It makes perfect sense for the New York Giants and New York Jets to swap first-round picks in this year’s NFL Draft.

The New York Giants and the New York Jets are rivals that share a stadium and the heart of the Metropolitan area. Even though the two only play a meaningless preseason game every year and only meet in the regular season once every four years, the two are bitter rivals. They both love to steal headlines from one another and sign away each other’s players in free agency.

That said, the Giants and Jets are in a position to help one another out this offseason in the NFL Draft.

The Giants hold the second-overall pick in this year’s draft and, from all accounts, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, the Giants are not leaning towards taking a quarterback, preferring to see how backup quarterback Davis Webb develops in his second season in the NFL.

At the recently concluded NFL Combine, reports emerged that the Giants are in love with offensive lineman prospect Quenton Nelson out of Notre Dame.


Per Big Blue View’s Ed Valentine, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said at the combine that Nelson is definitely in the mix for the Giants at the No. 2 overall pick.

“Quenton Nelson, in my opinion, is one of the two best players in this draft. Barkley and Nelson are the two best players in this draft. [Dave] Gettleman’s an old hog molly guy. You’re sitting at No. 2 and you’ve got a bad offensive line. Doesn’t necessarily mean that at two you take one (an offensive lineman). But he’d better fix the offensive line. I know he knows that.”

Quenton Nelson
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The issue with Nelson is, as a guard, picking him with the second overall pick is a bit high. Interior linemen aren’t viewed as highly as offensive tackles. If you use No. 2 on an offensive lineman, it’s a prospect who you believe in the left tackle to anchor your line for the next 10-plus years.

The Giants are better off trying to trade down with a team drafting in the top-12, taking Nelson with that pick and accumulating draft picks.

Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said last week at the NFL Combine that he would take a trade if he knew he could get a player he wanted at that pick.

“Any decision I make is going to be in the best interest of the New York Giants, plain and simple,” Gettleman told NJ.com’s Ryan Dunleavy. “If someone makes me an offer I can’t refuse, would I move back? It depends upon who is there.”

This brings the Jets into the discussion. If they don’t sign prized free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins in free agency, Gang Green will, without a doubt, look to take a quarterback with their first-round pick.

While the Jets currently have the sixth overall pick, that doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be able to draft one of the top-three quarterbacks in the draft. Josh Allen, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen could all be gone by the time the Jets are on the clock.

Wyoming Josh Allen New York Giants Senior Bowl
(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

That’s why a trade between the Giants and Jets makes perfect sense. The Giants can land Nelson at six and the Jets can draft one of the top-three quarterbacks at two.

It’s not that easy, however, as the Giants are going to ask for a haul of draft picks to trade the No. 2 pick.

The Giants will use the last two drafts, in which the second overall pick has been moved, as a basis for their asking price.

The Philadelphia Eagles traded up from No. 8 to No. 2 with the Cleveland Browns in 2016 to draft Carson Wentz, giving up five draft picks—including two first-rounders. It cost Philly the No. 8 pick in the first round, a third-rounder, a fourth-rounder, a first-round pick in 2017 and a second-round pick in 2018.

New York Giants

Just last year, the Chicago Bears traded up one spot from No. 3 to No. 2 with the San Francisco 49ers to draft Mitch Trubisky. The two teams exchanged picks, while the 49ers received a 2017 third-round and fourth-round pick, while also picking up another third-round pick in 2018.

The Eagles-Browns trade would be the package the Giants would like the most, meaning the Jets would have to give up a future first-round pick in their offer.

Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said on the Humpty & Canty Show on ESPN New York 98.7 last week that the Jets are willing to do what it takes to trade up to take a quarterback if they felt that quarterback was a can’t miss prospect.

“The simple answer to that question is yes,” Maccagnan said via ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “If that was a player we felt strongly about, we would have no qualms of potentially trying to go up and get him.”

We here at ESNY came up with this trade scenario:

Giants:

2018 first-round pick (6)
2018 second-round pick (37)
2018 third-round pick (72)
2019 third-round pick

Jets:

2018 first-round pick (2)
2018 fifth-round pick (139)

If the Giants don’t get the trade they want and stay at No. 2, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, in his latest mock draft, has the G-Men taking Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 pick. or Nelson, if Barkley is off the board.

The Giants would love to see Barkley here, but even if he’s gone they can still get a dynamic player.

Nelson looks like an All-Pro-caliber guard coming out of South Bend. He’s big (6-foot-5. 325 pounds), is a mauler in the run game and a very smooth mover in both the run and pass game.

Nelson isn’t a sexy pick, but the Giants can both protect Eli Manning and solve some run-game issues with this pick.

The NFL Draft is a month away and with free agency next week, a lot of things can change for both the Jets and the Giants. But if things stay the same between the two, a swap of first-round picks between the two is beneficial for both teams. Just a matter of if the Jets will meet the trade demands of the Giants.

Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports 

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