ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. has released his first mock draft of the year. He has the Jets going defense once again.
6. New York Jets
*Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
Fitzpatrick is the top cornerback and safety in this draft. He could play either position. He was primarily a safety at Alabama, but he covered receivers in the slot and on the outside, and he consistently made plays. New York took safeties with its top two picks last year (Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye), so Fitzpatrick would be a corner for the Jets, who have an opening with Morris Claiborne a free agent this offseason. This is another spot to watch for one of the top quarterbacks.
As Kiper notes, Fitzpatrick could project to either cornerback or safety. Presumably the Jets would take him to play at corner.
At this early point, I can’t say I’d be wild about it. While Fitzpatrick did play some corner at Alabama, he did bounce around the Alabama secondary. His ability to play corner in the NFL would be as much projection as solid evidence on film. While I’m not necessarily opposed to that in theory, it would take some convincing for me to buy a projection player as high as 6. At this early point, I’m not a big fan of the corner class for this year.
In this particular mock Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Bradley Chubb, Saquon Barkley, and Sam Darnold are the first five players off the board.