Recent NFL mock drafts seem to agree on one thing. There is no obvious selection for the Jets with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Ironically the most common select is a cornerback at 23 with the pick obtained from Seattle in the Jamal Adams trade.
2. New York Jets
The pick: Justin Fields, Quarterback, Ohio State
We had Fields down the board a bit because of questions about his performance against Indiana and in the Big Ten Championship Game during the abbreviated 2020 season. Those go by the wayside after his incredible game against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. The raw tools are certainly there for the Georgia transfer. He’s got a rocket arm and tremendous mobility and athleticism that can give defenses fits, but his ability to recognize coverages is the issue. When he makes mistakes, they tend to be big ones.
23. New York Jets
The pick: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
He’s going here because the Jets need everything, he’s likely the most talented guy left on the board, and he can excite a fan base. Harris is fantastic in pass pro, which is what often keeps rookies from getting on the field right away in the NFL. He’s also a pass catcher and a dynamic runner. The old saw about taking running backs too early doesn’t apply to this level of talent.
2. NEW YORK JETS: QB ZACH WILSON, BYU
Until the Jets come out and tell us otherwise, you can’t convince me this won’t be the pick. Sure, you could roll the dice with Sam Darnold, but then you’ll have to pay him immediately afterward. Four cheap years with Wilson could quickly put the Jets in Super Bowl contention.
23. NEW YORK JETS (FROM SEATTLE): CB JAYCEE HORN, SOUTH CAROLINA
The Jets are relatively barren at the cornerback position, and Horn has the kind of physicality that Robert Saleh will love in his defense. He had almost as many combined picks and pass breakups (seven) in 2020 as he did receptions allowed (eight).
2. New York Jets
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
This is where the intrigue in the draft begins. Will the Jets stick with quarterback Sam Darnold for another year, or will they take Zach Wilson or Justin Fields? (Or maybe even trade for Deshaun Watson?) The good news for general manager Joe Douglas and new coach Robert Saleh is that they have three months to figure it out. This is a huge decision, and Douglas and Saleh have to be 100% sure that Wilson or Fields is an upgrade over Darnold. My feeling right now is that yes, Darnold’s stats are ugly, but he’s only 23 and he has had no offensive talent around him for three years. Do the Jets really want to move on from him and watch him thrive elsewhere? That’s why they could give him a one-year audition under Saleh, pick the Heisman Trophy winner at No. 2, and give Darnold one more shot to put all of his talent together. Smith is the true No. 1 target Darnold hasn’t had.
23. New York Jets (from SEA)
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Jets have needs all over. After I gave them wideout DeVonta Smith at No. 2, they really have to go with the best available prospect here to build up their talent base. I think they will likely bring back free-agent safety Marcus Maye, but we know Robert Saleh’s defense is built around big defensive backs. Six-foot-1 Horn — yes, his father is former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn — is a fit. He had two interceptions (both in the win over Auburn) in seven games last season before he opted out, but he has great instincts in coverage and should pick off more passes in the NFL. This is also a spot to watch for edge rushers — New York needs to improve there.
What do you think?