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So much at stake for Giants and Jets in NFL Draft

Leslie Monteiro



The NFL Draft buzz is at its zenith in the northeast with the Giants drafting at No. 2 and the Jets drafting at No. 3 to start the first round Thursday night. There has been excitement and speculation about it since the NFL season ended.

After months of speculation and research on the players, it’s time for the Giants and Jets to make their decision. It’s dilly dilly time for both New York football teams who need to get it right in jumpstarting themselves after awful football in recent years.

To say getting it right for both New York franchises is not hyperbole. It’s a pick that will impact both franchises for 10 years. It’s a pick that will define the tenure of Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan and Giants general manager Dave Gettleman.


For Maccagnan, this draft pick will definitely define him. He traded up for the No. 3 slot, so that the Jets can get a quarterback. It was something he had to do before other teams beat him in drafting a quarterback that he desired. He knows all along that he needed to draft a quarterback in this year’s draft, and he gets his chance.

The fourth-year Jets general manager will never be confused as a personnel man who knows quarterbacks. Not when he has had it wrong with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg as his draft picks for quarterbacks in recent years. That has to be a concern when he makes his selection for the No. 3 pick.

Unless the Cleveland Browns have second thoughts about USC quarterback Sam Darnold or the Giants draft Saquon Barkley as NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones reports it will likely happen, Maccagnan will have a choice of either UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield or Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen.

All three quarterbacks have a chance to be as good as Darnold, but it could be any of the quarterbacks could be a bust. Maccagnan and his staff spent so many months observing these quarterbacks, so by now they have to have a clue on who they will draft.

No one knows how any of the quarterbacks will do. It will take three or four years until we really have our answer. With that said, Maccagnan does not have time to wait. He has to get it right as soon as he can for him to stay on as the Jets general manager. At the least, the quarterback has to show promise quickly.

The saying goes three strikes and you are out. Think of Maccagnan as a baseball hitter that is facing a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth inning and runners in scoring position. He needs to get a hit that would tie or win the game or his team loses the game. The point of this baseball analogy is there won’t be a fourth opportunity for the Jets general manager to get a quarterback after whiffing on Petty and Hackenberg, so lot is riding on this pick.

As for Gettleman, if he messes up with his pick, he won’t be fired, but it would not be a good look if he drafts Barkley and other quarterbacks shine for their respective teams.

There has been speculation on who the first-year Giants general manager will draft, but no one really knows. It’s hard to believe he even knows what he will do. Right now, it could be a smokescreen that he drafts Barkley despite Jones’ report.

There’s no question the Giants need a quarterback. Eli Manning is 37 years old, and he is not going to play forever. His last few years have been awful, which he has thrown so many interceptions and three-and-outs. It was so bad that former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo decided to bench his quarterback for Geno Smith, and that move blew up on him, as he got fired a week after he made the decision to bench the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

With that said, Gettleman has not been sold that any of the quarterbacks in this year’s class will be a difference maker. He has a point, but if the quarterbacks do well, he is going to be second-guessed. As good as Barkley is, running backs have a short shelf life as a result of the wear and tear on their body through being pounded. If they can play six or seven years, it’s a great career. That remains to be seen. Still would rather take a chance a quarterback with potential.

Now there’s no guarantee any of the quarterbacks will play that long since we have no idea how good they are, but if any of them or all of them do well, Gettleman will be second-guessed. It comes with the territory in pro sports where everything is at stake.

He better have a strong conviction on whoever he picks. He has been evaluating talent in the NFL for a long time now, so the Giants have to figure he knows what he is doing.

All eyes will be on Maccagnan and Gettleman. This is what they are being paid for in finding the right guy that can be the face of their franchise for the next 10 years.

When their teams are picked high in the draft, the expectation is to get it right. There’s no gray area.

It’s been six months of research and interviews. It’s now time for the Giants and Jets to show their cards.

All eyes will be on both teams locally and nationally.

Leslie Monteiro is a syndicated sports columnist who writes about the Tri-State area teams for the Upstate Courier. He is based in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and can be reached on Twitter @MongoGoesInSane.