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The Way Too Early 2021 NFL Mock Draft

The annual dart throw begins

2011 NFL Draft Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

This is my “Way too early, pre NCAA National Champion, Senior Bowl and NFL Combine in the distant future mock draft.” Why?!! Because everyone loves mock drafts!

I would like to throw my penny into the wishing well to see how close I can get to the real deal when we are so far away from the Draft in a year with players sitting out and college teams playing far less games than normal.

For fun I will throw in a couple of trades because Joe D likes to wheel and deal. I will do the full 7 rounds even though there is some question whether the Jets have a 7th round pick. The Jets traded their pick to the 49ers but may have a 7th coming back from Seattle in the Parry Nickerson trade. Some sites say yes. Others say no. The NFL has yet to release its records.

I will give a highlight of each player selected along with a brief synopsis of their virtues. Remember this is very early in the process. The college season is not even over so don’t hold me to these picks. They are well-researched, but I have not received enough information on any player to make a definitive decision on their grade or where they fit in the landscape.

Also don’t fixate on where I selected a player. No one knows where these players will be drafted 4 months from now. With possibly 6 QBs going somewhere in the first round it could move some quality players down the board. I tried to use my best judgement in slotting the players, but it is more of a guess that an science especially this early.

First I will tell you of a trade that happened just before the 2021 Draft. It’s a shocker as the Jets trade their QB Sam Darnold to the 49ers for pick #15. There are many teams in search of a QB this draft season with too few QBs to satisfy the need. The 49ers have 3 QBs with equally low ceilings, and I know Kyle Shanahan liked Sam coming out of college. Sam gets to move back to the West Coast and work for a coach who can really help his development. He will be working in an offensive system that is far more conducive to his skill set.

The other trade (even though Joe D will continue to wheel and deal) has the Jets dealing their first round pick it received from Seattle to the Carolina Panthers for picks #41 & #73. Carolina does not believe that Teddy Bridgewater is the player that can take them to a Super Bowl, and they fear that Florida QB Kyle Trask will soon be taken by another team trading up for him in the bottom of the first round.

So without further ado....

With the 2nd selection in the 2021 NFL draft the New York Jets select:

Zach Wilson QB BYU 6’ 3” 215 lbs

Wilson is still very young. He won’t turn 22 until the Jets start training camp. He looks like he is 16 years old, but he has a live arm, can make all the throws, and is super accurate. He is technically sound in his fundamentals plus he is said to be a tough kid as well as a leader. His stats for 2020 are (in 12 games) 3,699 passing yards, 33 TDs and 3 INTs, 246/335- 73.4%, 254 yards rushing and 10 TDs. (Remember in college sacks count against your rushing yards.)

He is a pocket passer with very good movement abilities. He is not a running QB. He worked with former BYU QB John Beck over the summer on his technique and the difference in his accuracy was awesome. He is a film junkie who eats, dreams, and lives football. He has the type of positive nature with elite skills to turn around the Jets. I have him closer to Trevor Lawrence as a prospect than Justin Fields despite his outlier semifinal game.

Lawrence is said to be a generational prospect, but that might be an overstatement. He has talent no doubt, but he played his entire career on an all-star team that dominated their opponents. He only had to show up for a couple games a year to make the difference, and he lost the last two games that mattered in his short career.

Wilson has never had the luxury of a Clemson or Ohio State roster and competed with many average athletes who may never see an NFL field without a ticket to the game. Still he put up superior numbers with this lesser talent. Wilson had to compete every week to win unlike the other two top QBs who had a team that could overwhelm their competition. The difference is he is more technically sound than both Lawrence and Fields with a better arm than both.

Wilson lacks the size of Lawrence, and he needs to develop a stronger body to absorb the rigors of the NFL. That will come in time. Lawrence will be the #1 pick no doubt but the Jets might catch a break when they select Wilson #2 and find over time they selected the best QB in the 2021 NFL draft. Joe D will get the credit. You heard it here first.

With the 15th selection in the 2021 NFL Draft the New York Jets select:

Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech 6’ 2” 207 lbs

Farley is a big kid with great length who is another in a long line of quality CBs to come out of Virginia Tech. He sat out this year so the wear and tear on the body is less that others. He played in only 23 college games but had 6 INTs and 19 passes defended. The Jets are in dire need of corner help, and Farley fits the bill. He is the 2nd best cornerback in this draft IMO behind only Patrick Surtain II. I like Farley as a prospect, but if the Jets had the 15th pick and Surtain II got to #12 without being selected I would trade up for him.

You have to realize I have never lobbied for the Jets to select any Alabama CB for reasons which are too numerous to list. Yet I think Surtain II is a special cat, and I would trade up for him if he got within a few spots of the Jets pick. I think he will go somewhere in the later part of the top 10 picks, and that would be too expensive for a trade up.

With the 34th selection in the 2021 NFL Draft the New York Jets select:

Creed Humphrey Center Oklahoma 6’ 5” 320 lbs

Humphrey was a possible 1st round pick in 2020 but decided to stay in school. He moves well for such a huge man. Above he takes out the nose tackle before finding the linebacker on the second level to keep him from the play.

Connor McGovern didn’t impress this year as the Jets center, but he does have experience as a guard. It would be nice to have players who can play multiple positions along the offensive line. The Jets could also trade McGovern for more Draft capital if they desire.

With the 41st selection (from Carolina) in the 2021 NFL Draft the New York Jets select:

Rashod Bateman WR Minnesota 6’ 2” 210 lbs

Bateman has superior speed along with great hands as you can see above. He has the size and strength to mix it up with NFL corners who are far more physical than those in college. Bateman played in only 5 games this year catching 36 balls for 472 yards and 2 TDs. He opted out of the season early over COVID-19 concerns when nine Minnesota players and six staffers tested positive for COVID-19.

Bateman would be a solid #2 receiver who would bookend with Denzel Mims as outside receivers. They would become a speedy, powerful tandem for years in Gotham.

With the 66th selection in the 2021 NFL Draft the New York Jets select:

Najee Harris RB Alabama 6’ 2” 230 lbs

Many people say that the RB position is diminished, and you can get a great back later in the draft but that is simply not the case. Sure James Robinson is 3rd in rushing and was a UDFA from Illinois State, and Aaron Jones is #4 and was a 5th round pick. The rest of the top 14 rushers in the NFL are all first round picks. If you want to try and find a diamond in the rough out of a myriad of players you can be my guest. The best friends of a rookie QB is an offensive line and a strong running game.

Harris is strong and powerful with great agility for such a rugged back. Plus he has 69 receptions out of the backfield for a team that is always loaded at the receiver position. At this point in the Draft Harris is too good a prospect to pass up.

With the 73rd selection (from Carolina) in the 2021 NFL Draft the New York Jets select:

Jackson Carman offensive tackle Clemson 6’ 5” 345 lbs

Carman is the left tackle for the Tigers #79 in the clip above. He has decent feet and length to play left tackle in college, but I would move him to the right side where he can use his muscular frame to help the run game. Here he blocks down on his man then picks off the ILB on the second level.

This would give the Jets solid, huge bookend tackles for years to come. If Becton were to go down at any point Carman could move over to the left side without much problem.

With the 90th selection in the 2021 NFL Draft the New York Jets select:

Daviyon Nixon DT Iowa 6’ 3” 305 lbs

I can hear the groans now, but I would be very surprised if Nixon makes it to this part of the Draft. Right now he is listed by many as a 3rd round prospect, He is instinctive as a player and athletic. Watch above as he uses a basketball type move to get by the QB on the interception.

Nixon reminds me so very much of Grady Jarrett when he came out of Clemson. To have a talent like that along side Quinnen Williams would be awesome. Defensive line is a strength for the Jets, but you need to reinforce that strength when possible or the strength becomes a weakness Injuries happen too often so you can never have enough great players.

Note:

At this point in the Draft the selection numbers are just a guess. When the NFL adds in all the compensatory picks the exact number of each pick could change.

With the 104th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft the New York Jets select:

Chris Rumph II OLB/Edge Duke 6’ 3” 235 lbs

Rumph is a little smaller than you would like from an edge rusher, but he is quick and powerful for his size. Rumph can play on the edge, come from the second level on a blitz, slide around the defensive line, or even use his quickness as a down lineman in a pass rushing mode. In 35 career games he has 33 TFL and 18 sacks while playing on a team with little top end defensive talent.

Against Boston College earlier this year he had 9 QB pressures and a sack. He even has dropped into coverage now and again with 5 passes defended in his career as well.

With selection #145 the New York Jets select:

Sadarius Hutcherson Guard South Carolina 6’ 4” 320 lbs

Hutchinson played left tackle at South Carolina but doesn’t have the lateral agility for that position in the NFL. He does move well and is a powerful player who should need just a little adjustment to move inside at guard at the next level. You can see him come out on this quick screen pass then truck the ILB to pave the way.

Hutcherson has the size you need inside, and with his experience he can fill in at at time of need if injuries should happen at the tackle spot. It is always nice to have players who can play multiple positions on the offensive line.

With the 154th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft the New York Jets select:

T. J. Carter Cornerback Memphis 5’ 11” 190 lbs

Carter was a Freshman All-American when he intercepted 4 passes, defended 11 throws, forced 2 fumbles, and had 69 tackles in 13 games. In fact he had 6 INTs his first two years until QBs started to shy away from his coverage.

Late in his junior year he had an ankle injury that kept him out of the rest of the season. then a hamstring injury forced him to only play in 6 games in 2020. When healthy he has great coverage and ball skills. His medicals will determine where he goes in the Draft.

With the 195th selection in the 2021 draft the New York Jets select:

Reed Blankenship Safety Middle Tennessee State 6’ 1” 200 lbs

Blankenship is a 4 year starter who his teammates nicknamed “Smooth.” He played a strong safety role his first 2 season and more of a free safety the last two. He had 15 TFLs his first 2 seasons but only 2 TFLs the last two because of the switch in positions. He has 309 career tackles, 8 INTs, and 11 passes defended. He would be a great special teams member and a solid backup who could play either safety position.

He is not as dynamic a player as Kevin Byard who was also from Middle Tennessee State. Byard went in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft and became an All Pro. Blankenship is still a smart, tough player with ball skills to make plays all over the field.

With the 251st pick in the 2021 NFL Draft the New York Jets select:

Jose Borregales kicker Miami 5’ 10” 205 lbs

Borregales is a 4 year starter who made 20 of 22 field goals in 2020 with a long of 57 yards as shown above. He was also 37 of 37 on extra points. He was 2 for 2 on 50+ yard field goals. His only two misses came when he went 7 for 9 from 40-49 yards. You never know the weather conditions in these games or if they had an effect on the kicker. With the trouble the Jets have had in the kicking game I think a 7th round pick is a small price to pay to try and find consistency at the position.

The bonus here is that Borregales also punted in high school so he gives you some relief if your punter goes down mid game.

There you have it, my way too early draft. Already it is ruined as this was written before Najee Harris jumped over a defender for a 53 yard gain. I look forward to Wize nitpicking my selections even though these are just dart throws at this point.

That is what I think...

What do you think....?