It’s that time again. Senior Bowl Week in Mobile has gotten underway, which means the NFL Draft will be here before we know it. In roughly three months, the New York Jets will have an opportunity to continue adding young talent and build on a big-time haul put together by Joe Douglas in 2022.
Before diving into this mock draft, it is worth noting a few things. I used the Pro Football Network Mock Draft Simulator. In this mock, six picks were made, all in the first six rounds, which is obviously something most Jets fans are not expecting to be the case following a probable trade for a veteran quarterback. No trades were made.
Each selection made was based on value, trying to find the best player at positions the Jets currently could use an upgrade. Lastly, while mock drafts before free agency may not offer the most value from an accuracy standpoint, the point is to just start getting accustomed to who some of the prospects the Jets could be looking at are.
Without further ado, let’s get into this mock draft for the 2023 Jets.
2023 New York Jets Senior Bowl Week Mock Draft:
Round 1, Pick 13: Peter Skoronski- OL, Northwestern
Prior to any moves for a quarterback that could potentially involve the Jets’ 13th pick, Peter Skoronski, Northwestern offensive linema,n will likely be one of the Jets’ popular picks with the first selection.
After their quarterback concerns, the Jets have a clear, dire need along the offensive line. Skoronski fit the bill from a best player available outlook while addressing a top position of concern across the Jets roster.
Over the last three years at Northwestern, Skoronski played in 33 games, gaining quality experience. The junior is listed at 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds.
As a player, he is highly touted for his athleticism which translated to high-level pass protection. His main concerns come from a lack of arm length, which is why some evaluators feel he is better suited at guard in the NFL. It is worth noting though, that the Jets drafted Alijah Vera-Tucker, who did not meet the arm length thresholds and still excelled at both tackle positions last year. The guard/tackle flexibility of Skoronski could once again be appealing to Douglas.
Skoronski is one of if not the best offensive line prospect in the 2023 NFL draft. He would be a great pick for the Jets in the first round. The other player strongly in consideration here was Alabama slot cornerback/safety prospect, Brian Branch.
Round 2, Pick 44: Rashee Rice- WR, SMU
With the strong possibility that the Jets move on from wide receiver, Corey Davis, to free up cap space this offseason, a need for a possession receiver gets addressed with strong value here in SMU wide receiver, Rashee Rice.
Rice spent the last four years at SMU and played in 44 games. He is listed at 6-foot-2, 203 pounds, and has great arm, 33 1/4″ length. Over his four years at SMU, Rice totaled 233 catches, 3,111 yards (13.4 per catch), and 25 touchdowns. Rice had nine touchdowns in 2021 and 10 in 2022. He had a longest catch of at least 55 yards each of his four college seasons. Lastly, from a production standpoint, Rice was utterly dominant in 202,2 posting a stat line of 96 catches, 1,355 yards (14.1 per catch and 112.9 per game), with a biggest play of 75 yards.
With the size Rice is gifted with physically, he has quality ball skills at the catch point as a contested-catch receiver. Along with Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore, Rice is prolific with the football in his hands after the catch. Also, he has impressive athletic ability with speed and quickness for someone of his bigger size.
His height, weight, and length make him a threat over the middle of the field on the intermediate level of the Jets’ passing game, where Davis has been a core contributor. They also need someone with Rice’s size catch radius in the red zone. Rice is certainly one worth watching at the Senior Bowl this week, as he would be a terrific pick for the Jets here.
Round 3, Pick 74: Luke Wypler- C, Ohio State
Another offensive pick here. The Jets get a potential long-term answer for themselves at center with Ohio State prospect, Luke Wypler.
Wypler spent his three years of college at Ohio State and gained tons of experience in the last two seasons. He is well-respected for his hand technique. Wypler attained tons of success over the past two years as a pass blocker. Athletically, Wypler has good quickness and lateral movement. He would fit the zone running scheme that new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is expected to bring.
As a prospect, Wypler can still grow and add some more strength. It would be perfect if the Jets either re-sign Connor McGovern or add another veteran on a shorter-term deal and allow Wypler to develop for a year and then take over.
Georgia free safety Christopher Smith was the other player in contention here.
Round 4, Pick 112: Zacch Pickens- DT, South Carolina
Finally, some defense. Aside from Quinnen Williams, the Jets do not currently have a defensive tackle under contract. Knowing the way that Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich have rotated the defensive line over the last two years, three tackles will have to be added this offseason. One will likely come from the draft.
Zacch Pickens spent his four years of college at South Carolina and gained tons of experience, playing 47 games. The Jets’ interior defensive line could use both some size and some help stopping the run. Pickens brings just that.
He is listed at 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds with 34″ arm length. Pickens has not only the size but the power and play strength to hold his own up front. From there, Pickens has the quickness of the ball as a pass rusher to fit the Jets’ one-gapping front.
The main concerns with Pickens come from his counter moves as a pass rusher and his ability to take on double teams. However, the Jets would just need Pickens to come in as a rotational defensive line contributor early on as someone with some size who could plug the run.
The other player strongly considered here was Texas linebacker, DeMarvion Overshown.
Round 5, Pick 145: Jay Ward- S, LSU
The Jets address their need for a safety here with someone who happens to have some versatility, in Jay Ward from LSU.
Ward spent his four years of college at LSU and played in 46 games, starting 20 over the last two years. He possesses some physical gifts, listed at 6-foot-2 with 32″ arm length. From there, Ward has displayed some good ball skills, with his best production coming in 2020 when he had career bests in interceptions, with three, and passes defended, with nine, despite only getting three starts.
Aside from ball production, the Jets could use a safety with some man coverage ability. Ward has the speed and change of direction traits athletically. He played both outside and slot cornerback at LSU. He is also respected for his downhill aggression.
Ward can improve on his pursuit angles and tackling but offers some specific skills that the Jets need to add at safety. He is in Mobile this week for the Senior Bowl.
Round 6, Pick 185: Andrei Iosivas- WR, Princeton
Andrei Iosivas is one polarizing draft prospect whose value,e when all is said and don,e could be well before the 185th pick. He not only has ideal size, listed at 6-foot-3 and 200 pound,s but his calling card is his blazing speed. Some have reported his 40-yard dash time has hit 4.29 seconds.
The Jets could use a deep threat with pure speed to complete their passing game, and Iosivas would provide just that. Beyond just speed, height, and weight, Iosivas has length which gives him a big catch radius. Down the field, he also has shown body control and the tracking skills to finish plays on the ball. He has exhibited strong hands at the catch point and play strength with the football in his hands after the catch.
Iosivas is an elite athlete and the perfect mid to late-round prospect to develop. He is also at the Senior Bowl this week and could be a huge riser throughout the draft process.
New York Jets Mock Draft final takeaways:
In the end, four offensive prospects and two on defense. Offensively, two wide receivers and two offensive linemen, one with tackle and guard versatility and the other a center exclusively. On the defensive side, a defensive tackle and safety.
- Peter Skoronski, OL
- Rashee Rice, WR
- Luke Wypler, C
- Zacch Pickens, DT
- Jay Ward, S
- Andrei Iosivas, WR
The Jets get two players at the top in Skoronski and Rice, who can come in and help this offense that needs it right away. From there, Wypler is one of the best centers in this class that can ideally develop. Lastly, in rotational roles early on, Pickens, Ward, and Iosivas provide depth while all having some physical gifts to get better over time.
All in all, most of the Jets’ top needs are addressed here but with strong value and a few safe, young prospects.