How has the New York Jets’ performance over the first five weeks affected a fateful draft? ESM investigates.
Football fans and analysts alike will find any excuse to make a mock draft, no matter how soon or how far away the legitimate selection meeting is. With the New York Jets having reach their league-mandated open date, now might be one of the few times an in-season mock draft will hit the spot for both casual and die-hard observers alike.
Using the draft board determined by Tankathon, as dictated by the standings entering Week 6 action, ESM unveils a fall mock draft with a special focus on the Jets’ hypothetical selections…
4th overall: RT Evan Neal, Alabama
Joe Douglas’ offensive line revolution has produced mixed results from an inconsistent veteran class (Connor McGovern, George Fant, Greg Van Roten) and rookie arrivals full of promise (Mekhi Becton, Alijah Vera-Tucker).
The pre-bye slate has made it clear that the wall in front of Zach Wilson (sacked 18 times so far) isn’t complete. A combination of a surprisingly stout defense and medical developments abroad allows the Jets to continue construction to continue. Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton has been a popular projection to the Jets’ first slot, especially with so much uncertainty surrounding Marcus Maye. But the uncertain future ahead of Jeff Okudah and his ruptured Achillies may have Detroit (current holders of the No. 2 pick that yielded Wilson last spring) looking into his services.
While the Jets seem to be set on Wilson’s blind side through the first-round selections Becton and Vera-Tucker, drafting the massive Neal (6 feet 7 inches, 360 lbs.) would help fortify the right side. Morgan Moses has held down the fort well but is signed to only a one-year deal. Adding a homegrown talent on the right side for the long-term would welcome in the next step of the offense’s maturity. Already ranking as one of the top blockers in the class of 2022 (a battle staged with fellow SEC rep Kenyon Green and Iowa interior man Tyler Linderbaum), Neal has united size with strong athetlicism in Tuscaloosa. Such nimbleness should help him quickly adjust to the NFL game.
12th overall (from Seattle): EDGE Drake Jackson, USC
The Seahawks’ surprisingly slow start has afforded the Jets two picks among the first dozen after the first five weeks. Time will tell if the final yield from the Jamal Adams trade remains this high, but such a posting in the early going affords the Jets an opportunity to address needs on both sides of the ball. They took care of the Great Wall of Wilson at No. 4, so which defensive area should be addressed eight picks later?
The early stages of this season has revealed the defensive identity the Jets are hoping to create: one that makes quarterbacks uncomfortable and invades backfields. Such a cause could’ve been delayed by the loss of Carl Lawson, but several names have stepped up in his absence. Nothing has driven the point home better than the shiny, new, expensive contract extension bestowed to John Franklin-Myers. With some pleasant surprises peppered in the secondary (i.e. Bryce Hall, Michael Carter II, Brandin Echols), they can continue bolstering the front seven.
Drafting a USC pass rusher could conjured some sour green memories: the last such Trojan to be drafted in the first round is 2015 arrival Leonard Williams. He’s still in New York, albeit in blue rather than green. Jackson is powerful enough to risk re-opening those wounds as one of the most versatile edge men in the class. His strength and speed (boasting a 4.5 40-time) make him an attractive option, as does his ability to cover receivers in the slot.
The Full First Round
|1. Jacksonville||EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon|
|2. Detroit||S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame|
|3. Houston||QB Malik Willis, Liberty|
|4. JETS||T Evan Neal, Alabama|
|5. Philadelphia (from MIA)||CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU|
|6. Philadelpha (from IND)||G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M|
|7. NY Giants||IOL Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa|
|8. Philadelphia||LB Christian Harris, Alabama|
|9. Atlanta||QB Matt Corral, Mississippi|
|10. New England||CB Kaiir Elam, Florida|
|11. Miami (from SF)||T Sean Rhyan, UCLA|
|12. JETS||EDGE Drake Jackson, USC|
|13. Washington||QB Sam Howell, North Carolina|
|14. Minnesota||EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan|
|15. Pittsburgh||CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson|
|16. Kansas City||EDGE Geroge Karlaftis, Purdue|
|17. Cincinnati||T Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State|
|18. New Orleans||WR Chris Olave, Ohio State|
|19. Tennessee||TE Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M|
|20. Denver||EDGE Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati|
|21. Carolina||S Jordan Battle, Alabama|
|22. NY Giants (from CHI)||EDGE Zach Harrison, Ohio State|
|23. Cleveland||DT DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M|
|24. Detroit (from LAR)||WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State|
|25. Las Vegas||CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati|
|26. Buffalo||RB Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M|
|27. Tampa Bay||EDGE Adam Anderson, Georgia|
|28. Green Bay||WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas|
|29. LA Chargers||G Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State|
|30. Dallas||S Brandon Joseph, Northwestern|
|31. Baltimore||T Rasheed Walker, Penn State|
|32. Arizona||T Zion Nelson, Miami (FL)|
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags