Jets, Giants find defensive playmakers

The Serby Mock 1.0 unveils an NFL draft in which no one needed to suck for a Luck or tank for a Tua or a Trevor.

At most, just two quarterbacks go here in the top 10, and the Giants, with their two premium picks and a new general manager, should consider one if the new regime falls in love with one. The Jets, with their two premium picks, obviously won’t consider one.

Both the Giants and Jets address the trenches and both add defensive playmakers in Serby Mock 1.0.

Picks 1-10:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Evan Neal (OT, Alabama)

When Trevor Lawrence is your quarterback, you build a wall in front of him, and this is a one-man wall. LT Cam Robinson could be headed to free agency, but even if he stays, the new head coach can plug him in on the right side at tackle or guard. In Neal, we’re talking about an athletic 6-foot-7, 350-pound human.

2. Detroit Lions

Aidan Hutchinson (DE, Michigan)

Head coach Dan Campbell is looking for a few good kneecap-biting men, and he finds one right in his backyard, a 6-foot-5, 275-pound terminator who plays with a relentless edge. Campbell and GM Brad Holmes are in desperate need of a quarterback, but this is the wrong draft to get one in this spot. They also need a receiver or two to supplement rising star Amon-Ra St. Brown. Of course, when you record a paltry 30 sacks, you pounce on a stud, whether Aaron Rodgers stays in Green Bay or not.

Derek Stingley makes a play on the ball.

3. Houston Texans

Kayvon Thibodeaux (DE, Oregon)

The Trevor Lawrence we saw this rookie season will not be the Trevor Lawrence who will be tormenting the AFC South across the decade. GM Nick Caserio, and whomever he decides will be his head coach, could sure use a 6-foot-5, 258-pound freak who has drawn comparisons to Myles Garrett and Von Miller. A nice bookend for unheralded DE Jonathan Greenard, who led Houston with eight sacks in 2021. Reinforcements will be on the way once Deshaun Watson is traded. Reaching for a quarterback here isn’t feasible. For now, it looks like Davis Mills’ team in 2022.

4. New York Jets

Derek Stingley Jr. (CB, LSU)

Remember, GM Joe Douglas has a pair of picks in the second round too, where he can maybe nab a pass rusher to join Carl Lawson Jr. and wide receiver who reminds no one of Denzel Mims. Stingley missed 13 games over the past two seasons and underwent foot surgery in October. But his 2019 tape revealed a 6-foot-1, 194-pound shutdown corner. Maybe one day the GOAT would ask for his autograph postgame.

5. New York Giants

Charles Cross (OT, Mississippi State)

A new GM should make it a top priority to fix the offensive line (where have we heard that before?) There is discussion about Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett, as there should be, given the questions, physical and otherwise, about Daniel Jones. Cross is a 6-foot-5, 310-pound pass protector and bookend to Andrew Thomas on the right side to replace Nate Solder (and Matt Peart’s uncertainty). The irony is that Joe Judge would have been his head coach last season if he hadn’t been hired in 2020 by the Giants.

NFL Draft
Charles Cross

6. Carolina Panthers

Kenny Pickett (QB, Pitt)

This could happen if owner David Tepper and head coach Matt Rhule are left holding the bag after failing to land a premier veteran quarterback. They could also explore a trade down, unless they ultimately decide to disagree with the consensus that this would be a reach. They could also entertain trade offers for Christian McCaffrey, because the O-line is in dire straits. Sam Darnold can serve as the sacrificial lamb until Pickett is ready. Never forget that quarterbacks almost always get pushed up the draft boards of desperados. Pickett reminds Mel Kiper of Derek Carr.

7. New York Giants

David Ojabo (DE/OLB, Michigan)

The new GM will be well versed in the franchise’s tradition of pass rushers, and the 6-foot-5, 250-pound predator is a late bloomer who blossomed this season for Jim Harbaugh. He and Azeez Ojulari would be double-trouble to help Leonard Williams put the heat on quarterbacks.

David Ojabo
Getty Images

8. Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Hamilton (S, Notre Dame)

Head coach Arthur Smith could consider a quarterback of the future, but Arthur Blank committed financially this season to Matt Ryan, and there are countless holes to fill everywhere — including on the offensive line and at wide receiver, with Julio Jones gone and Calvin Ridley’s future a mist. But when you are dead last in the league with 18 sacks, a pass rusher would be nice. The debate here is Hamilton or Derek Stingley Jr. A 6-foot-4, 220-pound chess piece-playmaker by split decision to help A.J. Terrell defend against Tom Brady.

9. Denver Broncos

Matt Corrall (QB, Mississippi)

The new head coach will watch the Drew Lock tape and reach the conclusion that he would like his own quarterback — which would be advisable since Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Carr live in the AFC West. The weapons — Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, Javonte Williams — are there. The triggerman is all that’s missing.

10. New York Jets

George Karlaftis (DE, Purdue)

Robert Saleh needs a bookend for Lawson. Karlaftis might not be another Greek Freak, but he’s a 6-foot-4, 275-pound power rusher who would make life easier on Quinnen Williams. Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum could make sense also, and we know Douglas loves him some offensive linemen.