Perfect Picks: New York Jets
With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
We will highlight four players that could help each team. This will feature picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper.
Joe Douglas couldn’t have imagined a worse season than his second in the General Manager seat for the New York Jets. Going 0-14 and narrowly missing out on the first overall pick was the stimulus for him to hit the reset button. Out went Adam Gase and he was shortly followed by young Quarterback Sam Darnold.
With the second overall pick the Jets are expected to take their next franchise QB, restarting the clock on a Superbowl window. With a cheap rookie deal at the premier position now is the chance for Douglas to shape a winner with the help of new Head Coach Robert Saleh. The former 49ers defensive coordinator should bring a no-nonsense style to the Big Apple, in hope they can shift the franchise’s fortunes.
Round 1 - Pick 2 - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Ultimately, the Jets shipping Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers was no surprise. At the start of draft season there were plenty of analysts calling for Darnold to be given more time but with the second overall pick in hand, Douglas opted for a full makeover. A decision on Darnold’s long-term future was approaching and the easiest option was to cut bait and find his replacement at the top of the draft.
If there was a surprise it was that the name floated was BYU’s Zach Wilson. As draft season hit full stride and Wilson was subjected to deep dives it became clear why the Jets were so laser-focussed on him. As QB guru Trent Dilfer often references, Wilson has an ‘it’ factor. A confidence and swagger. Paired with a huge arm and playmaking ability, you can almost write his name in ink at number 2. He did benefit from a strong offensive line and lesser competition but his pro-day featured whispers of Mahomes and all but confirmed Wilson will be holding a Jets jersey on night 1.
Round 1 - Pick 23 - Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
The Jets are fortunate to hold two first round picks in this year’s draft. They certainly need them. While Wilson will be the man to remould the offense, the Jets were in dire need of adding talent on defense. They splashed out on Carl Lawson to give them some edge rush talent but there remains a dearth of talent in this secondary group.
Northwestern’s Greg Newsome has been a steady riser up draft boards. With concerns over Caleb Farley’s medical history, there is a chance Newsome vaults him and could be the third cornerback off the board. He is smooth and twitchy in coverage. While he only snagged one interception in college, his stickiness is highlighted by double digit pass breakups in his final two years. He would be an immediate starter who could hold down one of the outside corner spots.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 66 - Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
The Jets had to add playmakers on offense during free agency and did so with receiver Corey Davis. They will hope Denzel Mims and Josh Doctson can partner with him, as well as Jamison Crowder in the slot. That said, none of those options should deter the Jets snaffling a wideout should one offer good value.
In the third round Dyami Brown represents exactly that. The Jets can utilise Mims in the slot and get Brown on the field as an outside deep threat. The former North Carolina blazer is a game-changing threat. He averaged 20 yards per catch in 2020 and topped 1,000 yards receiving in his last two seasons. There will be some concern over drops and the contested catch ability that will be needed at the NFL level but speed kills and Brown has plenty of it.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 226 - Tay Gowan, CB, UCF
As alluded to when we drafted Greg Newsome in round 1, the Jets are light on legitimate NFL cornerbacks. Even adding a high-level talent like Newsome won’t fully resolve that issue. The Jets will be hoping that one of their young, developmental rostered players will emerge but don’t be surprised if they take a swing on a corner in the later rounds of the draft.
UCF’s Tay Gowan is the epitome of a late round projection. He has the desired height and speed that NFL teams seek but simply doesn’t have the track record that would allow you to take him earlier than day 3. Gowan originally committed to Miami (Ohio) but arrived at UCF via junior college. He had two picks and ten pass deflections in only 9 starts during the 2019 season before opting out of 2020. If you are comfortable drafting on traits alone then you could make a star of Gowan once he adds more experience.
Draft In Full:
2. Zach Wilson, BYU (QB)
23. Greg Newsome II, Northwestern (CB)
34. Javonte Williams, North Carolina (RB)
66. Dyami Brown, North Carolina (WR)
86. Chazz Surratt, North Carolina (LB)
107. Kendrick Green, Illinois (iOL)
146. Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh (Edge)
155. Tedarrell Slaton, Florida (DT)
186. Drew Dalman, Stanford (iOL)
226. Tay Gowan, UCF (CB)
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.com.