Only 108 days to go until the moment when the Giants and Jets both are most relevant every year.
Two miserable football seasons ended with losses Sunday, which officially turned the page to the NFL draft. And there’s needed optimism there because New York will be the center of the football world on April 28 when the teams make four picks in the top 10, including once back-to-back.
The Jets will select No. 4 and No. 10 and the Giants will select No. 5 and No. 7, according to Tankathon.com, after both finishing the season with identical 4-13 records. It was a three-team tie for the No. 3 selection, but the Texans played the weakest schedule, followed by the Jets, then the Giants.
“The things we have to correct we’re going to start on immediately,” Giants coach Joe Judge said, “going forward in the future and start on next season.
A couple of trades are responsible for the other valuable picks.
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman traded back from No. 11 to No. 20 in last year’s first round, picking up the Bears’ first-rounder in 2022 even though his status on the hot seat meant he might be benefiting his successor. That possibility will become reality Monday, after Gettleman’s goodbye included silently walking past as The Post asked for comment on his future following a 22-7 loss to Washington.
The trade should be one of the best things in Gettleman’s four-year tenure (there isn’t much competition), but there’s potential for disaster based on Kadarius Toney’s injury-plagued rookie season and the decision to pass on burgeoning stars Micah Parsons (Cowboys) and Rashawn Slater (Chargers) at positions of need.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas dealt disgruntled safety Jamal Adams for a premium package of picks including a 2022 first-rounder. The Seahawks — an annual Super Bowl contender — certainly expected the pick to be at the end of the first round instead of No. 10 but finished with their fewest wins since 2009.
The Giants and Jets picked back-to-back in 2018, resulting in Saquon Barkley and Sam Darnold. Neither player progressed as expected, though Barkley still has time to turn the narrative. They both picked offensive tackles — Andrew Thomas and Mekhi Becton — in 2020.
So, what’s on the menu for 2022? More similarities.
With nine picks, including five in the first three rounds, the Giants’ biggest offseason needs are offensive linemen, pass rushers, linebackers and maybe quarterback. With nine picks, including seven in the first four rounds, the Jets’ biggest needs are offensive linemen, pass rushers and cornerbacks.
“The critical first need would be to improve our offensive production,” Judge said. “It wasn’t good enough.”
The top of the draft is expected to be filled with help on both sides of the line of scrimmage, even after the Jaguars (No. 1), Lions (No. 2) and Texans (No. 3) choose. Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson and Purdue’s George Karlaftis are projected as the top pass rushers, while Alabama’s Evan Neal, North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekownu and Mississippi State’s Charles Cross lead the blockers. LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. is the top cornerback.
All those prospects could be pushed down if anyone from an initially mediocre quarterback class shoots up the board to tempt the Lions or Texans.