Entering the 2020 NFL Draft, the New York Jets have significant needs on their roster. To oversimplify things, what the Jets lack most is difference-makers.
The Jets’ laundry list reads as follows: A star wide receiver, an elite pass rusher, a shutdown cornerback, and a premier offensive lineman. Contending teams have most of these types of players already. The Jets do not. Hence, the reason why the team hasn’t been a contender in years.
Outside of Jamal Adams, New York’s roster does not have any elite players on it. The one player who has elite talent but hasn’t reached that level yet is Quarterback Sam Darnold. The entire focus of the Jets is to try and elevate Darnold’s game. However, the dilemma is that Darnold does not have any elite players around him. Therefore, hindering the teams’ franchise quarterback from reaching his true potential.
In recent years, As a result of poor drafting. The Jets have overspent for free agents like Le’Veon Bell and CJ Mosley. New York did not get the return; they were looking for on those investments. New York has tried to build from the outside because they were weak from within. A recipe for failure in the short and long term.
The 2020 off-season may be a sign that the New York Jets are finally taking the correct approach. General Manager Joe Douglas has utilized a quantity over quality approach in free agency. By doing so, the emphasis falls squarely on the team finding star players in their draft. Joe Douglas needs to draft cornerstone pieces to the puzzle because the future of the Jets depends on it.
7-Round Mock Draft
Here is my 7-round mock draft for the Jets. (No trades). Although, despite the unique set-up next week. It would not surprise me to see Joe Douglas move up or down the draft board.
ROUND 1: (11)- Mekhi Becton- OT- Louisville
The draft could see as many as eight offensive linemen taken in the first round. Most draft pundits believe that Iowa’s OT Tristian Wirfs and Alabama’s OT Jedrick Wills will both be off the board by the time the Jets are on the clock. The question then becomes which offensive lineman Joe Douglas will prefer from this deep class. Georgia’s OT Andrew Thomas could be in play here as well. Many will contend that Mekhi Becton has the most upside at his position. His physical tools are out of this world. The 6’7 364-pound monster ran an astounding 5.1 in the 40-yard dash. The 20-year old Becton has his detractors who feel that the former protector of Lamar Jackson, is too raw and unpolished. But if Joe Douglas stands pat and sees Mekhi Becton as a Jason Peters type player, the Jets will gladly turn that virtual card in.
ROUND 2: (48)- Jalen Reagor- WR- TCU
If the Jets resist the temptation to draft a WR at 11 like Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, Jalen Reagor could be the Jets target at the receiver position with their next selection. Reagor provides the Jets with someone who can make plays down the field and after the catch. Some experts don’t see Reagor as a true go-to receiver, but as more of a complimentary piece on offense. Draft analysts have compared Reagor to receivers like Jakeem Grant and Curtis Samuel. Because of this projection, it could cause Jalen to slide in what is a deep draft-class at wide receiver. Reagor also brings added value in the return game.
Round 3: (68)- Curtis Weaver- EDGE- Boise State
The Jets never-ending search for a premium edge rusher continues. Jets fans have longed for the days of John Abraham. The team’s last pure all-star pass rusher. The Jets have whiffed mightily trying to address this position in recent times. A forgetful group of players like Lorenzo Mauldin, Vernon Gholston, and Jachai Polite, all failed to fill the role. The Jets are desperate to get this right finally.
Curtis Weaver was one of the nation’s best edge defenders in the last two years. In 2019, Weaver was a disruptive force in the MWC. He racked up 18.5 tackles for loss and had 13.5 sacks, to go along with 52 tackles and one interception. Pro Football Focus has Weaver as the third-best edge defender in this draft class. Sooner or later, the Jets are going to get this right. Hopefully, Weaver is the one to buck the trend.
Round 3: (79)- Bryce Hall- CB- Virginia
Cornerback is another position where the Jets need to find long-term answers. The team has utilized a ‘Rent a Cornerback’ strategy in the last few years to make up for ignoring the position in previous drafts.
Two years ago, Bryce Hall was considered one of the very best man corners in all of college football. Hall led the nation in pass-breakups with 24 in 2018. A gruesome left leg/ankle injury in 2019 ended his season prematurely. Due to the current state of the world, Hall has not been able to interview or be dissected thoroughly by NFL teams. As a result, his draft stock could take a hit. Hall and his doctors say that he will be ready by training camp. At 6’1 202, Hall has excellent size, long arms, and good ball skills. Hall’s experience as a former all-star receiver in high school served him well in his transition to cornerback. A lack of straight-line speed has some pundits projecting Bryce Hall to safety down the road. Combine that with his medical issues, and that’s why he is available in this round.
Round 4: (120)- Collin Johnson- WR- Texas
A player like Texas Wide Receiver Collin Johnson brings the Jets passing game an element that they sorely lack, and that’s size. Sam Darnold doesn’t have a valid safety net in the red zone. At 6’6 220, Johnson would fit that bill. Injuries limited Johnson’s production last year in college. At this point, he would be a Day 3 steal.
Round 5: (158)- Stanford Samuels III- CB- Florida State
Last year, the Jets were scrambling on the street to find answers at the cornerback position. The team needs to find and develop homegrown players in this area. Stanford Samuels at 6’1 is a press-man corner. SS III is raw but has starter potential as a pro. Samuels held his own against top competition like Clemson’s talented receiving corps last season. Despite his productivity and upside, Samuels 40 time of 4.65, will push him down some teams boards.
Round 6: (191)- Jonathan Garvin- EDGE- Miami
When it comes to the edge position on their defense, the Jets did very little in the offseason to address their depth. Jordan Jenkins is back for another year to set the edge and provide consistency, but New York has very little behind him. Garvin, nicknamed ‘Spider’ at the U for his length and agility, is as raw as they come. Garvin has the traits to play down on the ground in the 4-3 or stand up in the 3-4 for Gregg Williams’s defense.
Round 6: (211)- Joe Reed-WR/RB/KR- Virginia
There’s some buzz building towards the Browns selecting Ezra Cleveland. On that note, I could have the Jets select TCU Running Back Jet Anderson with their final pick. However, I think since the Jets have had success with players named Joe in the past. (Klecko & Namath) I will stick with Reed as the final pick.
Joe Reed brings position versatility, high character traits, and explosiveness to the table. Not since Brad Smith, have the Jets had a player who can bring this much value to the team as a backup. Reed averaged 28.7 yards per return in college with five touchdowns. Joe Reed can be a difference-maker. He’s precisely the type of player that the Jets need to draft next week.
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