ESM’s Experts Grade the New York Jets’ Draft

Geoff Magliocchetti
New York Jets
NASHVILLE, TN – APRIL 25: The video board shows that the New York Jets have turned in their pick during the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019, at the Draft Main Stage on Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville, TN. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

ESM’s New York Jets experts look back on an eventful three days for Gang Green and pass their opening judgment.

Three days, nine picks, and seemingly infinite transactions later, the New York Jets’ 2020 draft proceedings are complete. 

How did they make out? ESM’s experts weigh in…

Geoff Magliocchetti: B

The concept of immediately grading drafts was tired and unfair before live sports were put on hiatus, but we’ve got nothing better to do, so here it goes…

It’s safe to say that, after Joe Douglas’ first draft at the helm, the Jets improved on all three sides of the ball. The draftings of Mekhi Becton and Denzel Mims are moves that are going to define the most hopeful era the Jets’ perpetual rebuild has seen in a long, long time. No long must their backfield saviors Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell conjure miracles to single-handedly win ball games. Defensively, the team strengthened their depth in both the pass rush (Jabari Zuniga) and the secondary (Bryce Hall). Even special teams enjoyed a must-needed boost. Third-round pick Ashtyn Davis can bolster a return game that sorely missed Andre Roberts (and later hypothetically fill in at safety if Jamal Adams or Marcus Maye depart) while Braden Mann is a great brand of insurance for an offense that struggles to reach the end zone consistently. Further strengthening their secondary depth with veteran Quincy Wilson was also a fine finishing touch.

The three-pick cluster on day three prevents this from being a perfect grade. Expected reliance on James Morgan to be Sam Darnold’s backup is iffy at best after last season’s understudy misadventures. Veteran backups/mentors for Darnold were there for the taking, so picking the young Morgan creates controversy where there is none. Additionally, while a spell option for Bell was necessary, it seemed a bit early to take Perine, especially with choices at need positions like guard Logan Stenberg or cornerback Reggie Robinson still on the board. They managed to salvage the session with another blocker, Charlotte’s Cameron Clark.

Dylan Price: B+

Build the Joe Douglas statue! Okay, not yet, but Joe Douglas had an excellent draft on paper. Douglas started the draft off with the high upside selection of the mountain of a man, Mekhi Becton. He followed that up with a savvy trade down to net an extra third-rounder and still grabbed Denzel Mims. Mims has high upside potential and could be a difference-maker immediately. Douglas grabbed Ashtyn Davis, the freak athlete from Cal. Davis could be the successor to Maye but will be a Swiss Army knife immediately.

La’Mical Perine, Cameron Clark, and Jabari Zuniga were two picks who can slot in as rotational players, but both have high upside. James Morgan was a questionable pick, but the Jets struggled to mount any offensive presence without Darnold. Morgan can at least be a developmental prospect at backup QB. Bryce Hall is a talented corner who may be their best steal because of a sketchy medical history. Braden Mann can be the punter for the long term future because he has a cannon for a leg. Joe Douglas had a B+ draft with significant upside.

Alex Wilson: A

The New York Jets did exactly what they needed to do in the 2020 NFL Draft: protect and support Sam Darnold. Having been sacked over 60 times over the past two seasons, Darnold needed to be prioritized and GM Joe Douglas did exactly that. Drafting Mekhi Becton instantly improves the line and opens up holes for Le’Veon Bell in the run game. If Darnold wasn’t satisfied with Becton in the first round, Douglas added a talented wideout in Denzel Mims in the second. A big, fast pass-catcher who can replicate Robby Anderson’s production and then some. If I were Darnold, I would be one happy camper.

Brendan Carpenter: B

Joe Douglas had a successful draft this past weekend. Taking Mekhi Becton at pick 11 gives them a mammoth of a lineman on the left side. He has some room to grow but could become a great tackle. The best move on Douglas’ part was trading down, though. Originally supposed to be at pick 48, he traded down to pick 59 and still got his receiver in Denzel Mims, someone Sam Darnold needed. Also, rather than picking a “possibility player” to end his night, he traded the pick for up-and-down veteran CB Quincy Wilson.