Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft has arrived. What moves could the Giants and Jets make in order to improve their respective rosters?
The 2021 NFL Draft’s first round has come and gone, and boy was it a great night.
Not only did the Jets trade up from No. 23 to 14 to draft USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker and provide protection for No. 2 pick Zach Wilson, but the Giants traded back from No. 11 to 20, garnered extra draft capital (including a 2022 first-rounder), and acquired a highly talented wide receiver in Kadarius Toney.
The three picks among the pair of local teams were all superb, but Thursday has turned to Friday, and thus the attention turns to the second and third rounds on Day 2.
The Jets own the No. 34 overall pick in the second round while the Giants possess the No. 42 selection in the second round and No. 76 choice in the third. The Jets originally owned the No. 66 and 86 picks in the third round but sent them to Minnesota in order to move up to No. 14.
What may the two organizations do on Day 2 to improve their respective rosters?
Expect the Jets to focus on defense, if not select a WR
After utilizing each of their two first-round picks on offensive players, the Jets could very much focus on improving their defensive unit during the second round.
Luckily, they own the second pick in that round and are in position to acquire one of the top defensive weapons still on the board.
Potential positions to target are edge rusher, cornerback, and possibly inside linebacker.
In regard to acquiring a defensive end for Robert Saleh’s 4-3 scheme, Joe Douglas could select Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari, Oklahoma’s Ronnie Perkins, or Texas’ Joseph Ossai to complement free-agent pickup Carl Lawson. Maybe he reaches for Miami’s Quincy Roche or Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham Jr.?
Using the 34th pick on a corner could lead to the Jets drafting Florida State’s Asante Samuel Jr. or Tyson Campbell out of Georgia. Syracuse’s Ifeatu Melifonwu could also be a steal with that pick — he would be someone the Jets could develop next season in hopes of him becoming a long-term starter sometime down the road.
The Jets could additionally cash in on a talented inside linebacker to field alongside Jarrad Davis and C.J. Mosley.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah out of Notre Dame is arguably the top player still available in this draft. Choosing any other linebacker at No. 34 could be an overwhelming reach, so if Owusu-Koramoah goes to Jacksonville at No. 33, expect the Jets to focus on either of the other aforementioned defensive positions.
Or, if the Jets wish to further improve an offensive unit that struggled heavily in 2020, they could pounce on any of the talented receivers still on the board.
Rondale Moore out of Purdue is a Tyreek Hill-type wideout and would provide pure speed to the receiving corps.
LSU’s Terrace Marshall is additionally available and so is Ole Miss’ Elijah Moore, who’s arguably the top wideout that still hasn’t found a team.
Giants may add to defense, offensive line
If Owusu-Koramoah is somehow still on the board at No. 42, he should absolutely be the pick. Adding his playmaking abilities and versatility to an inside linebacking corps that includes the promising Tae Crowder along with the tackling machine that is Blake Martinez could work wonders for Patrick Graham’s defense.
But if he’s not there, expect the Giants to go with an edge rusher.
No, the list of available edge rushers likely won’t be as widespread at No. 42 as it will be for the Jets at No. 34, but Perkins and Basham Jr. might still be available. There’s a chance both Ojulari and Ossai are off the board by Big Blue’s pick, but anything is possible.
In the third round, the Giants could focus on the interior of the offensive line.
Andrew Thomas is set to retain his starting job at left tackle and the Giants are seemingly high on Matthew Peart, who could start at right tackle. But while Nick Gates and Shane Lemieux are expected to respectively start at center and one of the guard spots, the other guard role is currently a mystery.
It’s unclear if Will Hernandez or free-agent acquisition Zach Fulton is the long-term man for the job, which might prompt the Giants to draft someone who could initially be a depth piece while developing into a starting offensive lineman.
Players to target at No. 76 could be Ohio State’s Josh Myers and Alabama’s Deonte Brown, who we both mentioned in our New York Giants 2021 NFL Draft Guide from earlier this month.