New York Jets: A mock draft for the bye week

New York Jets

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

TeamPick
1. JacksonvilleEDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
2. DetroitS Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
3. HoustonQB Malik Willis, Liberty
4. JETST Evan Neal, Alabama
5. Philadelphia (from MIA)CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
6. Philadelpha (from IND)G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
7. NY GiantsIOL Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
8. PhiladelphiaLB Christian Harris, Alabama
9. AtlantaQB Matt Corral, Mississippi
10. New EnglandCB Kaiir Elam, Florida
11. Miami (from SF)T Sean Rhyan, UCLA
12. JETSEDGE Drake Jackson, USC
13. WashingtonQB Sam Howell, North Carolina
14. MinnesotaEDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
15. PittsburghCB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
16. Kansas CityEDGE Geroge Karlaftis, Purdue
17. CincinnatiT Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State
18. New OrleansWR Chris Olave, Ohio State
19. TennesseeTE Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M
20. DenverEDGE Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati
21. CarolinaS Jordan Battle, Alabama
22. NY Giants (from CHI)EDGE Zach Harrison, Ohio State
23. ClevelandDT DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M
24. Detroit (from LAR)WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
25. Las VegasCB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati
26. BuffaloRB Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M
27. Tampa BayEDGE Adam Anderson, Georgia
28. Green BayWR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
29. LA ChargersG Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State
30. DallasS Brandon Joseph, Northwestern
31. BaltimoreT Rasheed Walker, Penn State
32. ArizonaT Zion Nelson, Miami (FL)

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: A seven-round, post-Sam Darnold mock draft

With Sam Darnold having moved on, ESM envisions how the New York Jets’ replenished draft haul will look come April/May.

Sam Darnold is gone, resolving the question of his New York Jets fate. Now, another rises in his place: now what?

Following Darnold’s dealing to Carolina earlier this week, the Jets now hold ten picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, which begins on April 29. The last came from the Panthers along with two further choices in next year’s selections.

With Darnold’s New York term ended, how should the Jets spend this surplus? In the immediate aftermath, it’s a terrific note on Douglas’ resume that he has earned the Jets double-figure offerings in a single draft. But draft day quantity, of course, is never a guarantee of quality. The Jets learned that lesson the hard way during the 2014 proceedings. Then-general manager John Idzik held a dozen picks in the final draft in New York, but none of them remain on the Jets’ current roster and, in fact, only one (fourth-rounder Dakota Dozier, now a starting blocker in Minnesota) partook in NFL action last season.

How can the Jets make the most of their excess choices, especially in the wake of the Darnold news? ESM investigates through a full New York mock…

1st Round (2nd overall): QB Zach Wilson, BYU

One of the biggest wins of the Darnold trade was that the Jets now have an official deadline for their current quarterback controversy: the evening of April 29, after they make their second pick. Deshaun Watson is out for obvious reasons and they certainly won’t entrust Week 1 starting duties to Mike White or James Morgan. Thus, it’s a near-certainty that they’ll choose a non-Trevor Lawrence thrower with the second overall choice.

With a New York triumvirate (Joe Douglas, Robert Saleh, Mike LaFleur) in tow for his pro day in Provo, it’s beginning to look like a Wilson-based future for the Jets. ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter took it a step further, flat out texting Wilson “Welcome to New York” after the Jets-Panthers deal was completed. With this move, Douglas has officially solidified the Jets as his “own”, as the modern Jets will work with a head coach and quarterback exclusively chosen by the current GM.

1st Round (23rd overall): C/G Landon Dickerson, Alabama

So the Jets have traded Darnold, the latest of several offseason moves that have made them a better team on paper (if only because there’s nowhere to go but up after a 2-14 campaign). But their offensive line negligence has only gained a brighter spotlight. Dan Feeny and Corey Levin are acceptable options for depth, but they’re not guys that are going to push the Jets’ offensive needle in the right direction.

Dickerson, on the other hand, can be a difference-maker. Going 23rd would almost be an injustice to the 6’6, 325 lb. national champion, who was injured on a scoring play during the SEC title game. It was the last of several injuries he endured in Tuscaloosa, which has served as a red flag in several teams’ draft preparation. But Dickerson’s loss in position could be the Jets’ gain, as he brings an impressive resume that goes beyond his championship ring. He’s the current holder of both the Rimington and Jacobs Blocking trophies (sharing the latter with teammate Alex Leatherwood) and was a unanimous All-American last year.

2nd Round (34th overall): LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa

The hullabaloo around a new quarterback…as well as some shrewd offseason maneuvering from Douglas and Co…has somewhat masked the fact that the Jets still have some defensive renovations to make. One of the smarter moves of Douglas’ winter was bringing in Carl Lawson and Jarrad Davis, both of whom have extensive experience with the 4-3 defense that Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich are set to install in New York.

Don’t be surprised if the Jets take a similar approach on draft weekend. Collins is among the top, if not at the top, of the 4-3 linebackers in the coming class. He likewise brings in a sizable trophy case to his NFL destination, one that includes the AAC Defensive Player of the Year Award (guiding the Golden Hurricane to an undefeated regular season in conference play) and the Chuck Bednarik Award (whose previous three winners include Minkah Fitzpatrick, Josh Allen, and Chase Young). Critics feel like Collins would have to improve his physicality to move into the first round proper, but he’s the type of day two pic that can contribute immediately.

3rd Round (66th overall): CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford

As the post-Jamal Adams carries on, the Jets are still relatively thin in their secondary. Their safeties are on relatively solid ground…having franchise-tagged Marcus Maye and working on Ashtyn Davis as a project. But they’re still understaffed in the cornerback spots, where the current top options are veteran newcomer Justin Hardee (who’s primarily used on special teams) and raw, young talents like Bless Austin and Bryce Hall.

Thus, it’s worth exploring some cornerback options on day two, some more proven potential that can contribute immediately. Perhaps unfairly, Adebo has seen his stock fall after opting out of the 2020 season. He was previously projected to be among the first safeties to go in Mel Kiper’s 2020 draft board. He’s thus another project, but he has at least has some proven potential to work with (primarily as a player with the “ballhawk” classification) and could insert himself into a starting lineup fairly quickly.

3rd Round (86th overall): T Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa

The Jets have a perfect opportunity to make up for their relative inactivity in terms of upgrading their protection through the extra picks gained on the first two days. Their thrower’s blindside is protected through the first-round arrival of Mekhi Becton last season, but their questions on the right side. George Fant appears to be back in the starting lineup with Chuma Edoga behind him.

Brown, an FCS standout, could provide the proper heat to a veteran like Fant on the right side. His 2020 showcase has been thrown into disarray with uncertainty in what was Division I-AA football, but Brown managed to impress at both the Senior Bowl and UNI’s pro day. He has earned particularly strong reviews for his pass blocking and, in lieu of partaking in UNI’s ongoing shortened year, has been training with former All-Pro blocker (and Saleh’s fellow San Francisco alum) Joe Staley.

4th Round (107th overall): RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma

The Jets have an interesting running back situation. Signing Tevin Coleman can not only give the offense a proven weapon both on the ground and through the air, but also take the pressure off the new quarterback. Behind Coleman is a trio of projects who have raw potential: La’mical Perine, Ty Johnson, and Josh Adams. It wouldn’t be surprising for the Jets to add an upstart rookie to create a training camp competition. The addition of Coleman allows the Jets to address other areas over the first few rounds.

A failed drug test suspension kept Stevenson, a former JUCO star at Cerritos College, out of the Sooners’ College Football Playoff trek at the end of the 2019-20 season, as well as the first five games of last year’s campaign. He nonetheless led the Sooners with 665 rushing yards (6.6 average carry), capped off by a dominant 186-yard showing in OU’s dominant Cotton Bowl victory over Florida. Stevenson’s build (230-240 lbs.) could also allow the Jets to reestablish a fullback role, especially with Saleh and LaFleur knowing the benefits of such a position, having worked with Kyle Juszczyk in San Francisco. The Jets toyed with tight end and 2019 draftee Trevon Wesco in the spot over the last two seasons, but more or less abandoned the project last year.

5th Round (146th overall): WR Shi Smith, South Carolina

At receiver, the Jets did a solid job of upgrading their receiving weaponry for the incoming quarterback. In addition to Coleman (111 receptions from 2016-19 with Atlanta and San Francisco), they added promising young veterans Corey Davis and Keelan Cole to a group that already includes Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder. But the third day of the draft would be a good time to find some depth.

Smith could be a potential project, especially one in the slot with Crowder due to hit free agency next year. His development in Columbia was slightly hampered by the Gamecocks’ unstable quarterback situation, but he still garnered some professional looks for his speed and athleticism (which could allow the Jets to establish the screen). Smith’s 57 receptions earned last season were good for fifth in the SEC’s shortened 2020 season. He can also add a little heat to the Jets’ return situation, currently headed by Corey Ballentine and Braxton Berrios, as he was second in the conference with a 21.9 kick return average during the 2019 campaign (albeit on a 12-return sample size).

5th Round (154th overall): S Ar’Darius Washington, TCU

As Brian Poole remains unsigned, the Jets could use a nickel/dime upgrade while potentially working on a safety project. While Washington’s size (5’8, 178 lbs.) is a concern, his ball skills make him an intriguing prospect to work with in the secondary. The underclassman has constantly defied odds, not only working his way through a tough size situation but also making an immediate Fort Worth impression by winning the Big 12’s Defensive Freshman of the Year Award. Working with Hardee could also allow him to make an impact on special teams.

6th Round (186th overall): TE Matt Bushman, BYU

At tight end, Chris Herndon is the one player left over from the Jets’ new uniform showcase in the early stages of 2019. While they did add Tyler Kroft…who will be a decent goal line option…Herndon still appears to be the top man in the position. Adding Bushman would not only put some heat on Herndon but also give Wilson a friendly face to work with in his NFL debut. Though Bushman missed all of the Cougars flirtation with a New Year’s Six bowl with an injury, he was their top receiver in 2019, notably uniting for 91 yards on six receptions in their final collaboration in the Hawaii Bowl.

6th Round (227th overall): K Jose Borreagales, Miami (FL)

The current pick gained from the Panthers in the Darnold trade can allow the Jets to address one of their most problematic areas: kicking. With an offense still struggling to consistently visit the end zone, having a reliable kicker will be vital if they want to remain competitive. Since the Pro Bowler Jason Myers left for Seattle two offseasons ago, the Jets have gone through six different kickers. The most recent pair (Sam Ficken and Chase McLaughlin) remain on the roster, with a competition potentially set to ensue. Last year’s draft showed that they wouldn’t hesitate to use a pick to bolster their special teams, using their last on Texas A&M punter Braden Mann.

New York needs a reliable name as their leg, and the primary boot in this draft is Borreagales. A native of Venezuela, Borreagales established himself as a South Beach kicking legend, first starring at Florida International before spending a fifth season with The U. Mirroring Mann’s Ray Guy Award, Borreagales would bring a Lou Groza trophy with him as the current holder. He was successful on all 35 of his extra point attempts last season and was 18-of-20 on field goals. One conversion was a 57-yard boot in a September win over Louisville, a primetime showdown that saw him score 17 points in a 47-34 win.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Giants take strange defensive route in 2021 Draft Network Mock Draft

New York Giants, Caleb Farley

The New York Giants endured many struggles during the 2020 season, but one of their most glaring needs remains CB2. After starting the year with Corey Ballentine penciled in alongside James Bradberry, the Giants quickly embarked on a rotational journey at the position.

By season’s end, the Giants had made their way through Ballantine, Ryan Lewis, Isaac Yiadom, and Julian Love. While Love displayed some optimism in the final two games, allowing 51 yards and four receptions against Dallas in week 17, it is unknown if the Giants feel confident he can be their starter moving forward.

Due to COVID-19, the salary cap is expected to drop to a minimum of $175 million. With that being the case, teams are going to have to shed players to stay under the cap, meaning valuable veterans could be on the market for cheaper deals. That should give the Giants an opportunity to pick up an established veteran who can hold down the position for one year. There is another route they can take toward shoring up the CB2 spot.

The Draft Network’s Benjamin Solak mocked an interesting player to the New York Giants:

Projecting for the Giants is tricky. You can’t rely on the David Gettleman hog-molly bit, as their defensive trenches are set—though a surprise pick on the offensive line is certainly within the cards. A splash at wide receiver would also make sense, though two of the top three players are gone; an improvement at EDGE rusher is still necessary, though the board isn’t great for EDGEs early in the first round.

We have seen Gettleman make big investments in the secondary recently. They traded up to spend a first-round pick on DeAndre Baker in the 2019 draft, a top-40 pick on Xavier McKinney, and spent big money on James Bradberry in free agency. Their efforts have been rewarded. With the additions of Jabrill Peppers, Logan Ryan, and Julian Love, the Giants have a strong secondary group. It’s just another outside CB away from being elite.

Caleb Farley replaces Isaac Yiadom at that spot. He won’t have to follow WR1s early, which is to his advantage, and he brings great man and zone flexibility—important for Patrick Graham’s defense in New York.

If the Giants did elect to take Farley from Virginia Tech with the 11th overall pick, it would undoubtedly be a surprise. Farley is a fantastic man-coverage cornerback, but he has a troubling injury history, tearing his ACL in 2017 and suffering through back spasms in 2019. If those injuries are behind him, he represents arguably the best CB in the draft. He is an extremely athletic player who has played quarterback and receiver in the past, giving him a unique perspective.

Adding him to the secondary would give the Giants one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL. However, the offense desperately needs support, and going defensive might give them a top unit in the NFL, but once again, their offense will likely struggle to get things going, even with the Saquon Barkley expected to make a full return.

New York Knicks: Devin Vassell Could Be The Perfect Plug and Play Draft Pick

New York Knicks, Devin Vassell

The New York Knicks will be participating in the NBA Draft Lottery on August 25th, 2020. That event is approximately four weeks from today and there’s a possibility of the Knick franchise luckily jumping into the top three in the draft lottery. There’s also the possibility of the Knicks sliding into the ninth, tenth, or eleventh spot in the first round on draft lottery night. If the latter happens in which the Knicks fall in the draft lottery, there are some interesting prospects to choose from. One prospect that’s intriguing is 6’6″ 195lbs shooting guard by the name of Devin Vassell out of Florida State University. With Tom Thibodeau taking over the reins as head coach of the Knicks, Vassell could be the perfect plug and play draft pick.

The 6’6″ shooting guard is a defensive menace who knows how to use his 6’10” wingspan to anticipate opposing offensive attacks, block shots and play passing lanes on defense. Vassell is an elite perimeter defender.

The point of release on Vassell’s jumper is ridiculously high, therefore, he really could shoot over anybody without getting his shot blocked due to his above-average wingspan. His high defensive IQ and motor are two key attributes in his game Tom Thibodeau would love. In addition to his other valuable offensive skill which is his three-point shooting, Vassell also flashed his ability to finish above the rim. The New York Knicks can’t lose drafting a talent like Vassell. He’d fit right into Thibodeau’s defensive schemes. Plus, offensively he’s a catch and shoot threat with potential to eventually become a deadly overall shot maker.

In college Vassell averaged 12.7-points per game along with 5.1-rebounds and 1.6-assists during his 2019-20 campaign at Florida State University. He shot nearly 42% from three and 49% from the field. He averaged 1.4-steals and a block per game during the 2019-20 season. The defensive-minded shooting guard put up these stats while playing 28.8- minutes per contest.

Overall, Devin Vassell is an athletic piece that’ll fit into the Knicks young core from the jump, and Coach Tom Thibodeau would have a field day in bringing him along and showing him the ropes. Defense and three-point shooting is needed on the Knicks. Devin Vassell is a two-way player and the Knicks must pounce on him if the situation is right.

New York Jets #MockDraftMonday: April 20, 2020

ESM’s New York Jets experts present their final seven-round mock drafts as a big trio of days for Gang Green approaches.

The date of a full-on return has yet to be placed. But live sports are slowly working their way back into our lives. Friday saw the WNBA Draft staged in a virtual setting. NASCAR’s nationally televised virtual races returned over the weekend.

Football fans will get their fix starting on Thursday night, as the NFL Draft will likewise conduct their selection proceedings in a virtual arena (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC/NFL Network).

How will things shake out for the New York Jets? ESM’s experts weigh in and prognosticate in their final 2020 mock drafts…

Geoff Magliocchetti

1st Round (11th overall): OT Jedrick Willis, Alabama
2nd Round (48th overall): WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
3rd Round (68th overall): CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah
3rd Round (79th overall): S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
4th Round (120th overall): EDGE Kenny Willekes, Michigan State
5th Round (158th overall): WR Joe Reed, Virginia
6th Round (191st overall): RB Patrick Taylor Jr., Memphis
6th Round (211th overall): K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

The debate between a receiver and an offensive lineman has been more tightly contested battle amongst New Yorkers than the preference of Seinfeld or Friends as their favorite local 90s sitcom. But the Jets are in the enviable position NBC was placed in during that lucrative era: they’re placed in a situation where there is an endless supply of talent in the category.

Premiere picks are dedicated to filling both of these needs. Willis was the darling of the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, earning strong praise for his strength and athleticism. A deep receiver class would also yield the talents of Aiyuk, who tore apart the man coverage of the Pac-12 and developed a strong reputation as an earner of yards after the catch. Defensive needs are taken care of with the middle picks. Johnson and Chinn add depth in the secondary, while Willekes (18 sacks over the last two seasons) will raise the pressure on a division that will feature competitions against the multi-talented Josh Allen (and, possibly, Tua Tagovailoa if the Patriots or Dolphins opt to find their franchise quarterbacks).

This day three set would allow the Jets to not only address another offensive need, finding a spell option for Le’Veon Bell. The powerful Taylor could become a goal-line and short-yardage steal, especially if teams are still wary about an ankle injury that cost him a portion of his senior season. But day three could also afford the Jets an opportunity to bolster their special teams. The Georgia staple Blankenship could finally end the post-Jason Myers kicking carousel, while Reed could be the answer to Andre Roberts’ departure. Reed can also serve as a slot receiver, having earned 14 touchdown receptions over the last season seasons.

Dylan Price

1st Round (11th overall): OT Jedrick Willis, Alabama
2nd Round (48th overall): WR Michael Pittman Jr., USC
3rd Round (68th overall): CB Damon Arnette, Ohio State
3rd Round (79th overall): EDGE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
4th Round (120th overall): DT Larrell Murchison, NC State
5th Round (158th overall): OL Michael Onwenu, Michigan
6th Round (191st overall): WR John Hightower, Boise State
6th Round (211th overall): K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

Wills is the only pick that has remained consistent in this final mock draft, Wills becomes the anchor of the future. Pittman has familiarity with Darnold and could be the next steal from USC like JuJu Smith Schuester. Arnette is a talented outside corner who can be the next good OSU corner.

Greenard and Murchison have received a lot of interest from the Jets and would be ideal targets here to add defensive depth. Onwenu and Hightower provide size and speed respectively. Both could develop into could pieces but will begin as depth guys. Rodrigo Blankenship becomes the kicker for the future and rounds out a solid class for Joe Douglas.

Brendan Carpenter

1st Round (11th overall): OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
2nd Round (48th overall): WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
3rd Round (68th overall): EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah
3rd Round (79th overall): WR Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
4th Round (120th overall): CB Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
5th Round (158th overall): DE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
6th Round (191st overall): LB Mohamed Berry, Nebraska
6th Round (211th overall): K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

Taking a receiver with the first pick is tempting, but the Jets instead choose to sure up their offensive line. At 6’7″ and 364 pounds, Becton is a monster on the line. A flagged drug test at the combine has raised some questions and may make him available outside the top-10. I have gone back-and-forth between Reagor and Tee Higgins in the second, but I don’t see Higgins lasting to this pick. The Jets sure up their line in the first round and get Darnold a fresh target here. After acquiring the third pick from the Giants in the Leonard Williams trade, the Jets could look to add a new pass rusher. In 14 starts this past season, Anae recorded 13 sacks. His knack for finding the quarterback is the deciding factor here.

Edwards, at 6’3″ and 212 pounds, would be a solid target for Darnold. However, there are question marks. He missed his final two games with a knee injury and broke his foot while training for the combine. After taking Reagor in the second round, Edwards is another addition that could have decent upside. Cornerback is also a position of need for Gang Green. With Jeff Okudah most likely going in the top-five in the draft, there is no need to reach for one after that. Getting Pride Jr. in the third round would satisfy a need the Jets desperately need to address. He would slide in to play alongside Pierre Desir and Brian Poole in the secondary. He falls back past the original round three pick I had him at, so the Jets get their guy, just later.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets #MockDraftMonday: April 6, 2020

New York Jets

After Joe Douglas’ public comments, this week’s New York Jets mock draft from our experts gains position unanimity with the 11th overall pick.

With a healthy haul of veteran blockers, one would expect the New York Jets to use the 11th overall pick of the upcoming NFL Draft on a so-called “exciting” pick. Perhaps a receiver could be called to replace Robby Anderson. A depleted pass rush could use a sack threat. Even the secondary could use a bit more help, even with some big names lined up.

To paraphrase Jets general manager Joe Douglas…not so fast.

In his first public comments of the offseason, Douglas seemed to hint that the Jets’ offensive line renovation might not be completed just yet.

“I think there’s a real shortage of quality offensive linemen in the NFL,” Douglas said in a Wednesday afternoon conference call, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. “We’re going to do our best to get as many quality ones as we can because you can never have too many.”

Geoff Magliocchetti

1st Round (11th overall): OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
2nd Round (48th overall): WR K.J. Hamler, Penn State
3rd Round (68th overall): EDGE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
3rd Round (79th overall): CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
4th Round (120th overall): S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
5th Round (158th overall): RB AJ Dillon, Boston College
6th Round (191st overall): LB Mohamed Barry, Nebraska
6th Round (211th overall): K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

The flexibility we thought the Jets would have at the 11th pick seems to have gone by the wayside with Douglas’ apparent commitment to a blocker. But that flexibility can present itself in new ways on draft weekend. With the depth and imperative transactions the Jets have gained and made via free agency, the Jets have plenty of freedom with their remaining seven picks. The wiggle room could be especially advantageous when it comes to their three picks in the Friday session.

Douglas is apparently intrigued by the deep blocking class available on the first day. Even if Thomas goes within the first ten picks, Mekhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs, and Thomas’ SEC compatriot Jedrick Wills should be readily available. Day two would allow the Jets to fill one of their biggest remaining needs: receiving and defensive depth. Hamler is a Friday gem that would immediately contribute to any offense, while Okwara would fill the necessary pass rush void in order to start giving Josh Allen nightmares. The trend of immediate depth contributors extends into day three. Chinn can work alongside the established strong duo of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, while Dillon becomes a much-needed spell option for Le’Veon Bell.

Brendan Carpenter

1st Round (11th overall): OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
2nd Round (48th overall): WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
3rd Round (68th overall): EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah
3rd Round (79th overall): WR Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
4th Round (120th overall): CB Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
5th Round (158th overall): DE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
6th Round (191st overall): LB Mohamed Barry, Nebraska
6th Round (211th overall): K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

Taking a receiver with their first pick is tempting, but the Jets would opt to go the safe route to solidify the remaining spot on their offensive line. I originally had the Jets selecting Jalen Reagor out of TCU on day two, but at 6’4″ with a long frame, Higgins would be tough to pass on. He knows how to show up in big games as well. The receiving trend continues with the 6’3, 212-pound Edwards, but there would be some question marks. He missed his final two games with a knee injury and broke his foot while training for the combine. Despite these setbacks, Edwards is another addition that could have a decent upside. Appropriately, the Jets would use the pick earned from the Leonard Williams trade to Anae (13 sacks in 14 starts last season).

Cornerback is a position of need for Gang Green. With Jeff Okudah most likely going in the top-five in the draft, there is no need to reach for one after that. Getting Pride Jr. in the third round would satisfy a need the Jets desperately need to address. He would slide in to play alongside Pierre Desir and Brian Poole in the secondary. Greenard could immediately contribute on the defensive line, especially if Quinnen Williams is suspended.

Dylan Price

1st Round (11th overall): OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
2nd Round (48th overall): WR KJ Hamler, Penn State
3rd Round (68th overall): EDGE Joshua Uche, Michigan
3rd Round (79th overall): CB Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
4th Round (120th overall): OT Ben Bartch, St. John’s (MN)
5th Round (158th overall): RB Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State
6th Round (191st overall): TE Colby Parkinson, Stanford
6th Round (211th overall): OL Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

In our last mock, I projected Andrew Thomas would be the pick. This time he was off the board, so Wills becomes the key offensive lineman of the future. He, Bartch and Throckmorton are all incredibly versatile offensive linemen. Bartch and Wills can be starters quickly, while Throckmorton provides depth. Hamler has elite playmaking ability and immediately becomes an excellent weapon for Sam Darnold.

Parkinson also becomes a good weapon, with high potential, who could fight for some reps at tight end. Uche and Pride both can develop behind the starters this year and be groomed to take over in 2021. Evans was a pick in my last mock draft who could be the future back for this team.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets #MockDraftMonday, March 23, 2020

New York Jets

ESM’s staff gives their full New York Jets mock drafts after the team’s eventful first week of free agency.

The New York Jets didn’t get the things they truly wanted in free agency…pricy gifts like Jack Conklin and Dante Fowler went elsewhere.

But the first weekend of free agency was a lot like, say, a pair of socks or school supplies in your stocking. It’s not exactly what you want, but it’s just what you need.

That’s what the Jets had in mind when they added three linemen from elsewhere, as well as re-upping with 2019 contributor Alex Lewis. For the first time in quite a while, the Jets have a plan for an offense built on the success of two explosive backfield weapons, Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell.

How did the movement affect our experts’ mock drafts?

Geoff Magliocchetti

1st Round (11th overall)-WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
2nd Round (48th overall)-G Shane Lemieux, Oregon
3rd Round (68th overall)-T Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
3rd Round (79th overall)-EDGE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
4th Round (120th overall)-S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
5th Round (158th overall)-WR Quintez Cephus, Wisconsin
6th Round (191st overall)-RB Mike Warren, Cincinnati
6th Round (211th overall)-K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

With the additions of Connor McGovern, George Fant, and Greg Van Roten, the Jets opened up some flexibility up with the 11th overall pick. Thus, they added some protection for Darnold. Now, they need to get him weapons. With Robby Anderson’s situation still in limbo, the time is right to use such a pick on a receiver. Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy will probably be gone, but Lamb is certainly a desirable consolation prize.

Having said that, the Jets can’t fully turn away from the offensive line just yet, hence the additions of Lemieux and Cleveland. Thus, their third pick on day two can be used to fill yet another need, that of the pass rush in the form of Greenard, who would certainly be welcomed by fellow SEC alums Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. Day three saw the Jets find unexpected help in the secondary last year (Bless Austin) and that trend could repeat itself in the form of FCS standout Chinn. The depth of the 2020 receiver class would also be on display with the fifth-round selection of Cephus. Things are capped off, as they were in the original mock, by the kicker selection Blankenship, to at least provided Brett Maher some competition in camp. Prior to that, the Jets would add a compliment to Bell, as both Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery are up for free agency.

Dylan Price

1st Round (11th overall)-OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
2nd Round (48th overall)-CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
3rd Round (68th overall)-WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
3rd Round (79th overall)-EDGE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
4th Round (120th overall)-EDGE Kenny Wilekes, Michigan State
5th Round (158th overall)-RB Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State
6th Round (191st overall)-LB Justin Strnad, Wake Forest
6th Round (211th overall)-OL Gage Cervenka, Clemson

This draft would be a haul for the Jets. Thomas immediately bolsters the offensive line and becomes the anchor of the line for the future. Diggs is a corner with room to grow who’s thrived in man coverage which is what Gregg Williams likes. He could start right away alongside Desir and give Bless Austin a year to sit behind Desir before becoming the starter. Aiyuk is familiar with Darnold (they train together), and he’s a freak athlete. He’d be a great weapon for Sam and he was a great value in the third round.

In the fourth and fifth, I doubled dipped with talented edge rushers. Greenard and Wilekes would be great picks, both are talented on their own. As a duo, they could grow together and develop into a formidable duo. Evans would be a change of pace back with potential. Strnad is a value pick who could be a nice backup and special teams guy for the Jets. Cervenka is low-risk with good potential, likely at guard. He could compete for reps with Lewis.

Brendan Carpenter

1st Round (11th overall)-OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
2nd Round (48th overall)-WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
3rd Round (68th overall)-EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah
3rd Round (79th overall)-CB Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
4th Round (120th overall)-WR Collin Johnson, Texas
5th Round (158th overall)-EDGE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
6th Round (191st overall)-LB Mohammad Barry, Nebraska
6th Round (211th overall)-K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

The Jets have certainly addressed the offensive line with their free agent signings, but could still look for another starting-caliber tackle. At six-foot-five and 315 pounds, Thomas is capable of playing both right and left tackle. He would most likely slide into the right tackle spot with recently signed George Fant at left tackle. There are some options for a flashier pick here, but Thomas is the safe pick.

Wide receiver is a position of need and the Jets could add a weapon or two. Reagor’s ability to track the ball in the air and move downfield would be an instant boost for Sam Darnold. Though he dealt with injuries, Johnson’s size (6’6, 222 lbs.) on the outside is a must. Defensively, the Jets would look to bring in new pass rushers, especially with the pick obtained in the Leonard Williams deal. Anae’s speed and athleticism aren’t premier, but he knows how to get to the quarterback, while Greenard could be a plug-and-play piece for the Jets in the short-term and a nice rotation guy in the long-run, if nothing else.

Sebastian Vela

1st Round (11th overall)-OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
2nd Round (48th overall)-CB AJ Terrell, Clemson
3rd Round (68th overall)-WR Michael Pittman Jr., USC
3rd Round (79th overall)-EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah
4th Round (120th overall)-RB Anthony McFarland, Maryland
5th Round (158th overall)-OL Yasir Durant, Missouri
6th Round (191st overall)-CB Lamar Jackson, Nebraska
6th Round (211th overall)-OT Trey Adams, Washington

The 11th pick should be simple for the Jets. Andrew Thomas has dominated the SEC for the past three years and was essential in Jake Fromm’s success at Georgia.  Thomas has an extremely high floor and is arguably the most NFL ready tackle in the draft. If he falls to 11 the Jets should be sprinting towards the podium with their card ready.

Terrell would be a terrific fit for the Jets as he is a big lanky corner that excels in man coverage and press coverage which is essential in a Gregg Williams defense, while Anae would immediately provide the Jets with a much-needed pass-rushing presence on the edge. On offense,t he Jets desperately need wide receivers and who better to get than Sam Darnold’s old buddy from USC? McFarland is a quick and twitchy running back that has good hands and a knack for homerun plays. Durant is a developmental lineman with a lot of potential he’d be worth the risk in the fifth round, while Adams could be the same if he’s able to stay healthy.

 

 

New York Giants: The Ideal Three-Round Mock Draft (With Trades)

The 2020 NFL Draft might be get delayed, but that will only give us all a bit more time to break down prospects and create mock drafts. The New York Giants will need all the time they can get to prepare for this crucial draft. They hold the fourth overall pick this year and will need to hit a home run in order to turn this team around. But what would that home run, ideal draft look like for New York?

Round One, Pick Four: Chase Young, Edge Rusher, Ohio State

In the ideal mock draft for the Giants, they will land the best player in the entire 2020 NFL Draft class. Chase Young out of Ohio State University is exactly that. The 2020 Heisman Trophy finalist recorded 16.5 sacks in 12 games this past season. In order for this to happen, quarterbacks will have to be selected with each of the first three picks in the draft.

The Bengals will select Joe Burrow, pretty much everyone believes that to be true at this point. But what will the Redskins do? Easily, they could take the best player in the draft, Chase Young, and move forward with Dwayne Haskins as their quarterback. However, there is growing speculation that Washington will either trade the second overall pick to a quarterback-needy team (like the Dolphins) or spend it on a quarterback of their own. That quarterback would be Tua Tagovailoa.

After Joe and Tua will have to go Justin Herbert. The Lions hold the third overall pick and it seems likely that they will trade down. The Chargers, Colts, Dolphins, Buccaneers, and Panthers are all teams that might be willing to move up for the opportunity to select the Oregon gunslinger. If these three quarterbacks get drafted all in a row, Giants fans will be filled with joy as Gettleman sprints to get the card in and proudly draft Chase Young.

Round Two, Pick Thirty-Six: Austin Jackson, Offensive Tackle, USC

It is no question that the New York Giants have holes all over their roster. The defense is especially talentless. However, New York desperately needs to upgrade their offensive line as well. Nate Solder has seen his play decline in recent years and the Giants’ 2019 right tackle, Mike Remmers, is a free agent and is unlikely to receive an extension.

It is time for the Giants to invest draft capital into their offensive line. In 2018, they secured starting left guard Will Hernandez in the second round. Now, in this ideal mock draft, the Giants will secure their starting right tackle in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Austin Jackson out of USC might not be there by the time the Giants are on the clock in the second round. However, the same was said about Will Hernandez in 2018. In the Giants’ ideal 2020 mock draft, Austin Jackson slides just a few more spots and falls right into New York’s lap.

Round Three, Pick 84 (Via Trade): Troy Dye, Linebacker, Oregon

It would be easy to mock select wide receiver Chase Claypool to the Giants here. Whether it would require them to trade up or not remains to be seen. However, recent reports indicate that the Giants will be prioritizing wide receivers in free agency. They plan on focusing their draft picks on the defense. After stealing Chase Young with the fourth overall pick and securing an offensive tackle in round two, ideally, New York will shift its attention back to the defense in round three.

Also, in an ideal world, the Giants would still own the sixty-eight overall pick. However, after trading for Leonard Williams in 2019, they do not own that pick anymore. So, instead, the Giants will use trade up from their compensatory ninety-ninth draft selection in order to select an athletic coverage linebacker.

Many fans will be hoping and praying that the Giants’ first pick is Isaiah Simmons. I believe it should be, as long as Chase Young is not available. But this year’s draft class is rich in linebackers, and Troy Dye would be a solid option for the Giants in the third round.

Troy Dye is an Oregon linebacker with excellent athleticism and coverage-skills. He is the right player to pair with David Mayo, the Giants’ run-stopping linebacker that just received a contract extension. But New York would likely have to trade up to secure this linebacker.

The New York Giants have limitless options and possibilities heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. The class has depth in positions that the Giants need. If all goes well, New York should be able to secure a multitude of core players to build this team around in the future.

New York Jets #MockDraftMonday, March 9, 2020

New York Jets, Jedrick Wills

With the NFL Scouting Combine having come and gone, ESM takes a first look at what the New York Jets will do in April’s Draft.

The ultimate question…well, at least one of several…when it comes to the NFL Draft ponders whether a team should draft based on need or simply go with the so-called best player available.

The New York Jets, part relieved and part sickened, don’t have to waste time on that.

Picking the best player offered to you, regardless of his position, is a luxury afforded only to the NFL’s wealthy. Such a strategy doesn’t cater to teams working a playoff drought approaching a decade, which the Jets may well hit this season if they’re not careful.

There’s a chance, however, the Jets could position themselves in an opportunity to snag such flashy “BPAs”. A faithful offseason awaits Joe Douglas and company, as NFL free agency is on the horizon, a better sign of spring than the groundhog ever could.

But, at this moment, the Jets are drafting solely on need, a necessary task to end the franchise’s futility at this point. Who will be available? ESM answers this question with the first Jets mock of 2020, shortly before the free agency negotiations begin….

NOTE: This mock draft was made on FanSpeak.com, using a Big Board from CBS Sports.

Round 1: T Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama

There’s potential for a flashy receiver prospect (i.e. CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs) to go in this slot. But, while important, adding receivers is not the Jets’ top priority at the moment. The theme of this offseason should be hiring protection for Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell. With current outside starters Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell slated to be free agents, the Jets should use their current top pick on replenishing that area.

Wills was relatively consistent during the Combine proceedings. While his height (6’4) is a bit troubling, his raw strength and power more than makeup for it. NFL.com scouting expert Lance Zierlein recently compared Wills to Jason Peters.

If the Jets are able to re-up with Beachum, Shell, or both, they’re afforded some flexibility with their top selection. Further wiggle room can be found if they’re able to add marquee blocking free agent Jack Conklin to the mix. But, at this time, Wills is the way to go at 11th overall.

2nd Round: WR Jalen Reagor, TCU

The Jets partially prepared for the potential losses of Robby Anderson and/or Demaryius Thomas by adding former Horned Frog and first-round pick Josh Doctson. Adding his fellow TCU alum would help soothe the blow if one or more departs this offseason.

So deep is the receivers’ talent pool in this draft that several talented names are going to be left waiting on day two. Reagor, a two-time All-Big 12 nominee, might be left behind by the first 32 due to a struggle to create separation. But the Jets would be wise to pound if he emerges in the second round. Reagor has earned acclaim for his athleticism and managed to carve a strong career in Fort Worth despite repeated problems at quarterback. In a stable situation, Reagor could truly flourish and immediately step up in a relative emergency where the reigned top receiver departs.

3rd Round: G Solomon Kindley, Georgia

By the end of this mock, it’d be fair to call the Jets’ focus on offensive line help overkill. But the reality is that they’d be making up for lost time. Prior to their selection of Chuma Edoga in last year’s third round, the last blocker dialed by the Jets within the draft’s first two days was second-round tackle Vlad Ducasse in 2010. With Mike Maccaggnan’s negligence gone, a new era can officially begin.

Kindley’s size and aggressiveness flashed in the SEC would help in a smooth transition to the pros. Technique has been a common criticism of his game, but he’s certainly worth a gander in the latter stages of day two.

3rd Round: C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan

The Jets are literally still looking for a replacement for Nick Mangold at center. New York hasn’t drafted anyone at the position since going with Mangold in late stanzas of 2006’s first round. With the Ryan Kalil experiment failing to pan out and the free agency pickings relatively light, the Jets should probably give Jonotthan Harrison some competition.

Enter Ruiz, a Camden, NJ native and powerful blocker and two-time All-Big Ten nominee in Ann Arbor. His biggest knock has his frame, but he made himself valuable on the Wolverine line by showing flexibility, working in at both center and guard. With the potential to contribute immediately and the Jets looking for a jolt at both spots, he could certainly be worth one their third-rounders.

4th Round: DL Alton Robinson, Syracuse

Tom Brady may depart, but the Jets’ problems with opposing AFC East quarterbacks aren’t over, as the dual-threat Josh Allen has begun his reign in Buffalo. Thus, the Jets (23rd in sacks last season) could use some help on the edge.

Robinson can provide that day three depth after making a name for himself at the Carrier Dome as a strong pass rusher (a la Robert Mathis). There are concerns about his prowess in stopping the run, but with the Jets desperate for a rush of any kind (they’ve been 20th or worse in sacks in three of the last four seasons), an unfinished Robinson could stem the bleeding.

5th Round: CB Harrison Hand, Temple

Ideally, the Jets will be able to keep Brian Poole, but still need some depth help in the secondary. They were able to find a hidden developmental gem in Bless Austin last season and lighting could strike again in the form of hand. The Cherry Hill, NJ native could drop with mobility questions, but his prowess in the zone defense could bolster his case. Speed has been cited as an issue for Hand, especially in coverage.

6th Round: LB Mohamed Barry, Nebraska

The Jets may have to replenish their linebackers with outside man Jordan Jenkins up for free agency alongside inside men Neville Hewitt and James Burgess. Avery Williams could also be let go in an effort to save $6.5 million in cap space. An interior name, Barry would be a project, especially in his coverage, but has earned accolades for his quickness.

6th Round: K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia 

Since the departure of Jason Myers, the Jets have gone through four different kickers. The team did sign Brett Maher to a reserve/future contract, but Maher was the embodiment of a Jekyll and Hyde kicker, converting 50+ yarders one minute and missing from 40 the next. Working with an offense that’s still having trouble reaching the end zone on a regular basis, having a reliable kicker is a must. Blankenship is the best prospect of the bunch, ending lucrative career in Athens with the 2019 Lou Groza Award.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

 

New York Jets: Mock Draft Scenarios

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching (weird to realize that the Super Bowl is only a week away), speculation is running rampant across every NFL team on who will pick who, including the New York Jets. Much is already known about the Jets’ immediate/most dire needs that will be addressed in free agency AS WELL as the draft, so let’s take a look at the current speculation surrounding the New York Jets draft picks.

ESPN Mock Draft

Mel Kiper Jr. sees the Jets going for Jedrick Wills Jr. of the Alabama Crimson Tide with the 11th pick in the first round. He addresses a very obvious need as an offensive tackle, but the biggest slight against him is his inexperience at left tackle. But, known for his strength in run defense, and showing drastic improvement in pass protection, the Jets may have to trade up to get their hands on Wills. Other mock drafts have Wills going 9th overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and some as high as 6th to the Los Angeles Chargers.

NFL Mock Draft

The NFL Network has the Jets selecting LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson at 11. It adds some depth to an already strong defense. Clocking 6.5 sacks last season, 94 combined (forced and solo) tackles, and a forced fumble, he could be the choice the Jets go with if they decide to trade Jamal Adams.

New mock drafts will be rolling out every week from every possible entertainment source. The closer we get to the draft, the more likely these draft picks will be who the team goes with. We’ll see what happens in the coming months/weeks, especially when we get to free agency.