SNY NFL Insider

Ralph Vacchiano

Ralph Vacchiano, award-winning sports reporter and columnist, joined SNY in 2016 as its NFL Insider. Vacchiano will cover the Giants and Jets beats for SNY.tv and be a regular contributor to "Daily News Live" and "GEICO SportsNite." Vacchiano comes to SNY following 15 years as the New York Giants beat writer and columnist for the New York Daily News.

 

Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Vacchiano graduated from Syracuse University in 1991 and began his professional career covering the Buffalo Bills for the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and later covered the Giants and Jets for the North Jersey Herald & News in Passaic, N.J.. During his 19 years at the Daily News, he also covered the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils (1997-2001), and in 2008 he wrote his first book, Eli Manning: The Making of a Quarterback (Skyhorse Publishing).

 

Vacchiano lives with his wife, Kara, and his daughter, Alexandra, in West Caldwell, N.J.

DeAndre Baker
DeAndre Baker

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

DeAndre Baker's attorney believes the Giants cornerback is the victim of a "shakedown" and is being accused of a crime he did not commit. But he also believes Baker has been "scared straight" by this brush with the law, and will come out of this a better man than he was before.

"He's got an opportunity to become the next Ray Lewis and not the next Ray Rice," attorney Patrick G. Patel said in an exclusive interview with SNY late Sunday night. "There's two guys who went in two different directions. I told DeAndre that. And he seems very focused. He's scared straight. I can say that."

The 22-year-old Baker has a long way to go, of course, before anyone sees whether he can reclaim his NFL career as Lewis once did after being accused of murder, or if his career will end the way Rice's did after he was arrested for domestic assault. First, Baker has to deal with the four counts of armed robbery and four counts of aggravated assault that he was charged with in Broward County, Fla., after an incident on Wednesday night.

Tags: DeAndre Baker, Ralph Vacchiano
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DeAndre Baker
DeAndre Baker

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

DeAndre Baker is in a lot of trouble and is facing an uncertain future, to say the least. His NFL career is obviously hanging by a thread. His freedom is in serious jeopardy, too.

The announcement by the Miramar (Fla.) Police Department on Thursday that they had issued an arrest warrant for the Giants cornerback was just the beginning of what could be a long and painful process for the 22-year-old former first-round pick, who turned himself in to police on Saturday morning.

Here, with the help of some legal and NFL sources, is a look at what Baker is facing and what comes next:

Tags: DeAndre Baker, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants GM Dave Gettleman
Giants GM Dave Gettleman

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Some more questions, and some more answers, in the latest edition of my SNY Giants mailbag:


Did you hear anything about the Giants trying to get Warford, Clowney, Ngakoue or anybody on the free agent market? -- @sld150

Sure, let's start with all the big names. And the answers are no, no, no, and not really.

I get that everyone loves the big names and wants their team to throw their money around. And sure, guard Larry Warford, edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, or edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue would make the Giants better. But at what cost? Worford reportedly wants a contract worth more than $7 million per year? Clowney was seeking $18 million per year at last check. And Ngakoue is going to want well over $100 million in a long-term contract, and that's after trading for him which probably will cost at least the Giants' first-round pick in 2021, plus a lot more.

Tags: DeAndre Baker, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jan 19, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan (26) runs onto the field before the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)
Jan 19, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan (26) runs onto the field before the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There is likely a long way to go before this DeAndre Baker mess plays out, but there's no doubt he is in a whole lot of trouble. The crimes he's accused of -- four counts of armed robbery, four counts of aggravated assault -- are serious. In Florida, armed robbery with a semiautomatic weapon carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in jail per count.

And even if he pleads his way down from that and doesn't spend the next 60 years in prison, an NFL suspension surely looms.

It's always hard to predict the time frame of how the legal process will play out or when the NFL will weigh in, but given the awful details in the arrest warrant that was released on Thursday night -- such as witnesses saying Baker ordered an accomplice to shoot his robbery victims -- it's hard to imagine the NFL will let him back on the field anytime soon, if ever. Even if they don't suspend him right away, he seems likely to land on the "Commissioner's exempt list" at the start of the year.

Tags: Corey Ballentine, DeAndre Baker, Eli Apple, Julian Love, Sam Beal, Ralph Vacchiano
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Every coach talks about the character of his players and, more importantly, the culture of his locker room, and Joe Judge has been no exception. Actually, what the new Giants coach said he wants to build is a "winning culture." Pro sports teams want the best players, not necessarily the best men.

Still, there are moments when the player intersects with the man and the results are frightening for everyone. When that happens, it can put the most well-intentioned coach to the test. Such was the case on Thursday night with Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker, when news broke that a warrant had been issued for his arrest in Miramar, Fla., for four counts of armed robbery and four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. He and Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar allegedly robbed four people of thousands of dollars in cash and expensive watches.

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Oct 20, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans tight end MyCole Pruitt (85) greets teammate Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan (26) during the player introductions prior to the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Jim Brown)
Oct 20, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans tight end MyCole Pruitt (85) greets teammate Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan (26) during the player introductions prior to the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Some more questions, and some more answers, in the latest edition of my SNY Jets mailbag:


If the reports are true that Logan Ryan is signing with the Jets, do you think their secondary can be a top 5 unit this season? - @SpriggsyFresh

First, let me tell you about what I've reported and what I know about Ryan and the Jets: They have had some interest in him for a while, but they needed his asking price to go way down. I assume by now it has. I know the Jets have spoken to his agent. But they haven't made a formal offer and as far as I can tell, nothing is imminent.

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Ralph Vacchiano
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Daniel Jones/Eli Manning (Jerome Miron)
Daniel Jones/Eli Manning (Jerome Miron)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Daniel Jones is not quite ready to say the Giants are his team, especially since his new coach wouldn't even say his name publicly for the first four months. But the reality is, it became his team the moment that Eli Manning retired.

Even Manning admitted as much when he said on the radio last week that it should be "easier this year for (Jones) to step up as that leader. Last year, it was probably awkward for him (with) me being there."

Now Jones concedes that was probably true.

Tags: Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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When Christian McCaffrey signed his eye-popping, four-year, $64 million contract extension with the Carolina Panthers last month, many in the New York area had the same reaction:

Saquon's next.

Tags: Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants head coach Joe Judge speaks at the NFL Combine
Giants head coach Joe Judge speaks at the NFL Combine

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Joe Judge is still holding out hope that Giants training camp will begin on time in late July at the team's facility in East Rutherford, N.J. But the longer this pandemic goes on, the less certain that seems.

So yes, contingency plans are being investigated. 

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The offseason roster-building is over, for the most part. What you currently see with your favorite NFL team is likely what you're going to get.

So what will you get in the AFC East in 2020? And how do the Jets stack up?

Here, with the help of some NFL sources, is a look at what and how those teams did, and what their outlook is for the (hopefully) upcoming season. They are listed in my projected order of finish in the AFC East:

Tags: Avery Williamson, CJ Mosley, Le'Veon Bell, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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The offseason roster-building is over, for the most part. What you currently see with your favorite NFL team is likely what you're going to get.

So what will you get in the NFC East in 2020? And how do the Giants stack up?

Here, with the help of some NFL sources, is a look at what and how those teams did, and what their outlook is for the (hopefully) upcoming season. They are listed in my projected order of finish in the NFC East:

Tags: Daniel Jones, DeAndre Baker, Jabril Peppers, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 8, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (90) prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports (Steven Bisig)
Sep 8, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (90) prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports (Steven Bisig)

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So many questions … Here are a few more you asked me in this week's edition of the SNY Jets mailbag:


Why haven't the Jets gone after Clowney? -- @BuddhaTaino

Money. Actually, it's more about player value. Jadeveon Clowney may be the best pass rusher on the market, but he wanted more than $20 million per year on a long-term contract, and then reportedly lowered his demands into the $17-18 million range. So far no one thinks he's worth that -- certainly not on a long-term deal. The Jets clearly don't.

Tags: Jordan Jenkins, Le'Veon Bell, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 9, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) stiff arms Philadelphia Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod (23) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Dec 9, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) stiff arms Philadelphia Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod (23) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

So many questions … Here are a few more you asked me in this week's edition of the SNY Giants mailbag:


Which NFC East team is going to be the Giants biggest hurdle in winning the division and why? -- @AlbiRightBack

Even though the Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC East last year, I kept thinking the Dallas Cowboys were the best team in the division. I mean, they had the NFL's top-ranked offense and a Top 10 defense and they still finished 8-8? That's some pretty bad coaching, and basically the reason why Jason Garrett (now the Giants offensive coordinator) was fired.

Tags: Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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As if the Jets don't have enough problems already, their 2020 schedule doesn't give them much of a break. Their opponents had a 136-119-1 record last season (a .533 winning percentage). They'll play seven games against playoff teams, including both teams that played in Super Bowl LIV.

Overall, they have the second-toughest schedule in the entire league.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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If you're looking for reason to be hopeful about the Giants this season, look no further than their schedule. Their opponents had a record of 123-132-1 in 2019 (a .482 winning percentage). Only four of them made the playoffs.

They will be playing one of the easiest schedules in the league … at least once they get through a brutal first five games.

Of course, things can change. Surprise teams can emerge. Injuries can occur that can change the outlook of a matchup. And timing, as they say, is everything. But now that we know the (planned) order of games, here's a look at all the matchups and how the Giants should do:

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 27, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA;Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Tae Crowder (30) during the first half at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Oct 27, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA;Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Tae Crowder (30) during the first half at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Moments after the Giants called to make Tae Crowder's NFL dreams come true, the 23-year-old linebacker got a call from a woman he didn't know. She offered to make the rest of his dreams come true - dreams he may have never considered. Whatever Crowder wanted, she said, she could make it happen.

Crowder said he wanted pancakes.

So he will get pancakes. Lots of them. As many flavors and styles as the cooks can imagine. Melanie Fitch will make it happen because she, her father Paul, and her army of volunteers, have been doing that for the last pick in the NFL Draft for 45 years. This year, that's Crowder, the 255th and final pick of the 2020 draft. He's "Mr. Irrelevant."

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Dec 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ; General overall view of MetLife Stadium during an NFL football game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the New YorK Jets. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Dec 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ; General overall view of MetLife Stadium during an NFL football game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the New YorK Jets. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL's 2020 schedule will be released on Thursday night, but the Jets will not be selling single-game tickets just yet.

The team made that announcement on Wednesday due to "the changing conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic." While the NFL is planning to release a full, 16-game slate that starts on time in September, the truth is no one is sure if those games will be played as scheduled, or if fans will be allowed in to watch.

There are currently restrictions on large gatherings in many states, including New Jersey, which would make playing games at MetLife Stadium with 80,000 fans impossible right now. It's unclear if those restrictions will still be in place this fall.

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It wasn't long after the Jets signed Le'Veon Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million contract last March that word got out that Adam Gase was against the signing. But any objection the Jets coach had wasn't really about Bell, it was about investing so much in one player at that particular position.

Because Gase understands that one running back isn't enough in today's NFL. Ideally, teams even need more than two.

And that's what was behind the signing of veteran Frank Gore on Tuesday -- adding depth to the Jets' backfield and lessening the load this season on the 28-year-old Bell. In 2019, Bell -- fresh off a year away from football -- had 63.9 percent of the Jets' runs from scrimmage (245 of 383). In fact, he had 79.5 percent of the Jets' runs by a running back (245 of 308) in the 15 games he played.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Le'Veon Bell, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets GM Joe Douglas and Giants GM Dave Gettleman (Treated Image by SNY)
Jets GM Joe Douglas and Giants GM Dave Gettleman (Treated Image by SNY)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

While sorting through your Giants and Jets questions over the last few days, and answering them in my Jets and Giants mailbags, I noticed a few asking me to compare the two teams. So sure, I'll take my shot at evaluating how they measure up in my first Giants-Jets combo mailbag:

 

Tags: Chris Herndon, Evan Engram, Le'Veon Bell, Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants GM Dave Gettleman (Treated Image by SNY)
Giants GM Dave Gettleman (Treated Image by SNY)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Yes, you still had more questions about what the Giants are doing and what they did in the draft. In Part I of my SNY Giants Mailbag I answered as many as I could with a focus on the offensive side of the ball. Here, in Part II, I'll shift the focus to the defense (mostly) and the Giants GM himself:


Giants have gone a full decade without taking EDGE with either of their 1st 2 picks. Last 4x they did were JPP, Kiwanuka, Tuck and Osi. Had one of the most dominant rushes ever, won 2 SBs. Then they stopped & D has sucked ever since. Formula's clear, why don't they seem to get it/care? -- @WillPresti

I find it hard to defend the Giants' drafting in the last years of the Jerry Reese era. I think you're right, he should've loaded up on pass rushers a little more than he did. In his defense, he thought he had one in 2013 when he drafted Damontre Moore in the third round, and again with Owa Odighizuwa in the third in 2015.

I guess that's not really defending him, since both of them were busts. He did spend $85 million on Olivier Vernon, though.

Tags: Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants GM Dave Gettleman
Giants GM Dave Gettleman

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Dave Gettleman answered a lot of questions about his plan for the Giants with what he did in the NFL Draft last week, but he didn't come close to answering all of them. In fact, you had so many questions remaining about the Giants, I had to again break up this week's mailbag into two parts.

So here is Part I - just a few of the questions you tweeted to me this week, along with my answers. I'll focus on the questions about the offense in Part I of this week's SNY Giants mailbag. Then, I'll answer your defensive questions in Part II:

Tags: Daniel Jones, Jon Halapio, Kevin Zeitler, Nate Solder, Saquon Barkley, Will Hernandez, Ralph Vacchiano
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Evan Engram
Evan Engram

Tight end Evan Engram and safety Jabrill Peppers are both coming back from injuries, but the Giants consider them to be big parts of their future. So it was no surprise on Wednesday night when they picked up both of their fifth-year contract options for 2021.

The moves were long expected, and something of a no-brainer, considering the two young players still come relatively cheap. The option on the 24-year-old Peppers is only $6,770,000. For the 25-year-old Engram, the amount is only $6,013,000.

Those amounts are also only guaranteed for injury. They become fully guaranteed next March, on the first day of the next league year.

Tags: Evan Engram, Ralph Vacchiano
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Joe Douglas answered a lot of questions about his plan for the Jets with what he did in the NFL Draft last week, but he obviously didn't answer all of them.

Here are some of the ones you tweeted to me this week, along with my answers in the latest edition of the SNY Jets Mailbag:

Tags: Jamison Crowder, Le'Veon Bell, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 22, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Giants linebacker Markus Golden (44) reacts during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Sep 22, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Giants linebacker Markus Golden (44) reacts during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants have issued a tender that you might not even heard of on DE Markus Golden.

SNY sources confirmed on Monday that New York has placed a UFA tender on Golden. This doesn't mean that the Giants are interested in bringing Golden back. In fact, all signs continue to point towards him signing elsewhere.

Tags: Markus Golden, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 29, 2019; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) warms up prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Dec 29, 2019; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) warms up prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Last year was supposed to be the big moment for Sam Darnold, when he built on all the promise he showed as a rookie and took the next step to join the NFL's elite. Then mono happened. Then the Jets fell apart. And the quarterback's breakout season turned into a bit of a sophomore slump.

That has pushed Darnold's arrival date to … well, now.

This is the year - or at least it should be - when the world finds out if the Jets are right about their 22-year-old quarterback. He's been very good through his first two years, with many flashes of brilliance. But the Jets traded three second-round picks to draft him third overall in 2018 because they believed he was going to be great.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants GM Dave Gettleman
Giants GM Dave Gettleman

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The NFL draft is over, but the work isn't done.

As soon as the last pick was made, NFL teams got to work filling out their roster with undrafted free agents. Below is a running list of players who intend to sign with the Giants. The names come from various sources -- agents, schools, media reports, other NFL sources, and sometimes even the players themselves.

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Nov 2, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Lawrence Cager (15) flips the ball to a referee against the Florida Gators at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Stamey)
Nov 2, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Lawrence Cager (15) flips the ball to a referee against the Florida Gators at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Stamey)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL draft is over, but the work isn't done.

As soon as the last pick was made, NFL teams got to work filling out their roster with undrafted free agents. Below is a running list of players who intend to sign with the Jets. The names come from various sources -- agents, schools, media reports, other NFL sources, and sometimes even the players themselves.

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Nov 2, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Lawrence Cager (15) flips the ball to a referee against the Florida Gators at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Stamey)
Nov 2, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Lawrence Cager (15) flips the ball to a referee against the Florida Gators at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Stamey)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL draft is over, but the work isn't done.

As soon as the last pick was made, NFL teams got to work filling out their roster with undrafted free agents. Below is a running list of players who intend to sign with the Jets. The names come from various sources -- agents, schools, media reports, other NFL sources, and sometimes even the players themselves.

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Austin Mack
Austin Mack

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL draft is over, but the work isn't done.

As soon as the last pick was made, NFL teams got to work filling out their roster with undrafted free agents. Below is a running list of players who intend to sign with the Giants. The names come from various sources -- agents, schools, media reports, other NFL sources, and sometimes even the players themselves.

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Dec 29, 2019; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Jets head coach Adam Gase looks on against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Dec 29, 2019; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Jets head coach Adam Gase looks on against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There is no win-or-else mandate from Jets ownership, nor is there any indication they have buyers' remorse on their still-new head coach. But there's no doubt about this, now that new GM Joe Douglas has finished his first run through free agency and the NFL Draft:

The pressure is now on Adam Gase.

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Giants GM Dave Gettleman (Treated Image by SNY)
Giants GM Dave Gettleman (Treated Image by SNY)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

This is the draft the Giants have been waiting for since December 0f 2017, when Dave Gettleman was hired as general manager. He vowed then to fix the offensive line. And after two years, he entered this draft vowing to fix it "once and for all."

Then he went out and took three offensive linemen with his first five picks.

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When John Mara announced he was bringing back Dave Gettleman for 2020, he said the Giants GM's "batting average has got to increase." That was especially true as he headed into the NFL Draft.

Gettleman needed a home run.

Tags: Nate Solder, Ralph Vacchiano
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Everyone has seen the YouTube video of Jets fans expressing their anger and experiencing various degrees of pain through the NFL Drafts over the years. It's a classic, and it always resurfaces like an old football injury at this time of the year.

But times, they are a-changing - or at least that's the way it seemed during the first draft with new general manager Joe Douglas in charge. He made what appeared to be great value picks. He made outstanding trades that immediately worked out in his favor.

Tags: Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams, Le'Veon Bell, Marcus Maye, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Nov 30, 2019; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils running back Eno Benjamin (3) against the Arizona Wildcats during the Territorial Cup at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports (Mark J. Rebilas)
Nov 30, 2019; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils running back Eno Benjamin (3) against the Arizona Wildcats during the Territorial Cup at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports (Mark J. Rebilas)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Dave Gettleman went heavy on the offensive line in his first three picks of the NFL Draft, and it's possible he's not done taking Hog Mollies. The Giants have seven more picks to go on Day 3. And the offensive line rebuilding project isn't over yet.

Of course, the Giants have plenty of other needs - like at cornerback, edge rusher and other positions too. And they have seven picks to fill those holes. They have one pick in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds (110th, 150th, and 183rd) on Saturday and four picks in the seventh (218th, 238th, 247th, 255th).

Here are 10 players to watch for the Giants on Day 3:

Tags: Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 15, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Virginia Cavaliers cornerback Bryce Hall (34) celebrates after a stop on fourth down during the second half against the Ohio Bobcats at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Sep 15, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Virginia Cavaliers cornerback Bryce Hall (34) celebrates after a stop on fourth down during the second half against the Ohio Bobcats at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It was hard to beat Joe Douglas' start to his first draft as GM of the Jets, getting the left tackle with the biggest upside in the first round and trading down and still getting a top receiver in the second. He even made a late trade with the Patriots to basically steal three picks.

It was quite the debut, really, but his work isn't finished yet. He inherited a roster filled with holes and he still has to fill a ton of them. The good news is he's now got even more picks to do it - with three picks in the fourth round on Saturday (120th, 125th, and 129th), and one each in the fifth, sixth and seventh (158th, 191st, 211th).

What is Douglas going to do with those six picks? Here are 10 players to watch for the Jets on Day 3:

Tags: Le'Veon Bell, Steven McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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The Giants continued building their offensive line like GM Dave Gettleman said he would, selecting UConn's Matt Peart with the No. 99 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Peart is a developmental prospect who could be playing opposite the No. 4 overall pick in Andrew Thomas on the line one day. 

Here's his grade...

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Jets GM Joe Douglas took a shot in the third round by taking Florida DE/DL Jabari Zuniga.

The stat sheet doesn't jump off the page, but Zuniga has shown flashes of dominance on the defensive line. However, when he returned for his senior season to raise his draft stock, an ankle injury shut down the season after six games. 

So, with much to learn about Zuniga and what he offers the Jets, here's his grade...

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The Jets took Cal S Ashtyn Davis with their first pick in the third round of the NFL Draft. 

Davis' story is an interesting one, as the track star walked on to the football team and worked his way up into a high-impact player that got scouts intrigued. He clearly caught the eye of GM Joe Douglas

So here's Davis' grade...

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Ralph Vacchiano
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The Jets traded down in the second round, but GM Joe Douglas still got his receiver for Sam Darnold, drafting Baylor WR Denzel Mims with the 59th overall pick. 

Mims dazzled at the Scouting Combine with a 4.38 40-yard dash time. And that's at 6-3, 207 pounds. 

So, with Douglas smiling ear to ear after putting in Mims' name card, here's the grade for the pick...

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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After addressing a need on the offensive line in the first round with Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas, Dave Gettleman and the Giants addressed a defensive hole in the second round with Alabama safety Xavier McKinney.

The Giants have had recent success with second-round Alabama safeties, as McKinney follows a similar path to Landon Collins

McKinney could be a starting safety from Day One in the Giants' new-look defense. Here is the grade for the pick ...

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With the 99th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Giants are sticking with another Hog Molly, selecting UConn OT Matt Peart

A Bronx native, Peart knows exactly what football means in the Big Apple. Peart joins Georgia's Andrew Thomas on the offensive line. 

At 6-7, 318 pounds, Peart is a physical specimen who needs some work regarding his technique and fundamentals. However, scouts like how high his ceiling is if he gets the right coaching. Down the road, the Giants could be hoping he projects to be a starter. 

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With the 36th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Giants decided to pad their secondary by taking Alabama S Xavier McKinney

There was a clear hole there next to S Jabrill Peppers, and McKinney could slot right in as the ballhawk they needed. 

The 6-foot, 201-pound McKinney collected three interceptions with three sacks, 95 tackles (5.5 for loss), five passes defended and four forced fumbles last season.

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 (Ron Chenoy)
(Ron Chenoy)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets seemed to put the finishing touches on their offensive line rebuilding project when they drafted tackle Mekhi Becton in the first round on Thursday night. That should allow them to focus on other positions on Day 2.

One of those positions will absolutely be receiver. In fact, it feels like a lock they will take one in the second round.

Tags: Jordan Jenkins, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Nov 23, 2019; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Xavier McKinney (15) returns an interception for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Western Carolina Catamounts at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports (John David Mercer)
Nov 23, 2019; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Xavier McKinney (15) returns an interception for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Western Carolina Catamounts at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports (John David Mercer)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Dave Gettleman may have taken a big step towards fixing the Giants' offensive line, but he knows he's not done yet. His next step -- finding a center - could come as early as the second round.

But the Giants GM also has several other interesting options as he gets set to make the fourth pick of Round 2 (36th overall), and then his pick late in Round 3 (99th). There's a top-rated safety still on the board, as well as a surprising number of edge rushers many projected to go in the first. He has a chance to fill a couple of very big needs.

So who will Gettleman take with his next two picks? Here are 10 players to watch on Day 2 of the NFL Draft...

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It's about time.

Maybe Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons would've been the more exciting pick for the Giants, and maybe in the end he'll turn out to be the better player. But more than two years after vowing to fix the Giants' offensive line, and endless talk about "Hog Mollies" Giants GM Dave Gettleman didn't really have a choice when he made the fourth pick of the NFL Draft on Thursday night.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Size does matter when it comes to offensive linemen, and the Jets got the biggest prize in this draft when they landed Louisville's 6-7, 364-pound Mekhi Becton, whom some scouts thought could turn out to be the best tackle in the entire draft.

And size isn't his only attribute. He shocked many by running a 5.1 in the 40 at the combine and showing off quicker feet than anyone thought he had.

Yes there are issues -- the flagged drug test, his weight -- but the risks are easily outweighed by the reward. And yes, the Jets could have drafted the best receiver in the draft at 11, but GM Joe Douglas has been right to focus on the offensive line first. He can easily address receiver in Round 2.

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Mekhi Becton
Mekhi Becton

With his first draft pick as Jets GM at No. 11 on Thursday night, Joe Douglas took Louisville's Mekhi Becton.

Of the "Big Four" offensive linemen, Becton was viewed by many as the one most likely to fall to the Jets. And when he did, they pounced.

The debate leading up to the draft was over whether the Jets should go for offensive line help or select a wide receiver to add an infusion of talent to a receiving corps that leaves a lot to be desired. 

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Dave Gettleman said it all when he explained why he picked Georgia OT Andrew Thomas.

"We wanted to fix this offensive line once and for all," he said. He's been talking about it since his first day as the Giants general manager, and this might have been his most significant step.

In the 6-5, 315-pound Thomas they get a guy they believe will be their left tackle for the next 5-10 years - even if he ends up as the starting right tackle as a rookie. A three-year starter at Georgia, he has every physical trait needed in an anchor tackle, and the necessary experience in the SEC.

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Giants GM Dave Gettleman (Treated Image by SNY)
Giants GM Dave Gettleman (Treated Image by SNY)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

As the hours tick away until the start of the first round of the NFL Draft, the Giants' preference is still what it's been for weeks. They want to trade down, not up. In fact, they're trying to trade down, according to multiple sources, just as they have been for a while.

It's just not clear if they'll be able to do it. Also unknown is how far they'd be willing to go.

The best guess around the league is that the Giants don't want to leave the Top 10, which would virtually assure them of getting one of the "Big Four" tackles. Anything lower and the package would have to be overwhelming.

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Jets GM Joe Douglas
Jets GM Joe Douglas

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets' draft history is so bad that Joe Douglas' honeymoon figures to be a short one. He can't possibly be instantly judged on his first draft class, but that's probably exactly what some skeptical fans are going to do.

They are hoping for success, or at least a first round that doesn't make them scream in agony and throw up their hands. They want a first-round pick they can be proud of, rally around, and feel confident that it was a good one. Image may not be everything when it comes to the long-term success of a prospect, but Douglas -- who holds the 11th overall pick on Thursday night -- is about to learn that first impressions matter, especially in New York.

So how can he make his first dive into the shark-infested waters of Jets draft history a good one -- or, at the very least, a safe one? Here's some advice on what he and the Jets need to do to make sure the first round is a success.

Tags: Le'Veon Bell, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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