Todd McShay of ESPN has released his mock draft 4.0. Contrary to popular anticipation, the Giants actually trade back.
April is here. We’ve finally entered draft month.
Four weeks from Thursday, the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft commences. A number of quarterbacks will find teams on opening night while multiple surprises will occur and keep fans on the edge of their seats.
What are the two local teams expected to do?
As far as the Giants are concerned, their decision at No. 11 will have to do with who’s still on the board at that point. However, McShay doesn’t even believe they’ll be utilizing that selection after all.
Jets’ No. 2 Overall Pick: BYU QB Zach Wilson
McShay has the Jets taking Zach Wilson with the second pick after the Jaguars select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall.
Of course, the pick makes sense. The Jets may want to undergo a full restart with a new head coach (Robert Saleh) along with a new quarterback. Wilson additionally impressed many at his Pro Day and essentially solidified he carries the talent and potential to be the second man off the board.
The Jets’ moves to acquire a number of offensive weapons in free agency may have been to eventually assist Wilson in his development. If he’s under center in Florham Park next season, he’ll need all the help he can get in order to succeed.
Giants’ No. 15 Overall Pick: Notre Dame ILB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Swap with Patriots, New England drafts Ohio State QB Justin Fields at No. 11)
The Giants move back to No. 15 after swapping picks with the Patriots, and according to McShay, Big Blue could garner around a third-round pick this year and either a second-rounder or third-rounder next year. However, I would attempt to at least get New England’s second-round pick from this draft out of the deal. New York would carry a ton of leverage in this scenario — the Patriots may need a quarterback, and moving up to No. 11 may allow and lead them to draft Ohio State’s Justin Fields, the fifth quarterback taken on McShay’s board.
As far as the Giants’ No. 15 pick is concerned, New York would be acquiring a linebacker in Owusu-Koramoah who proved to be both a run-stopper and pass-rusher with the Fighting Irish. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and head coach Joe Judge would benefit from this type of player given the fact they’d be able to utilize him in a number of ways.
Owusu-Koramoah would slot in alongside Blake Martinez at the inside linebacker spot and could be a matchup-based situational player like fellow linebacker Tae Crowder.
Many believe the Giants could go edge rusher early on, but given Graham’s situational schemes, the defensive unit may not need to acquire a star at that position in the first round.
Jets’ No. 23 Overall Pick: Clemson RB Travis Etienne
After choosing Wilson at No. 2, the Jets focus on the offensive side of the ball again at No. 23 and take a talented running back in Travis Etienne, according to McShay.
Sure, the running back position has lost value in recent years, but this may be a beneficial selection for a number of reasons.
Either Sam Darnold or Wilson will need offensive assistance in order to develop and succeed next year. Given Etienne’s talent and knack for the end zone (14 rushing touchdowns, two touchdown catches last year), the Clemson back could certainly provide that required help while serving as an upgrade from La’Mical Perine.
Entering 2021, it’s unclear if Perine will be able to take on the role as the team’s lead back in what will be his second season. It’s also unknown if free-agent pickup Tevin Coleman could be an every-down back as well.