It is always a tad silly to try and grade a Draft class days after the picks are made. The only grades that matter are the ones that will come years from now once we know whether the picks were actually successful or not. That never stops anybody from trying, though.
How do the experts think the Jets did in the 2020 Draft? Let’s take a look below.
Even though Draft grades today don’t matter much in general, remember that they are only stupid if they don’t praise the Jets.
New York Jets
For the sake of Sam Darnold, the Jets needed a left tackle. And they got literally the biggest one in the draft with Louisville’s Mekhi Becton in the first round. To use a Mike Mayock-ism, Becton is this draft’s dancing bear. He’s a powerful blocker who can get out to the edge and he can finish off blockers. Even better, the Jets could wait until pick No. 11 to get him.
The Jets then got some help for Darnold with wide receiver Denzel Mims in the second round and running back La’Mical Perine in the fourth. Mims should automatically assume the No. 1 receiver role in New York.
Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall was a good risk to take in the fifth round. If he’s healthy, he can be a starting cornerback on the outside for the Jets.
New York Jets
Draft picks: Louisville OT Mekhi Becton (No. 11 overall), Baylor WR Denzel Mims (No. 59), Cal S Ashtyn Davis (No. 68), Florida DE Jabari Zuniga (No. 79), Florida RB La’Mical Perine (No. 120), Florida International QB James Morgan (No. 125), UNC-Charlotte OT Cameron Clark (No. 129), Virginia CB Bryce Hall (No. 158), Texas A&M P Braden Mann (No. 191)
Day 1 grade: A
Day 2 grade: A
Day 3 grade: B+
Overall grade: A-
Draft analysis: New York completed its overhaul of the offensive line with Becton in the first round, found a second-round value at receiver in Mims and got solid picks on the edge and at safety.
On Saturday, Perine was brought in rather than attacking the team’s need at cornerback. Perine is a really fun back to watch, however, so I expect he’ll back up Le’Veon Bell adeptly. I think Morgan was probably picked a round or so earlier than his film portended, but I can’t blame the Jets for wanting to find a potential backup quarterback. The question is: Should Jake Fromm have been the selection, despite his average arm? Clarke was a solid value pick in the fourth as a versatile offensive lineman, but the team could have used that pick (No. 129) to address another position. Hall might have been a second-round pick after the 2018 season, but an injury dropped him down boards a bit — he could prove to be a real steal in the fifth. Mann’s leg will be appreciated by his defense. Getting cornerback Quincy Wilson from the Colts for a sixth-round pick makes sense.
Pro Football Focus
NEW YORK JETS
Round 1 (11): T Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Round 2 (59): WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
Round 3 (68): S Ashtyn Davis, California
Round 3 (79): EDGE Jabari Zuniga, Florida
Round 4 (120): RB La’Mical Perine, Florida
Round 4 (125): QB James Morgan, FIU
Round 4 (129): OT Cameron Clark, Charlotte
Round 5 (158): CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
Round 6 (191): P Braden Mann, Texas A&M
Day 1: Not only was Mekhi Becton not among the top five offensive tackles on PFF’s Big Board, but he wasn’t even a top-40 prospect in this draft class. Becton has generational physical tools and athleticism for a guy his size at 6-foot-7, 360-pounds. The only issue is that he has little production to speak for it and was protected in Louisville’s play-action and screen-heavy offense. Becton saw only 73 true pass sets in 2019 and allowed eight pressures on those. We knew someone would take a chance on Becton early, and the New York Jets came out as the ones to take the high-risk, high-reward prospect.
Day 2: Instead of going after a receiver like Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs or CeeDee Lamb in Round 1, the Jets got great value in Round 2 with Denzel Mims at pick No. 59. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound receiver is the ideal size, owns elite level athleticism, and has great body control. However, as PFF Lead Draft Analyst Mike Renner said, Mims is still very much a project — he needs to develop as a route-runner.
Ashtyn Davis was the 33rd-ranked player on the PFF Big Board, so getting him at pick No. 68 is a steal. He was named the best single-high safety in the class by Mike Renner. Over the past two years, Davis ranked fifth in PFF coverage grade when playing single-high while picking up a couple of interceptions and pass breakups in the process. Davis is a special athlete and a former track star for Cal who has elite range.
Like Davis, Jabari Zuniga is a freak athlete — but unlike Davis, Zuniga at the 79th overall pick was more of a reach than a steal. He could dominate the lower tier of tackles he faced but struggled against the good ones. Zuniga posted just a 13% win rate against Power-5 tackles in his career.
Day 3: One of the best picks made on Day 3 came from the New York Jets when they got Bryce Hall 158th overall. If Hall had declared last year, there is a strong chance he would have gone in the first round. However, he unfortunately suffered a season-ending injury in Week 7 while in punt coverage that lowered his draft stock significantly. Injury aside, Hall has some of the best ball skills we have ever seen here at PFF. At 6-foot-1 with over 32-inch arms, Hall posted the best forced incompletion percentage in all of college football (28.2%) in 2017 and 2018. In that span, his coverage grade was the fifth best in the country. He has the potential to make an impact from day one.
Draft Grade: B+
NEW YORK JETS
1 (11). Mekhi Becton, T, Louisville
2 (59). Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
3 (68). Ashtyn Davis, S, California
3 (79). Jabari Zuniga, DE, Florida
4 (120). La’Mical Perine, RB, Florida
4 (125). James Morgan, QB, Florida International
4 (129). Cameron Clark, G, Charlotte
5 (158). Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
6 (191). Braden Mann, P, Texas A&M
By the end of last season, the Jets were playing with four backup offensive linemen, and that lineup actually played better than the starting unit had played. The point? They need more O-line talent. Mekhi Becton has that. He’s the largest man to enter the league since right tackle Trent Brown, who earned a $36.25 million guaranteed contract with the Raiders in 2019. He played left tackle at Louisville, and plugging him in there would let ex-Seahawk George Fant, who was signed for three years and $27.3 million ($8.85 million guaranteed), play right tackle, where he’s probably better suited. Becton might have some pass-blocking mechanics to clean up, but he should be a Day One starter.
So should wideout Denzel Mims. On the rare snaps where Adam Gase’s scheme did not look to deliberately help its receivers through design, New York’s lack of perimeter talent and depth at this position was grossly exposed. And that was with a quality “X” receiver in Robby Anderson. Now Anderson is a Panther, leaving New York in need of a pure outside weapon to pair with newcomer Breshad Perriman. Mims gives Sam Darnold a well-sized target, though in a perfect world, the Jets would have found one more receiver in the middle rounds. But that was undoable after addressing the need for a long-term backup QB (James Morgan) and running back depth to compensate for the departures of veterans Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery.
On defense, the Ashtyn Davis pick might add to the speculation that Jamal Adams will eventually be traded since it is hard to immediately decipher where, exactly, Davis will play in New York’s defense. Adams is a first-class strong safety and Marcus Maye is a quality free safety. But Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has never hesitated to put extra defensive backs on the field, and given his predilection for playing Cover 2 out of so many different formats and disguises, having a third dynamic safety could be of real value. It’s also possible that the Jets have decided they’ll let Maye hit free agency after this season. He fits the profile of the free agent who gets away, as he’s not quite good enough to franchise tag but too good to re-sign at a team-friendly price.
Up front, our friend Greg Cosell has cited Jabari Zuniga as a possible dark horse star. He played several positions at Florida, flashing terrific explosiveness both outside and inside, particularly as a pass rusher. Many (including yours truly) felt before the draft that New York’s biggest need on defense was cornerback. But with the amount of Cover 2 the Jets play, their corners often have help… just as long as the pass rush can get there. Zuniga aids that.
New York Jets: B
The Jets rebuilt their offensive line in free agency and completed that project by choosing T Mekhi Becton 11th overall. That should help third-year QB Sam Darnold. So, too, should the second-round selection of WR Denzel Mims.
How do you grade the 2020 Jets Draft class?
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