Potentially transformational classes could set Giants, Jets on new course

What is obvious, in that quote and in this draft’s selections, is what has been absent in the past: the Jets and Giants now have braintrusts that are in alignment. Even Jets owner Woody Johnson admitted recently that was not always the case at his team. The Giants probably set themselves back at least two years when, following the 2019 season, they did not clean house, instead retaining general manager Dave Gettleman after firing coach Pat Shurmur.

The Jets might have simply had the best draft in the league, selecting perhaps the best cornerback (Sauce Gardner, No. 4 overall), receiver (Garrett Wilson, No. 10 overall) and running back (Breece Hall, No. 36 overall) in the entire class.

As for the Giants, new GM Joe Schoen and new head coach Brain Daboll came from Buffalo together this offseason, and they clearly viewed the draft through a similar lens. The home-run first-round picks seem obvious now, but before the draft, there was some question about whether Thibodeaux’s big personality would fit in the Giants’ organization. Schoen made an observation that suggested the Giants, often perceived as one of the most old-school, conservative franchises in the league, may also be revamping their mindset. Schoen noted that college players and their experiences were changing, in some part because of their ability to earn money off their likenesses while in school.

“We have to evolve,” Schoen said.

In the second round, the Giants picked up a diminutive slot receiver – Wan’Dale Robinson – at No. 43, higher than most expected him to go. Robinson, Schoen said, is a “generator,” a player who can get open and create space and work in Daboll’s offense, the way similarly-sized receivers Cole Beasley and Isaiah McKenzie did in Buffalo. Schoen was picking players others may not have valued as highly, but who fit what Daboll needs.

In the days leading up to the draft, Schoen and Daboll game-planned a series of first-round scenarios. Schoen walked around with magnets in his pocket, designed for each player at the top of the round. He would repeatedly take the magnets out and switch around their order, preparing for what would happen, no matter how the top spots went. They had contingency plans and contingencies for those contingencies.

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