ROBBINS NEST, The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com
By Lenn Robbins
Sin City might have become Win City for the Jets and Giants.
Both New York franchises came into the NFL Draft in Las Vegas with glaring holes and high draft picks – creating a perfect opportunity for success – or failure. Both succeeded.
The Jets nabbed one of the two best cornerbacks in the draft, one of the three best receivers, and, by busting back into the first round, snagged a pass-rushing end who could be as good as any.
Using the No.4 pick on Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner gives the Jets a defensive back to matchup against the elite receivers in the league. And he might be facing one every day in practice in Ohio State wideout Garrett Wilson, who the Jets took with the No.10 pick.
That would have been a sensational draft but it would have left Gang Green fans yearning for the kind of pass-rushing end that coach Robert Salah is said to crave. The night was far from over. The Jets sent a second, third and fifth round pick in this year’s draft to the Titans for the 26th pick, because one stud edge rusher was still available.
The Jets used that pick on Florida State end Jermain Johnson II. Johnson played at Georgia, which owned the first round with five defensive players picked, before transferring to the Seminoles. He was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year with 12 sacks, 18 tackles for loss and 70 tackles overall.
Was he the best rush edge in the draft? That debate might be answered at MetLife Stadium.
Because the Giants used their first pick, No.5 overall, on Oregon rush end Kayvon Thibodeaux. Thibodeaux was once the No.1 prep recruit in the nation and flashes incredible speed and burst. Questions – fair or not – about his passion for the game, made him one of the most intriguing players in the top of the draft.
But the Giants bigger need was on offense, specifically the offensive line. The board couldn’t have fallen better for Big Blue. Alabama tackle, Evan Neal, a 6-7, 337-pound New Jersey highway divider, could give the Giants a 10-year tackle and certainly a security blanket for QB Daniel Jones.
Imagine the practices at Giants camp with Thibodeaux going against Neal.
If you prefer perimeter battles over scrimmage showdowns, slide over to Jets camp and behold the missile launch and defense systems as work as Wilson and Gardner battle for passes.
For one night, even if it was in Las Vegas, the Jets and Giants were the big winners.