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Will both Jets and Giants look at defense in first round? Ex-Bears GM says yes

Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo speaks at

Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo speaks at a news conference during training camp. (July 31, 2011) Credit: AP

Come Thursday night, Jerry Angelo thinks New York, New York will go defense, defense.

The former Bears general manager said defense will be the order of the day for both the Jets and the Giants in the first round of the NFL Draft in Chicago.

The Jets revamped their secondary under new general manager Mike Maccagnan but still need a solid edge rusher.

"Their strength is on defense," Angelo said Monday via phone to promote his work with Thuzio. "And in this case, I think I would try to continue to make my strength stronger."

The fact the Jets have a brand new coach who focuses on defense only bolsters Angelo's prediction.

"Obviously, Todd Bowles, that's his expertise," said Angelo, who was the Bears GM from 2001 to 2011. "Usually head coaches try to stay in their comfort zone on draft day, particularly when you're coming in new like Todd."

The Jets have the No. 6 pick.

As for the other New York team, Angelo sees them getting back to what he called "Giant football" with the ninth overall pick. The Giants gave up a league-worst 4.9 yards per carry in 2014, which is why Angelo thinks they'll take a defensive tackle to address that.

"The Giants have always been known for their offensive and defensive lines," he said. "If I had to guess, I would think they'd go with one of those two areas, and I'd be leaning more on the defensive side."

When it comes to the other 30 teams, Angelo sees only a handful of top players -- as well as a potentially wide-open first round.

Angelo came up with 10 players he thinks could make an impact in the early stages of their career: Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Leonard Williams, Vic Beasley, Dante Fowler, Randy Gregory, Amari Cooper, Kevin White, Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon.

"When you look at it, you just try to come up with who are the elite players, regardless of position," Angelo said. "I think they're all talented players. Now, I'm not saying they don't have some concerns, some risks to them. All players are flawed."

Angelo expects those names to be called early in Thursday's first round. After that, though, he says it's anybody's guess.

"I think it's going to be a draft that'll probably go about half of the first round," Angelo said. Once you get out of that half, then it's going to be really need-driven. You may see a player you had in the second round go in the first, and vice versa, because of that."

One player Angelo thinks could make that jump into the first round? Florida State center Cameron Erving. Angelo called Erving a "very multi-talented player" and raved about his ability to make the switch from tackle to center midway through the 2014 season for the Seminoles.

And that was after he came to Florida State as a backup defensive tackle.

"It's very, very difficult to do what he did in such a short period of time," Angelo said. "All that he did is a real testament to the player's talent and character."

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