11th overall pick/76th pick TRADED to NE for 15th overall and 47th overall pick 

Per Drafttek, here are the pick values:

NYG 11th: 1,250

NYG 76th: 210

=1,460

NE 15th: 1,050

NE 47th: 430

=1,480

Equal to a FAIR trade.

15th pick selection: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman has been climbing the draft board recently, and for good reason. He is considered one of the best route runners in the 2021 NFL draft class and represents a potential WR1 for the Giants at the NFL level.

In 2019, Bateman posted 1219 yards and 11 scores, adding 20.3 yards per reception to his totals. He’s not only a vertical threat, given his strong release package and ability to run slant routes in the short/intermediate range. He finds gaps in coverage and has reliable hands as a three-year starter for the Golden Gophers.

Landing Bateman here would be a fantastic selection, as he is a top-four receiver and would likely be a top 10 prospect if he featured in the SEC.

43rd pick selection: Wyatt Davis, Ohio State

The Giants managed to retain their 43rd overall pick in the draft scenario, and they find an immediate starting guard in Wyatt Davis. Davis is considered an immediate starter at right guard, but the Giants could do something a bit different with his talents.

If they elect to extend Kevin Zeitler one or two more years, they can lower his cap hit for the 2020 season and potentially trade him for draft capital next year.

In this scenario, Davis is plugged in at left guard, and if he progresses nicely, they can keep Zeitler on a minimal cap hit, but if he struggles, they can always move him back to the right side and trade Zeitler for draft capital. This is a win/win scenario and creates more competition at LG with Shane Lemieux and Will Hernandez looking to gain ground.

47th pick selection: Joseph Ossai, Texas

The Giants might have their pick of the second-round pass rushers at 47, with Penn State Jayson Oweh and Joseph Ossai from Texas available.

Ossai is an intriguing prospect, and I believe the Giants will favor him at outside linebacker. He’s a bit smaller than Oweh, but Ossai is capable of dropping back into coverage and filling specific spots, which is something that coordinated Patrick Graham likes to do. Ossai is a multiple player, with his ability to put his hand in the dirt and perform as a 5 technique defender.

The Texas standout is known for being clutch and coming up in big moments, and with an unstoppable motor, he reminds me a bit of JPP. He has incredibly strong hands and is quick off the LOS. He is a prospect with incredible upside, and at just 21 years old, his potential could be immense.

Some analysts believe Oweh is the better prospect and could be a 10+ sack pass rusher at the NFL level, but I love Ossai‘s story and his desire to fight for everything in life. He will commit 100% and give you everything on the field, and I like players who have a chip on their shoulder.

Joseph and his family were selected in the lottery pool for visas to the United States when he was nine years old, and after experiencing bullying in school and overcoming many challenges in his life, he does not want to let an opportunity like this pass him by. He’s one of those players I simply have a good feeling about, and his talents back up the that gut feeling.

New York Giants could target Rashod Bateman in trade-back scenario

New York Giants, Rashod Bateman

The New York Giants need to allocate resources toward the wide receiver position, and looking toward the 2021 NFL draft could be the perfect move. Of course, free agency offers several options with upside, including Corey Davis, Curtis Samuel, and even Kenny Golladay of the Detroit Lions elect to tag and trade him.

The draft, however, is where the Giants can find a young player who fits their scheme and could also blossom into a WR1. With that being said, the Giants have been connected to players like Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, and even TE Kyle Pitts.

There is one wide receiver in the draft that is going under the radar, and his name is Rashod Bateman of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Bateman spent three years in Minnesota, developing in their program and refining his skills. He’s one of the best route runners in this wide receiver draft class but posted only 472 yards and two scores last year before opting out after five games.

In 2019, though, he earned 1219 yards and 11 scores, showcasing his ability to push the field vertically and create separation from corners. He averaged a marvelous 20.3 yards per reception, indicating he was a downfield threat as well as an intermediate weapon.

Bateman isn’t projected to have elite speed at the next level, but he did post a 4.39 40 yard dash at his Pro Fay. Of course, it is fair to take that with a grain of salt, given the people timing him.

Nonetheless, Rashod is quickly climbing the draft board, and the Giants could be in a position to trade back and potentially snag him while adding more capital to their equation. Currently, the Giants don’t have a fifth-round pick, as they traded it away when GM Dave Gettleman acquired Leonard Williams from the New York Jets.

By trading back, not only do they return some of that lost capital, but they also have the opportunity to land potentially the best receiver in the draft class.

Again, Bateman’s fundamentals and refined route running makes him a fantastic prospect with upside. Based on his size and tangible traits, if the Giants add a gadget player like Curtis Samuel with Bateman on the outside, they would have a solid one-two punch.

Factor in Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton and this unit could be categorized as “underrated.”

New York Giants could reap great benefits by trading down in first round of 2021 NFL Draft

New York Giants, Rashod Bateman

The New York Giants are entering a crucial offseason. In 2020, the Giants averaged only 17.5 points per game on offense. This ineptitude was unacceptable and the Giants have promised to correct the issue. This offseason, the Giants are making it a priority to upgrade their offense.

There are plenty of wide receivers that the Giants will look to sign in free agency. Exciting options in this year’s free agency class includes Kenny Golladay, Curtis Samuel, Allen Robinson, and Corey Davis. Looking further down the road to the NFL Draft, there are even more exciting prospects for the Giants to consider.

Many Giants fans are hoping to see one of the top three wide receiver prospects, Devonta Smith, JaMarr Chase, or Jaylen Waddle fall to them at eleven overall. However, there are plenty of other intriguing options for the Giants if those prospects do not fall into New York’s lap. Trading down is a strong option for the Giants that could reap great benefits in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Benefits of a New York Giants trade down scenario

If the Giants are trying to land a wide receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft, they do not need to take one with the eleventh overall pick. There are numerous exciting wide receiver prospects for the Giants to target in a trade down scenario. The top wide receiver prospect to target in a trade down would be Minnesota’s, Rashod Bateman. But even looking past Bateman there are receiver prospects worth selecting with a mid-twenties draft pick.

Other options include Terrace Marshall out of LSU, Kadarius Toney from Florida, and Rondale Moore of Purdue. These are all talented wide receivers that could make an instant impact for the Giants if they drafted them at the back end of the first round. However, the true benefits that the Giants would find in a trade down scenario come in the middle rounds of the draft.

Ideally, if the Giants traded down from eleven to a pick near twenty overall, they would also receive a third-round pick in return. New York could try to push for a second-round pick in this trade scenario, but likely a third and a potential fifth or sixth-round pick would be the return that the Giants yield.

These middle and late-round picks would give the Giants flexibility and allow them to fill needs within their roster. The draft, at the end of the day, is a crapshoot. The more picks that the Giants possess, the higher the probability is that they land a gem and hit a home run on a draft selection.

For the Giants in 2021, a late-round draft pick could steal yield the elite playmaker that they are searching for. Landing that playmaker in round one while adding additional mid-round picks should make a trade down scenario very intriguing.

Should the New York Giants double dip at wide receiver in free agency and the draft?

New York Giants, Kenny Golladay

The New York Giants are in need of offensive reinforcements. General manager Dave Gettleman and co-owner John Mara promised fans that they would fix the offense this offseason. Finding weapons for Daniel Jones is going to be a top priority for the Giants and their front office.

Fortunately, there will be a boat load off offensive talent available this offseason. In free agency there will be numerous top-tier wide receivers that could hit the open market. This year’s NFL Draft class is also loaded with wide receiver and tight end talent. The Gaints have no excuses. They will have every opportunity to find an offensive playmaker this offseason, and they better take advantage.

Many fans and analysts are predicting that the Giants will sign a big-name wide receiver in free agency, like Kenny Golladay. This opens things up for the Giants and their draft strategy. Landing a playmaker in free agency would allow the Giants to focus on different positions, maybe even on defense, in the first round of the NFL Draft.

But what if the Giants did not alter their draft strategy in such a way? What if the Giants went best player available at eleven overall, whether that is an offensive playmaker or not? Well, the best player could potentially be one of the draft’s top wide receiver talents, such as Devonta Smith, JaMarr Chase, or Jaylen Waddle. The Giants could potentially double dip at the wide receiver position in the NFL Draft after signing a wide receiver in free agency.

Who could the Giants sign in free agency?

It seems like a very likely scenario for the Giants to land wide receiver Kenny Golladay in free agency. The only thing that could potentially stop Golladay from hitting the open market is if the Lions use their franchise tag on him. Golladay has already declined a lucrative contract offer from Detroit.

If Kenny Golladay hits the free agent market, the Giants should make signing him a top priority. The Giants had interest in trading for Kenny Golladay back in October. They inquired but no deal was made. Now, the impending free agency could be the Giants’ top target in free agency, and many analysts believe he will be. Many analysts are predicting that the Giants will, in fact, sign Kenny Golladay.

But even if New York does not land Kenny Golladay, there are other great wide receivers they could pursue. Names like Cory Davis and Curtis Samuel stand out as slightly cheaper options with different playing styles. Still, these players could be huge additions in the Giants’ pitiful, 17.5 points per game offense.

Double dipping in the draft

Assuming the Giants accomplish their mission and land a wide receiver in free agency, the likely next step would be to address a different position in the draft. But New York could go a different route and completely overhaul their offense. The Giants could double dip at the wide receiver position in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, depending on how the board shapes out.

If a player like Jaylen Waddle or Devonta Smith were on the board at eleven, those would be premiere offensive talents, extremely difficult to pass up on. Regardless of who the Giants sign in free agency, they should strongly consider drafting one of these top wide receiver talents if they have the chance to.

A wide receiver corpse featuring Kenny Golladay, Jaylen Waddle, and Sterling Shepard would be dominant. The more playmakers the better for Daniel Jones entering his third season.

Kenny Golladay is an elite wide receiver that could go for one thousand receiving yards and make plays at every level of the field. Jaylen Waddle has a ceiling so high no one can see it and could be a game-changing playmaker to stretch the field for the Giants’ offense. Sterling Shepard, now a savvy veteran, would be that underneath option to get open and make scrappy plays. The Giants cannot forget about Darius Slayton as well, who, in this scenario, would be an incredible fourth receiving option.

Throw this group of playmakers in alongside Saquon Barkley and the Giants’ offense could go from worst to first in a year. Sure, drafting a stud cornerback or edge rusher would be beneficial for the Giants’ defense in round one, especially if they sign a wide receiver in free agency. But if the Giants are going “best player available,” they cannot pass up on one of the top three wide receiver talents in this year’s draft. The Giants’ offense could receive a massive overhaul and turn things around in one short offseason.

New York Giants could target stud wide receiver in trade-back scenario

New York Giants, Rashod Bateman

While New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has never traded back in the NFL draft, 2021 could offer him a chance to change the pattern. Gettleman usually falls in love with a prospect and sticks to his guns, but acquiring more draft capital and assets is never a bad move. Since Gettleman gave away a 3rd and 5th round pick for Leonard Williams just over a year ago, adding a few more picks to this upcoming draft could be beneficial.

The Giants do have several holes on the roster, notably at CB2, OLB, and on the offensive line. Mid round picks are perfect for plugging weak positions, and the Giants could consider this ideology in the draft.

The New York Giants still have a big weakness on offense:

One other significant weakness remains at wide receiver, and with a deep class this year, it shouldn’t be a problem finding a talented option in the first or second round. In this trade-back scenario, the Giants are looking to settle with a team in the 20s.

With the expectation that Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle,  DeVonta Smith, and even Kyle Pitts could be off the board by 11, trading to a QB-needy team would be a great way to improve their draft stock.

Let’s say the Giants moved back to the mid-20s and acquired another second-round pick, as teams looking for quarterbacks are always willing to give a bit more capital to land their guy. This would put the Giants in a good spot to target a player like Rashod Bateman, out of Minnesota.

At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Bateman projects as a starting NFL receiver who has dominated over the past three years with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. This past year, he played in just five games, totaling 472 yards and two touchdowns. Flashback to 2019, and he recorded 1219 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Bateman is capable of being a fantastic vertical threat and has a solid blend of route running, ball-skills, and toughness. He is a fantastic receiver off the line of scrimmage, with a variety of releases and the ability to create separation without elite speed. The Giants don’t really have an elite speed receiver, as Darius Slayton faltered in 2020 after having a successful rookie campaign two years ago. Bateman won’t offer the offensive that elite playmaking ability, but he’s a consistent weapon that can create separation and win with superior route running.

Keep in mind guys like Devante Adams and DeAndre Hopkins, who lack elite speed but have fantastic releases and have perfected the fundamentals of the route tree.

Bateman has that capability, and his adaptability makes him even more exciting. He can play out of the slot, in the “Z” spot or “X” on the outside. The expectation is that he will make an early impact at the professional level, and with a decent quarterback to throw him the football, he could be a catalyst early on.

New York Giants: An offensive playmaker to target in a trade-down scenario

New York Giants, Rashod Bateman

The New York Giants are in need of offensive playmakers. Heading into this offseason, New York is making it a priority to add offensive weapons. Many fans and analysts predict that the Giants will spend their first-round pick on a wide receiver.

One intriguing and lesser-discussed option for the Giants is to trade down in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Currently, the Giants own the eleventh overall pick in the draft. But a trade down from eleven could yield additional mid-round picks for the Giants to spend in the draft.

There is a scenario where the Giants could trade down and still land their offensive weapon that they so desire. If Dave Gettleman does decide to do what he has never done before (trading down), Rashod Bateman is an intriguing option for him to consider in the second half of the first round.

Rashod Bateman stats and highlights

Rashod Bateman is an intriguing wide receiver prospect out of Minnesota that will likely be drafted in the second half of the first round. If the Giants decide to trade down to a spot within the twenties, they could consider drafting Rashod Bateman.

One New York Giants mock trade scenario:

  • Giants trade pick #11 to the Chicago Bears
  • Giants receive:
    • Round one, pick #20
    • Round three, pick #83
    • Round five, pick #163

In this scenario, or a scenario similar to this, the Giants could spend the twentieth overall pick on Rashod Bateman. Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman is a big-play threat that could on up the Giants’ vertical passing attack. According to Pro Football Focus, Bateman has recorded 47 receptions of 15+ yards over the last two seasons.

Rashod Bateman is a crisp route runner that has drawn comparisons to Los Angeles Chargers superstar Keenan Allen. Bateman posted 147 receptions and 2395 receiving yards with 19 touchdowns through 31 career games in college.

One knock on Rashod Bateman, though, is his inconsistent hands. Bateman has had a slight issue with drops in college, posting a 7.7% drop rate in his collegiate career. Bateman is also not a burner, lacking top-end speed in his athletic package.

Rashod Bateman would be a great target for the Giants if they were to trade down in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Bateman has the skillset to become a primary wide receiver in the NFL, something New York desperately needs. Based on history, it is unlikely that Dave Gettleman and the Giants trade down. But if they do, Bateman should be a top target.