It is no secret that both the Giants and Jets have been studying offensive linemen in this draft, and it's no mystery why. Both teams are determined to rebuild their lines and may use multiple picks on the first two days to do it.
And yes, both teams are eyeing the Big Four tackles at the top of the first round.
In fact, it's a good bet that both the Giants (at No. 4) and the Jets (at No. 11) will take one of those tackles with their first pick in the NFL Draft on April 23, and they both are looking at the exact same players. Based on conversations with a variety of scouts and team officials, there are four tackles who have risen above the others -- Iowa's Tristan Wirfs, Alabama's Jedrick Wills, Louisville's Mekhi Becton and Georgia's Andrew Thomas.
The order those are ranked, and the order they'll come off the board, completely depends on who is asked.
The consensus, though, is the Giants are going to get their choice of those four if they stay put at 4, and the Jets are most likely to settle for whoever's left at 11. The best the Jets can hope for is that two of the four are still on the board, but many believe that's unlikely.
So if both teams do take tackles, who will the Giants and Jets get and who have they been looking at the most? With the help of those scouts and team officials, here's a deeper look at the Big Four and how (and where) they might fit in New York:
Tristan Wirfs, Iowa (6-5, 320)
The word that keeps coming up is "freak" (or "freakish") from scouts, who were wowed by Wirfs' record-setting performance at the combine. "He moves like a receiver," one scout said, noting the 4.85 Wirfs ran in the 40, "but definitely with the power he needs for the line."
The reason his athleticism matters so much, several sources noted, is because NFL offenses aren't just about forming a pocket around a quarterback anymore. The pockets move, and that's especially true in New York with two mobile quarterbacks in Daniel Jones and Sam Darnold. Wirfs can get outside quickly to protect the quarterback. And just imagine someone with his power and speed pulling around to clear a hole for Saquon Barkley or Le'Veon Bell.
His stock has seemingly risen so much since the combine, it's really hard to see the Jets having a shot at him at 11. But as SNY has reported, the Giants "love" Wirfs and have been eyeing him since long before the combine started. Not every source who was asked thought the Giants would take him. Some had them taking Becton or Wills. But the majority definitely thought Wirfs would end up the top lineman on their board.
Mekhi Becton, Louisville (6-7, 364)
Among the descriptions I got for Becton were "massive," "super-sized" and "Wow". If size matters, he'll be the first tackle off the board. It will also help his status that he ran a 5.1 in the 40 and showed he's not necessarily heavy-footed. The combination of his mass and his agility is pretty unique.
Not all scouts are sold, though. Some thought he played slower than he tested at the combine. And some are concerned that a player that size will have trouble maintaining a manageable NFL weight or even staying healthy. None of the four offensive linemen seemed to have a bigger disparity of opinions among the NFL people surveyed. A few thought he was the best. A few others thought he'd be the last tackle to go.
If it's the latter -- and it might be -- he'll land with the Jets, and it's hard to imagine Douglas passing on a prospect like this. It's unclear what Gettleman thinks. One scout who knows him believes there's no way the old-school GM will pass on a guy this big. "You talk about a 'Hog Mollie,'" the scout said. "This guy fits the profile." Another said "No way. Too much of a risk" with so many other good options on the board.
Jedrick Wills, Alabama (6-4, 312)
One team executive said "He's the most pro ready" tackle on the board. "Maybe not the most athletic or most physically imposing, but the most likely to step in and start Game 1." He got plenty of experience starting 18 games at right tackle over the last two seasons in the SEC.
His ceiling, one scout said, is "good, but not great. … He'll get the job done and probably for years, but isn't going to overwhelm you." There's value in that, of course. Most teams would take a player who would come in and play consistently for years at a key position. There is a question about what that position is, since he played exclusively on the right side in college. Most teams drafting high are looking for future left tackles, though many scouts think he could eventually make that switch.
Wills certainly could be in play for the Giants at 4, especially since his college coach, Nick Saban, is a mentor to new Giants coach Joe Judge. If Saban really glows about Wills, it could certainly sway Judge's opinion, and Judge will have a huge voice in this pick, even if Gettleman still has the final say.
And dropping to the Jets isn't out of the question ,either. It seems likely the Cardinals (at No. 8) and Browns (No. 10) will consider taking a tackle, so it all depends on their preference. He'd certainly fit nicely into the Jets' plans since they are looking for a natural right tackle after signing free agent left tackle George Fant.
Andrew Thomas, Georgia (6-5, 315)
He might be the most interesting of the Big Four, and the most difficult one to fully and accurately evaluate. Because late in the college football season there seemed to be no doubt he was the best tackle prospect headed to the draft. Then the season ended and, even before the combine, everything changed.
"I think it's a case of everyone overthinking it and maybe just getting to know the other tackles more," one NFL executive said. "He's still a good prospect. But when people really dug into the other guys, they saw they were pretty good, too."
Thomas, though, is the only four-year starter in the group -- and in the SEC, no less. He was also dominant at times, and started on both sides of the line. "I don't know if he's the best, but he's the most polished," one scout said. "He's a first-day starter, and he'll be a Pro Bowler before long." He didn't test as well as others at the combine, and some feel he needs to bulk up a little, but the potential is obviously there.
Presumably the Giants will consider him at 4, though no one seems to think they'll take him. The Jets, on the other hand, are really high on him, according to several NFL sources. The only question is if he'll still be there at 11. Surprisingly, a majority of those surveyed predict he'll already be off the board by the time the Jets pick.