Thursday, December 2News That Matters

The Giants Traded Back in the Draft and, Some Say, Well

Since Gettleman took over as the Giants’ general manager in December of 2017, the franchise has gone 15-33: three seasons with double-digit losses. In 2020 under rookie head coach Joe Judge, the team finished with a 6-10 record and contended for its first postseason berth since 2016, because of the weakness of the N.F.C. East division.

In 2018, Gettleman selected at No. 2 Saquon Barkley, who was sidelined in Week 2 last season with an anterior cruciate ligament tear. The team announced Wednesday that it had picked up Barkley’s fifth-year option. In 2019, the G.M. took with the sixth overall pick the current starter at quarterback, Daniel Jones, who has slowly improved his accuracy after taking over for the two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning.

That year Gettleman also drafted Dexter Lawrence and Deandre Baker, who was waived in September 2020, in the first round. Last year, the Giants chose offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, who started 15 games this year.

Perhaps under less scrutiny and still feeling the afterglow of its first A.F.C. championship appearance since 1993, Buffalo (13-3 in 2020) added defensive end Gregory Rousseau from Miami at No. 30. The Bills have incumbent starters at defensive end, Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison, and can take time developing the 21-year-old Rousseau, who was named the A.C.C.’s defensive rookie of the year as a redshirt freshman in 2019. That year, he had 15.5 sacks — second only to Chase Young’s 16.5 — and won all-conference honors. He was one of many players who opted out of the 2020 college football season amid the pandemic.

“I feel like I really rely on my motor a lot but I’m also going to just keep getting my technique better, and I’m going to just be the best player I can be,” Rousseau told reporters after his selection. “I’m ready to earn the respect of my teammates, my peers, my coaches and everybody in Buffalo — even the fans.”

The Jets also traded up for their second pick in the first round after selecting quarterback Zach Wilson second over all. At No. 14, they gathered Alijah Vera-Tucker, an offensive guard from the University of Southern California, as the team hopes to rebrand its line under new head coach Robert Saleh. They had already traded former starting quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers earlier this month.