Well I managed to completely whiff on both first-round picks for the Giants and Jets. The Giants’ miss was actually defensible — I don’t know anyone who predicted a running back in the first round for the G-Men, much less David Wilson (who?? I know, right?!). But I kicked myself when I saw that the Jets had drafted North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples, who could give the Jets the outside pass rusher they’ve been looking for since Vernon Gholston (the Jets’ 2008 first-round selection) turned out to be a colossal bust.
I actually saw a piece about Coples in Sunday’s New York Post — the Jets had worked him out prior to the draft and raved about his speed off the edge. But I discounted the story in favor of Dontari Poe and Michael Floyd, both of whom were picked before the Jets made their selection. It would have helped to know that coach Rex Ryan apparently promised Coples that the Jets would pick him after he worked out for the team (I would have taken it with a grain of salt because it’s Rex, but still).
As for Wilson, I’m as surprised as you undoubtedly were. Yes, the Giants had the worst rushing offense in the NFL last season, lost Brandon Jacobs to free agency and needed a running back as insurance for injury-prone starter Ahmad Bradshaw. But the consensus was that when it came to the first round, this draft class went one-deep at running back: Alabama’s Trent Richardson, selected by the Browns with the third overall pick.
The selection is vintage Giants, though — draft a super-athletic but raw player in the first or second round and mold him into a Pro Bowler. The strategy worked with Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul, and the jury’s still out on last year’s athletic-but-undisciplined pick, cornerback Prince Amukamara. Wilson is the most athletic runner in the draft, even more than Richardson, because of his Dave Meggett-like lateral quickness. Can he be an effective second back behind Bradshaw? If he can cut down on his fumbles and improve his pass blocking, then yes. The kid had 1,709 yards rushing and nine touchdowns in 13 games last season for Virginia Tech — the talent is obviously there.
More to come next week, when I break down and grade the draft class of both New York teams.