It has become a sad annual rite of spring for the football teams in New York, and the only benefit of another dismal season. All that losing the Giants and Jets seem to do every fall pays off in April with a high pick in the NFL draft.
And that's what appears to be happening again. Barring an unexpected run of victories over the next six weeks, the Giants (2-8) and the Jets (3-7) will have Top 10 picks in the NFL draft in April. It will be the third straight year they're both in the Top 10. Remarkably, at least one of them has picked that high for six straight years.
The good news is that if that happens they could both find the help they so desperately need, particularly with their pass rush, their offensive line, or perhaps a play-making receiver. It'll help, too, that neither of them are in the market for quarterbacks, which could also make a high pick a valuable commodity in trade.
There are still more than five months until the draft takes place on April 23 in Las Vegas, of course, and a lot can change between now and then. But considering the Giants and Jets are currently slated to pick third and fifth respectively, there's a good chance they'll remain up high in the draft order. And if they do, here's a look at what they might find:
The 'Chase' for the big prize
If either team wanted to tank, this would be the year to do it because the big prize in the draft is something they both desperately need. Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young is widely considered to be the best player in the draft, and figures to be the first non-quarterback off the board (if he doesn't go No. 1 overall).
Now, clearly the Giants and Jets both are desperate for pass-rushing help and it's hard to imagine that either of them would let Young slide if he's there when they're picking. But here's the problem: The awful Washington Redskins (1-9) are a safe bet to draft ahead of them, and they don't need a quarterback either. They'd have to take Young too, which means the Giants and Jets' only hope would be that the Redskins trade down to a quarterback-needy team or that they take an offensive lineman instead.
Other pass rushing help
Through the early evaluations, the consensus is that Young is probably one of the few elite pass rushers in the draft, but he's not the only one. Scouts also love Iowa's 6-foot-6, 280-pound edge rusher, A.J. Epenesa. Maybe just a notch below Young, he's had 17 ½ sacks over the last two seasons and figures to land in the Top 10. After that, though, there's a drop-off - perhaps to Penn State's Yetur Gross-Matos, who right now projects as a late first-rounder. If the Giants and Jets aren't in position for one of the top two, they better spend some free-agent money on this position instead.
If Young isn't the first non-QB off the board, Andrew Thomas, the 6-foot-5, 320-pound offensive lineman from Georgia, might be. And it's hard to tell which New York GM is more hell-bent on adding a top offensive lineman - Dave Gettleman or Joe Douglas. The good news is they both could get their wish, because right behind Thomas on the charts is Iowa's own 6-5, 320-pound tackle, Tristan Wirfs. Both of them could be Top 10 picks, and both could be building blocks of offensive lines in New York.
The QB factor: This is the most interesting aspect of the 2020 draft - and every draft, really. Where will the quarterbacks go and how many will be in the Top 10? Right now, everyone's favorite seems to be LSU's Joe Burrow, and there are scouts who still think Oregon's Justin Herbert would've gone in the Top 5 if he had come out last year. What about Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa? His hip injury certainly changes things, but unless it's something that will cost him the 2020 season, does anyone really think he'll fall out of the top of the draft?
Whoever ends up near the top, you can be sure the Bengals and Dolphins will both take a quarterback, probably inside the Top 5. If a third team near the top wants a QB (the Bucs? Broncos? Chargers?) that could be huge for the Giants and Jets. For one, if they're drafting high enough, it could drop a better non-QB into the laps of the New York teams. If not, they could dangle a high pick in trade and get a huge return and still manage to stay in the Top 10.
So it's good for them if the medical reports on Tagovailoa are good, or if the stocks of Georgia's Jake Fromm or Washington's Jacob Eason rise a lot in the next few months. The more QBs in the consensus Top 10, the more valuable the Giants' and Jets' picks will be.
A No. 1 receiver
This is a way bigger need for the Jets than the Giants, and it could be a great alternative selection for them if they keep winning and drop lower into the Top 10. The top prize is Alabama's Jerry Jeudy, a 6-foot-1, 192-pounder with speed, good hands, and who looks like a true, No. 1 receiver. But if they don't land him, Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb is right behind him. In fact, there are some who think the 6-foot-2, 191-pound Lamb is better. He's even drawn some comparison to Odell Beckham, though he doesn't appear to have Beckham's breakaway speed.
Another position that both teams need - the Jets more so than the Giants - is cornerback, but it appears only one will crack the Top 100 - Ohio State's Jeff Okudah. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder figures to be the next great Buckeye DB to enter the NFL, and they all seem to be thriving. Okudah is so good, some think he'll eventually be hailed as the best player in the draft, although there's almost no shot he gets picked ahead of Young or one or two of the quarterbacks. That could bode well for either New York team if they're stuck picking later in the Top 10.