Now that free agency is in the rearview mirror, Jets general manager Joe Douglas turns his full attention to his bread and butter, the NFL Draft. After trading Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers the whole world understands (or should) that BYU quarterback Zach Wilson will be the Jets’ new signal-caller. The intriguing aspect of draft night for New York will be what they do with the 23rd pick in the first round. This is the first of the picks the Jets received as compensation for trading disgruntled safety Jamal Adams to Seattle.
Let’s take a stroll around the internet to see who some of the draft experts are currently mocking the Jets with their second pick in round one.
Daniel Jeremiah NFL Network, Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
Ojulari would be a good fit opposite Carl Lawson off the edge in Robert Saleh’s defense.Daniel Jeremiah
While Ojulari, lined up opposite Lawson would be an enticing proposition, in this mock draft the Jets would be passing over Oklahoma State offensive tackle, Teven Jenkins. I doubt Jenkins will fall to the 23rd pick, but if he does he will not get past Gang Green. As a rookie, the former Oklahoma State Cowboy could move inside to guard before becoming the Jets full-time right tackle in 2022.
Peter Schrager NFL Network, Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Moore is a beast and a nightmare to tackle after the catch. He’s neither a burner nor a huge physical specimen, but he fits everything the Jets are looking to be.Peter Schrager
Surrounding newly drafted quarterback Wilson with weapons makes a ton of sense. Minnesota pass-catcher Rashod Bateman was still on the board as was Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore, if Douglas wants to add to the receiver room with this pick, he should have several dynamic players to choose from.
Clay Smarslok Play Like a Jet, Tevan Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
They should be willing to get Zach Wilson as much help upfront as possible and so far there have been no changes to the offensive line this offseason. Jenkins is a short-term fix at either left or right guard and hopefully the long-term solution at right tackle.Clay Smarslok
New York can not repeat the sins that led to Darnold being shipped off before finishing out his rookie contract. Douglas would dance the card up to the podium if Jenkins fell to them, is turning in a card still a thing? Probably not but uStadium has heard the Jets really like Jenkins.
Sam Monson, Pro Football Focus, Asante Samuel Jr, CB, Florida State
Samuel has some elite traits that will go a long way toward making up for his lack of size. He has some of the slickest change-of-direction skills you will see at the position, and he can come out of his backpedal and drive on the football in an absolute instant.Sam Monson
The Jets have done nothing to address the gaping hole that is their secondary so far this off-season. New York allowed 4,409 passing yards, fifth-worst, in the NFL last season. Samuel would be a good start but multiple players still need to be added. I would expect the Jets to add a corner either with this pick or with their first pick in the second round.
Trevor Sikkema, The Draft Network, Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Prior to his second back surgery, Farley was a projected top-12 pick. But with this being the second time Farley has had back surgery, it raises some durability questions, as back injuries can be tricky. The Jets, who have plenty of draft picks over the next few years, can afford to take a chance and maybe hit the lottery at a position of need.Trevor Sikkema
The Jets medical staff would have to sign off on Farley and Douglas would have to be very confident in their assessment of the injury if he were to select the former Virginia Tech Hokie. Farley could likely be off some team’s draft boards causing a once-unthinkable scenario where he could be still on the board at 23. If he stays healthy and never has back issues during his career this could be a big win for the Jets. With all the missed picks in recent Jets’ drafts, Farely’s injury history would scare me and I would struggle to pick him here. The argument here is that New York has lots of picks so they can afford to take chances. I would say that the Jets have so many needs, that they have to hit on as many picks as possible, and taking a guy with an injury history should not be in the plans this year.
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN, Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
Newsome has been a riser over the past month; his 2020 tape is phenomenal, and he had a great pro-day workout. He fits well with what Saleh wants in his corners.Mel Kiper Jr.
Newsome would be a solid choice here for Douglas and seems to be a scheme fit for the new coaching staff. Gang Green will likely have to select two corners in this draft, so picking one early would be a smart move.
Protect the new quarterback
Opinions vary as to who the Jets will take with the 23rd pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. New York still has plenty of needs, interior offensive line and cornerback are chief among them. The Jets did not address those two positions with any significant upgrades in free agency so I would expect them to be a high priority early in the draft.
Protecting Wilson needs to be priority number one. Ideally need matches up with value and Jenkins is on the board when the Jets are on the clock at 23. Jenkins allowed just four pressures on 211 pass-blocking snaps last season according to Pro Football Focus. The six-foot-six, 320-pound tackle could swing inside to guard in 2021.