On the eve of the 2014 NFL Draft, teams are still working hard to find the best ways to fill in their roster’s holes. The New York Jets and Giants are no exception, as they have each made significant additions this offseason, but still have glaring weaknesses.
Gang Green has been relatively busy this offseason, signing star wide receiver Eric Decker to a five-year contract worth an average annual salary of $7.25 million. Though Decker is a nice addition, they will still need another solid option at the wide receiver position.
They didn’t stop there, as they inked four-time pro-bowl quarterback Michael Vick to a one-year, $5 million contract. His main role will be to provide a helping hand to fellow quarterback Geno Smith and to serve as a viable back-up option
The Jets also boosted their running game with the addition of veteran running back Chris Johnson, who is best known for his 2oo9 season, in which he rushed for 2,006 yards.
Johnson, along with Chris Ivory, will hopefully allow the Jets’ running game return to elite status.
Big Blue has signed a few nice players so far this offseason such as cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who made three interceptions and thirty-three tackles for the Broncos last season. He will likely be covering the each opponents best receiver.
Other notable signings include the return of wide receiver Mario Manningham on a one-year deal and the addition of former Oakland Raiders’ running back Rashad Jennings.
Here are two of our experts’ picks for the Jets and Giants.
New York Giants: Zack Martin, OT Notre Dame
Essentially, the New York Giants have four major team needs that have to be addressed during the NFL Draft: linebacker, wide receiver, tight end, and offensive line. However, out of those four positions the offensive line is the only one that will have a player worth taking available at the 12th pick.
At linebacker, there is a good chance that Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr will have already been selected, and reaching down for C.J. Mosely or Ryan Shazier is too much of a stretch.
The same could be said for the wide receiver position, as aside from Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans (who will likely not be available) lacks any other talent worth taking 12th overall.
At tight end, the only player worth taking in the top 20 is Eric Ebron, although he will likely be snatched up by either the Buffalo Bills or Detroit Lions.
This leaves offensive line. Zack Martin would be a perfect fit for Big Blue with his incredible talent and versatility, as he is learning how to play guard along with offensive tackle. The Giants do not know how Justin Pugh will develop or how much longer Will Beatty will be on the team, so having someone like Martin who can play tackle and guard is extremely beneficial. He
Martin possesses quick hands and excellent footwork which will help him succeed at the next level. Although his 6’4” frame isn’t the ideal body size for an offensive tackle, his amazing intangibles and natural leadership more than make up for his less than stellar size.
Fellow OT Taylor Lewan might also make sense with this pick, although his lack of versatility, off-the-field problems, and the possibility that he might not even be available makes Zack Martin a much more enticing and probable pick.
New York Jets: Brandin Cooks, WR Oregon State
The Jets desperately need offensive fire power to help support sophomore quarterback Geno Smith.
Last year, they ranked 31st in the league for passing offense, and if they wish to make it to the playoffs next year, it must improve. Perhaps the solution lies in Oregon State product Brandin Cooks.
He possesses a unique combination of blazing speed and reliable hands, which is a rare and dynamic tandem. Although Cooks has a smaller build (5’10”, 189 lbs.) which results in less strength and a smaller target, he makes up for it with his amazing ability to make plays on the ball.
Cooks can adjust to all kinds of inaccurate passes, a gift that will be more than beneficial for a developing quarterback like Geno Smith.
Though his inadequate size and strength may serve as a problem for him in the NFL, the pros of drafting him easily outweigh the cons.
Other feasible draft picks include tight end Eric Ebron and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., although both have the potential to be drafted ahead of the 18th pick. On the other hand, if both Beckham Jr. and Cooks are available, John Idzik and the Jets will be faced with a difficult decision. However, Cooks serves as the most plausible and beneficial draft pick for the New York Jets.