After the highly-anticipated first day for the Jets, their second pick of the 2020 NFL Draft might be even more important. The likelihood of taking an offensive lineman with Pick 11 is getting bigger by the day. Therefore, Joe Douglas and his staff better hope a good receiver is there at Pick 48. Strengthening the pool of targets for Sam Darnold seems like the only option for the Jets in the second round.
Draft Capital: Pick 48 (16th in the second round)
Best Pick: Denzel Mims, Baylor, WR
Mims just might be the most underrated receiver in this year’s draft. Sure, he might not be as explosive as CeeDee Lamb and as complete as Jerry Jeudy. But he succeeds in every component that could make him a top target on the pro level (“ticks all the boxes” as scouts like to say).
During four seasons with the Bears, Mims recorded nearly 3,000 yards through the air. That includes two seasons with at least 1,000 yards. In a statistical plan, what really makes him NFL-worthy could be the consistency he’s proven to show in college. He had 60-plus catches in two of his four seasons, the latter of which concluded with career-high 12 touchdowns.
His playing style resembled that of elite NFL receivers. He’s very physical while remaining quite quick on the go. Meanwhile, his route-running skills compare only with Jerry Jeudy’s elite route running. It helps him get separation and not get shut down by top cornerbacks. That makes him valuable in both the long-threat and the intermediate game.
There’s no question – Denzel Mims has what it takes to transfer his talents to the NFL successfully. And while he isn’t as highly thought of as some of the early-first-round receivers, if anyone belongs there, it’s him. Having said that, he still might not fall to the Jets at 48th. As we noted, there’re lots of good wide receivers and a lot of teams need more of them. In addition, every team from late-first onwards could look to, surprisingly, squeeze Mims. The Packers and the Bears are among those who have met with Mims.
Most Realistic Pick: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Aiyuk could not be available in the worst-case scenario. Nevertheless, he is more likely to be there at Pick 48.
Aiyuk might not have the route-running and catching skills that Mims has. However, he was a terrific long-ball receiver at Arizona State and could be very successful in making up for the lost production left by Robby Anderson’s departure.
As we noted in Jets Mock 1.0, Aiyuk averages more than 18 yards per catch, 18.3 to be precise. He doesn’t offer much value on contested catches. But he very closely resembles Robby Anderson when it comes to the way the Jets can utilize him – mainly in the long-threat passing game.
He needs a lot of work to be anything more than a speedy guy that has problems against good coverage. If he’s good, he and Breshad Perriman are a killer duo in the long-ball passing game. That is a risk worth taking with Jamison Crowder, leading the team in receptions (78) and yards (833), could be ready to be the consistent receiver the Jets will need to use more and in contested situations.
This year’s historic draft class at wide receiver includes around ten prospects at the position that could go in the first two rounds. That means perhaps five should be drafted in the first 16 picks of the second round for New York to be left empty-handed.
The possibility for that to happen is very small, if there’s any, to begin with. This will go on to address other needs and the Jets will find their guy with Pick 48. If teams get busy drafting receivers and the Jets experience issues, the worst they could get is Penn State’s K.J. Hamler and TCU’s Jalen Reagor. These, especially Reagor, are options that could turn out to be not too disappointing compared to frontrunners for the pick like Aiyuk.
If somehow all second-round-worthy WRs aren’t on the table come Pick 48, there are two ways to overcome this. Should the Jets draft a top WR at 11th, they go on to address the offensive tackles with Austin Jackson, Erza Cleveland, etc. If they elect to go offensive lineman in the first, either get an edge, a corner, or settle for a lesser talent for WR3.
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
In short, Reagor is a better version of Aiyuk. There are concerns about him – he had a downfall in 2019, including just 43 catches for 611 yards. However, he averaged 14.2 even in his worst campaign and still had five touchdown catches.
While he also remains extremely productive in the vertical game, he’s substantially impressive in two other departments – 50/50 balls and yards after catch. Also, he went off as TCU’s kick returner, averaging 20.8 yards per return. he’s one of the most versatile receivers that will likely go off the board in the late-first to early-second round.
Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
Shenault is a terrific route runner whose acceleration during the routes makes him very fast for his size. As a sophomore in 2018, he had nearly nine-plus receptions per game in nine starts. He was less explosive last year but was still very consistent with 13.6 yards average in 11 games.
Again, his speed and size give the Jets the chance to utilize him in different schemes and keep him on the field. But again, it’s difficult to see him stay on the board that late in the second round.
Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
It’s an interesting case – Claypool has been linked to New York more than any other second-round receiver not named Brandon Aiyuk. At the same time, I’ve more than once seen him evaluated as a middle-round wide-receiving prospect.
Claypool holds a lot of value in the intermediate passing game. He’s very athletic and gets separation even in press coverage. His performance during a breakout 2019 year elevated his value with him recording 66 receptions, 1,037 yards, and 13 touchdowns. He averaged 15.7 yards per catch but his impressive work on short-pass routes is worth noting.
He could be a reach at 48th, passing on better-polished overall prospects of some sort. However, this pick could be worth it considering NY’s needs and, at the end of the day, that wouldn’t matter should he prove his value.
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