We’ve arrived at Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft. What moves may the Jets and Giants make through the final four rounds?
Day 1 is over — we now know where the top five quarterbacks in this draft class will play.
Day 2 has concluded — we finally witnessed multiple first-round-caliber players find teams.
And now, we arrive at Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft, a portion of the annual event that will encompass Rounds 4-7.
There’s more attention reflected upon the initial pair of days than the third, which makes sense. The individuals chosen in the first few rounds are obviously more well-known and are expected to be superior NFL players in comparison to those drafted in the later rounds.
But you mustn’t sleep on Day 3. This is when draft steals are executed and when teams continue to fill important roles in and around their respective rosters.
Despite making a number of spectacular moves on both Thursday and Friday, the Jets and Giants still have much work to do to ultimately improve ahead of the 2021 season.
What decisions by either team should we expect on Saturday?
Jets need to focus on defense
With their first three picks in this draft — the No. 2 and 14 selections in the first round and the No. 34 pick in the second — the Jets addressed the offensive side of the ball, respectively choosing quarterback Zach Wilson, offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, and wide receiver Elijah Moore.
They own the second pick of Day 3 (No. 107 in the fourth round), and with this selection, Joe Douglas will most likely focus on improving the defensive unit.
The Jets still need an edge rusher — they could’ve targeted one in the first round if they kept their 23rd overall pick or in the second if they didn’t choose Moore.
One of the bigger names still available when it comes to this position group is Miami’s Quincy Roche, who could be a productive complement to new Jets defensive end Carl Lawson.
Daelin Hayes out of Notre Dame and Shaka Toney out of Penn State are also names to consider and obviously possess experience playing against NFL-caliber talent in the ACC and Big Ten, respectively.
At No. 143 in the fourth round, the Jets should target a defensive back, another position they could’ve addressed earlier in this event.
Ohio State’s Shaun Wade may become a productive slot corner given his physicality while Cal’s Camryn Bynum was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection this past season. South Carolina’s Israel Mukuamu is also currently on the board.
Following those two fourth-round picks, the Jets carry the No. 146 and 154 picks in the fifth round as well as the No. 186 and 226 selections in the sixth.
Positions the organization could hone in on with those resources include running back, offensive tackle, linebacker, and defensive back.
Drafting a tackle is important — the Jets might need an eventual long-term answer at right tackle considering George Fant has just two years remaining on his contract. Cincinnati’s James Hudson is a decent prospect when you take into account his on-field consistency, but it’s unclear if he’ll still be on the board in the fifth.
Hudson was a first-team All-AAC selection in 2020.
Maybe the Jets look to acquire Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard in the fifth or sixth round to add another talented weapon for Zach Wilson? That potential selection could additionally be pondered.
Giants must add offensive line depth
There was belief the Giants could’ve used their third-round pick (originally No. 76, eventually No. 71 following a pick-swap with Miami) on an interior offensive lineman, but that didn’t end up becoming the case. Dave Gettleman chose UCF cornerback Aaron Robinson to add secondary depth instead.
Therefore, at No. 116 in the fourth round, Big Blue is likely to take a guard; it needs one for depth purposes amid the uncertainty regarding Will Hernandez’s and Zach Fulton’s ability to be long-term starters.
The Giants could have their eyes on Deonte Brown because of his sheer talent and Alabama connection to Joe Judge. Brown earned first-team All-SEC honors in 2020, a tremendous accomplishment.
Tennessee’s Trey Smith, a two-time first-team All-SEC selection, is another option (if he’s available).
Barring a trade (which may occur considering the Giants have already traded three times this draft), Big Blue’s final two picks come in the sixth round at No. 196 and 201.
Those two selections may be used on an inside linebacker and offensive tackle for depth purposes (Nate Solder’s future is unclear).
Missouri tackle Larry Borom and Iowa’s Alaric Jackson are names to think about.
Maybe Northwestern linebacker Paddy Fisher (over 100 total tackles in each of the 2017 and 2018 seasons) or Boston College’s Isaiah McDuffie (107 combined tackles last year) are still on the board?
Should be interesting; many questions will be answered Saturday.
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