New York Jets: Final mock drafts from ESM’s experts

As the commissioner prepares to take the podium, ESM’s New York Jets experts put names in the ten slots offered to them in Cleveland.

You’ve endured countless mock drafts leading to this weekend…what’s three more?

As the NFL Draft prepares to welcome 260 names into their league, beginning with 32 on Thursday (8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN/NFL Network), ESM’s New York Jets experts temporarily assume the role of general manager as they map out a plan for Gang Green’s ten picks spread over the next three days…

Geoff Magliocchetti

  • Round 1 (2nd overall): QB Zach Wilson, BYU
  • Round 1 (23rd overall): WR D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan
  • Round 2 (34th overall): LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
  • Round 3: (66th overall): CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford
  • Round 3 (87th overall): T Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa
  • Round 4 (108th overall): RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma
  • Round 5 (147th overall): G Aaron Banks, Notre Dame
  • Round 5 (155th overall): S Ar’Darius Washington, TCU
  • Round 6 (187th overall): TE Matt Bushman, BYU
  • Round 6: (227th overall): K Jose Borreagales, Miami (FL)

The macabre, yet inspiring truth of the matter is that the Jets sunk to depths so low last season that it’s almost impossible not to emerge from draft weekend on a positive note.

Barring an absolutely jaw-dropping transaction or selection with the second overall pick, Zach Wilson is going to be a New York Jet. Every pick made after that should be dedicated to making his life easier. One would assume that could lead to drafting a lot of offensive talent, but general manager Joe Douglas has stressed the importance of striking a balance with their draft surplus, and it’s hard to argue with that logic. The last thing the Jets should do is expect Wilson’s arrival to immediately change things. He’s going to need help to get the Jets back on track.

Eskridge, who holds a special connection to the Jets (assistant offensive line coach Jake Moreland served as the offensive coordinator in Kalamazoo), could be a young weapon for Wilson to work with and also help solve the problems the Jets have had in the return game since Andre Roberts left. Day two adds blocking reinforcements from the unlikely source of Football Championship Subdivision while they also handle their defensive woes. If Collins drops to Friday, the Jets cannot hesitate for a second. As they prepare to likely implement a 4-3 set, they added veterans of the formation like Jarrad Davis and Carl Lawson. A young veteran of the system like Collins can help the transition go even smoother.

The addition of Tevin Coleman to their triumvirate of young rushing projects allows the Jets to wait until Saturday to address their rushing situation, and Stevenson can potential be their first legitimate fullback project since the days of Tony Richardson. Bringing in Bushman, one of Wilson’s favorite targets in Provo, can help Wilson get even more comfortable in the offense. The leg of Borreagales can ensure that drives that reach the red zone can end in points…a desperate need for a developing offense…while also ending the cycle of post-Jason Myers kickers. Banks can be a day three gem as a left guard, competing with Alex Lewis for primary reps.

Brendan Carpenter

  • Round 1 (2nd overall): QB Zach Wilson, BYU
  • Round 1 (23rd overall): RB Travis Etienne, Clemson
  • Round 2 (34th overall): CB Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State
  • Round 3: (66th overall): EDGE Rashad Weaver, Pittsburgh
  • Round 3 (87th overall): OL Ben Cleveland, Georgia
  • Round 4 (108th overall): WR Cade Johnson, South Dakota State
  • Round 5 (147th overall): OL Brenden James, Nebraska
  • Round 5 (155th overall): EDGE Jonathan Cooper, Ohio State
  • Round 6 (187th overall):  WR Austin Watkins, UAB
  • Round 6: (227th overall): S Brendon White, Rutgers

After the inevitable pick of Zach Wilson at second overall, the Jets elect to give him a premier weapon at No. 23. Clemson RB Travis Etienne is one of the top two backs in the entire draft and brings both rushing and receiving prowess to the offense.

The Jets need help on defense too, though, and bring in pieces in the next two rounds. At 34th, they bring in Asante Samuel, Jr. after electing to not go for one of the top-three corners in the opening stages. Samuel showed the ability to annoy receivers, but he has to cut down on the penalties. In round three, they add to the defense with Rashad Weaver out of Pittsburgh and bolster the offensive line with Georgia’s Ben Cleveland in two spots that need addressing.

With their final four picks of the mock, the Jets add two wide receivers, taking Cade Johnson out of South Dakota State and Austin Watkins out of UAB in rounds four and six, respectively. Sandwiching those picks are Brenden James out of Nebraska, and another edge rusher in Jonathan Cooper of Ohio State. The team’s needs are clear, and they stay within those lines in this final mock draft.

Dylan Price

  • Round 1 (2nd overall): QB Zach Wilson, BYU
  • Round 1 (23rd overall): IOL Alijah Vera Tucker, USC
  • Round 2 (34th overall): IOL Landon Dickerson, Alabama
  • Round 3: (66th overall): CB Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
  • Round 3 (87th overall): RB Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis
  • Round 4 (108th overall): EDGE Victor Dimukeje, Duke
  • Round 5 (147th overall): S James Wiggins, Cincinnati 
  • Round 5 (155th overall): LB Monty Rice, Georgia 
  • Round 6 (187th overall):  FB Ben Mason, Michigan
  • Round 6: (227th overall): WR Dax Milne, BYU

Let’s be real, even if you’ve been living under a rock you should know Wilson is the pick. His arm talent is unreal and he has the potential to be a superstar in the league if all goes right. The Jets have to surround him with talent and allow that to happen though, if they do, the Jets could finally have a franchise guy.

At 23, Alijah Vera Tucker is an immediate plug-and-play guy who excels in both the run and pass game. He can be a stalwart of the line for the next decade alongside Mekhi Becton. Eleven picks later, the Jets double dip with Dickerson. He’s one of the best linemen in the class, in my opinion, and he’s a freak of nature. If his right knee stays healthy he can be the right guard for the next decade alongside Becton and Tucker. He also brings versatility as a center.

Melifonwu and Wiggins are secondary additions. The Syracuse alum has the length to excel as an outside corner and his coverage skills are heavily underrated. He can be a steal at 66th. Meanwhile, Wiggins will be a special teamer with the potential to develop into a competent starter. Dimukeje and Rice are two athletes with developmental capabilities that couldn’t be overlooked. Both will be situational pieces to start, but their potential is sky high. Gainwell is my favorite running back in this class. He’s a productive back who can play in the slot and out of the backfield. Ben Mason joins him as another scheme fit at fullback, ideally becoming the Kyle Juszczyk of the offense.

This draft gives the Jets depth all over the board. Weapons out of the backfield. Two potential defensive back pieces for the future, two franchise linemen, and hopefully…finally…the franchise quarterback.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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