Todd McShay has both the Giants and Jets using their respective first-round picks on defensive prospects.
Football fans in the Big Apple are once again rooting for draft picks in December. The Giants and Jets are heavily struggling and sit in the basement of their respective divisions.
Past trades make this an intriguing draft for either team, however. Thanks to the 2020 Jets trade of Jamal Adams (to Seattle) and the 2021 Giants draft-day trade of their then-No. 11 overall pick (to Chicago), both teams are in possession of two opening-round selections.
If the season continues the way it has, both East Rutherford ballclubs will have their respective picks in the top 10 (it’s just one of those years…again).
You could argue the Giants are possibly in the market for a quarterback, but ESPN’s Todd McShay believes both local teams require help on the defensive side of the ball…
No. 5 overall (via Chicago) — Purdue DE George Karlaftis
The defense is nowhere near the Giants’ weakest unit (the offense is scoring a measly 17.8 points per game this season).
But Big Blue cannot consistently succeed when it comes to pressuring the quarterback. McShay points out the Giants have notched just 25 sacks through 13 games and are recording a 32.0% pass rush win rate.
For context, ESPN defines “pass rush win rate” as “how often a pass-rusher is able to beat his block within 2.5 seconds.”
Edge rusher Azeez Ojulari (2021 second-round pick) is a potential long-term piece on the defense but the Giants need another pass-rushing weapon to maximize their success in that area.
Purdue’s George Karlaftis has recorded 4.5 sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss this season (12 games thus far).
No. 7 overall — Georgia LB Nakobe Dean
Another Georgia kid?
The Giants already employ Tae Crowder, Azeez Ojulari, Lorenzo Carter (whose contract is expiring after this season), Andrew Thomas, Jake Fromm, and Isaiah Wilson, but McShay believes another Bulldog could be coming to East Rutherford.
I wouldn’t be opposed to the Giants utilizing one of their first-round picks on a linebacker because I believe Blake Martinez could be a cap casualty heading into next season.
The veteran is rehabbing from an ACL tear (suffered in Week 3) and the Giants would save $8.525 million in cap space by parting ways with him next offseason.
It would financially make sense to move forward with Tae Crowder (still on his rookie deal) and place a guy like Nakobe Dean (Crowder’s former college teammate) alongside him.
Dean is also versatile, portraying skills in both the run-stopping and pass-rushing departments.
No. 4 overall — LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr.
I’m not sure the Jets would be in the market for a cornerback this early. They already employ a plethora of young defensive backs (Bryce Hall, Brandin Echols, Michael Carter II, Jason Pinnock, etc.).
But you can never have enough depth in the defensive backfield, and LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. could surely be a long-term option at such an important position. Not to mention, the Jets are currently 27th in the league with 254.0 passing yards allowed per game.
While Stingley may not be as efficient his rookie year (it generally takes cornerbacks some time to become accustomed to the speed of the pro game), he could certainly grow into a talented cornerback down the road.
Again, the Jets may not be in the market for a corner with the first of their two opening-round picks. But you must keep in mind they’ll need to face guys like Josh Allen and Mac Jones for years to come.
No. 9 overall (via Seattle) — Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton
This pick I would be on board with.
Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton is a definite play-maker and has three interceptions in seven games this season.
The Jets will likely need a replacement for Marcus Maye as well. General manager Joe Douglas seemingly doesn’t value the safety position as much as he does other spots (he traded Jamal Adams to the Seahawks instead of extending his contract and wouldn’t budge when it came to a potential extension for Maye, having franchise-tagged him last offseason).
Given Maye’s expiring one-year tag and his season-ending Achilles injury, it’s basically a foregone conclusion that his tenure in Florham Park is ending.
Hamilton would be a solid replacement for Maye, who is certainly one of the Jets’ better defenders when healthy.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY
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