Written By: Jose Rohdin
The NFL Draft is here. The NFL is a crazy world of mock drafts and rumors until the draft ends, when young football players achieve their dreams of becoming pro players. In New York, the NFL Draft brings three levels of hope for three franchises in different worlds.
The New York Jets look to bring in their franchise quarterback with the second overall pick. The New York Giants look to address the few needs they did not fill in free agency. The Buffalo Bills look to add talent that can raise their hopes from Super Bowl contenders to actually playing in one.
With the second overall pick, the New York Jets will pick either quarterback Zach Wilson out of BYU or Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson if the Jacksonville Jaguars stun us all and take Wilson first overall, which they probably won’t. It could be similar to when Baker Mayfield was taken by the Cleveland Browns, to the surprise of the general public expecting future Jet Sam Darold to be the obvious choice.
Both quarterbacks are elite talents and will probably spend the next 20 years of their lives most likely as franchise QBs. Both should be a hit, and the Jets will be happy with either. With Wilson the likely choice, Jets fans should be excited to see him run a Mike LaFleur offense. Wilson is a super accurate passer in the short game, completing 73 percent of his pass attempts and stretching out a defense, averaging 11 yards per attempt last season in college. The issue would be that the Jets don’t have many offensive weapons on the roster, but neither did Wilson at BYU. The Jets could add a wide receiver with an early second-round pick, and this draft is pretty deep at that position.
The Jets also have the 23rd pick in the draft, which they received from the Seattle Seahawks in the Jamal Adams trade. After drafting a quarterback with the second overall pick, it is not likely that Head Coach and former Defensive Coordinator Robert Salah will draft someone else on the offensive side of the ball unless someone falls in the draft that they can’t pass on. The Jets will probably look to their secondary with this pick, since they have already addressed needs in the front seven with free agency.
Caleb Farley, out of Virginia Tech, is a name that is coming up a lot at this pick. Most analysts agree that he is a top 15 talent, but because of a back surgery and sitting out last season due to COVID-19, he could drop. If he does, that is perfect for the Jets. Someone like Tyson Campbell out of Georgia could be available and fit right into the “Seattle Scheme” style of defense that Salah will most likely run. Both Farley and Campbell are big outside corners, who hold their own on an island, which the scheme needs out of its corners.
The Jets are tied for holding the second-most picks in the draft at ten. This draft could be franchise-changing, as they look to add as much talent as possible to a roster that doesn’t have a lot of it. They will draft their quarterback for hopefully the next 20 years, and then immediately try to surround him with talent on both sides of the ball to build a future playoff team.
The New York Giants were almost a playoff team last season, so they went all-in on trying to make the playoffs this offseason. They handed out big money to wide receiver Kenny Golladay and corner Adoree’ Jackson. Both filled the two most significant needs on the Giants roster, a true number one receiver and red zone threat, and a second corner to play opposite to Pro-Bowl corner James Bradberry. The roster is good enough to make the playoffs right now, but they can add to that with the 11th overall pick.
The only two positions they need to fill on their roster are pass rusher and someone on the interior offensive line. With this being a draft with a lot of talent on the offensive line, the Giants will most likely go pass-rusher, and that will be the bad man Jaelen Phillips. Phillips is by far the best pass rusher in this draft at a massive 6’5”, 266 pounds, and can do it all. He can play outside linebacker in a 3-4 set, he can play defensive end in a 4-3 formation, and is even big enough to play defensive end in 3-4 sets. The only issue is his possible history of concussions, which forced him to retire from football while playing at UCLA, but if he passes all the physicals, he would be the pass rusher Giants fans have been waiting for.
The Giants could trade back to 13, as the Los Angeles Chargers Twitter page mistakenly hinted at, but Phillips should still be available then, with the first ten picks in the draft possibly going to offensive players. The Giants only have six picks in the draft, tied for the fewest amongst teams, but they don’t have many needs. Hopefully, in the second round, they will draft an interior offensive lineman who is NFL-ready, such as Center Landon Dickerson out of Alabama.
Finally, the Buffalo Bills are pretty much Super Bowl-ready and have no big holes to fill. They could take a wide receiver at pick 30, someone like Terrace Marshall Jr. out of LSU to play alongside Stefon Diggs, but they have decent talent there. They need an elite pass rusher, but the chances of someone elite falling to 30 isn’t high. Still, someone like Jayson Oweh from Penn State could at least fit the role.
This draft contains a solid cornerback group, so maybe someone could fall, like Tyson Campbell, similar to the Jets situation. Even then, the Bills could go for a running back, identical to what the Kansas City Chiefs did last season, and pick Najee Harris out of Alabama or Travis Etienne from Clemson, both seen as the best running backs in this draft and could be available. The fact is that the Bills will probably draft the best available player who fills one of these holes, and they might not even get much playing time when the season starts.
The draft is Thursday, and all three New York teams are poised to make a positive stride into the future.