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Draft Notes: Are you ready for Wilson?

RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl - BYU v Central Florida Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Today’s draft notes focus on Zach Wilson, who’s the heavy favourite for #2 overall. We look at a couple of running backs, a speedy wide receiver and finish with 5 interesting stats. If you’ve missed any of the historic draft notes, head HERE to read. Let’s dive straight in.

Super Zach Wilson

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If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that my preference is for the Jets to draft Justin Fields, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like or rate Zach Wilson. It just means that I personally feel Fields is the safer selection and I’d feel more comfortable with that selection. That’s not happening, everything points to Zach Wilson being the #2 overall pick in the draft, and I’m OK with that even if it’s not my preference.

Over the last 48-72 hours I’ve seen more anti-Wilson material than I’ve seen all off-season. Whether it’s former Jets scout Dan Kelly calling him a bust in waiting, or Colin Cowher doing a complete 180, giving WIlson a 15% chance of being a hit in the NFL, where as recently he was comparing him to Russell Wilson. The media is fickle, some guys build these prospects up so they can tear them down. All off-season I’ve said I was 50-50 on the Wilson/Fields decision, and it’s only in the last 3-4 weeks after finishing the evaluation I’ve tipped my balance to 60% Fields.

Wilson is an exciting prospect and it’s up to every Jets fan to get behind him 100% once the selection is in.

I probably don’t have to go over why I’m excited about the prospect of Wilson wearing Green. His off-platform throws are legendary now, his arm talent is evident, he throws with accuracy on the move, his release is lightning quick, he has the capability to throw from different angles to avoid pressure and had 1,286 deep yards last year, showcasing the arm strength. He showed an ability to throw into tight windows accurately, his upper-body mechanics are impeccable. He only had 3 interceptions all season and only 1.2% of all his throws were deemed to be turnover worthy.

I’m slightly concerned about his shoulder, considering he’s already had surgery on his throwing one. I’m concerned about the level of competition he faced and the fact his receivers did get open easy and often while he was protected by one of the best lines in the country. I’m concerned about his ball placement over the middle of the field and timing routes over the middle.

I think it’s OK to be cautiously optimistic, you don’t have to be either all in or all out. As long as you support him once he arrives that’s all that matters. No QB in this class is perfect, even Trevor Lawrence has his flaws. I like Zach Wilson, I like his swagger and he absolutely can be a top quarterback in this league, don’t take my concerns as not liking the prospect. But if anyone tells you he’s a guaranteed success, they either haven’t watched the tape or the NFL over the past 30 years.

Let’s talk about Khalil Herbert

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Khalil Herbert is one of my favourite prospects along with Michael Carter and Trey Sermon. I think he’s absolutely ideal for the Jets and the new Jets system, and here’s why.

Herbert is a 5’9 210lb RB with a low center of gravity and 4.46 speed. In one of the first newsletters I wrote, I broke down the outsize zone system and outlined what you needed from a RB in that system. The two most notable things are acceleration and vision. That’s based on what the line opens up and the decisions you need to make to take advantage. Herbert has both of those things in abundance.

He’s coming off a year where he carried the ball for 1,182 yards and 8 touchdowns, including 782 yards after contact, 42 missed tackles forced and 19 carries of 15 yards or more. He isn’t the fastest back in the draft class, but he gets up to speed quickly and that’s key.

There are a couple of things that will drop Herbert’s value, he’s a 5th year senior which means he’s already 23, and he wasn’t asked to catch the ball out of the backfield very often which could put teams off, including the Jets. However I think it’s more a case of he wasn’t asked to do it, rather than he can’t do it.

Let’s Talk Trey Sermon

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Do you ever just get a feeling about a player? A feeling that a player’s going to be great, even though nearly everyone disagrees with you? I get those every year, sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong. I’ve got that feeling about Trey Sermon.

When looking through his draft stock across publications, most have him going between the 4th and 6th rounds and that to me is low low low.

Sermon isn’t overly fast, he has just 32 receptions in 3 years. After spending three years in a complementary role for Oklahoma, he transferred to Ohio where he got the chance to be the feature back. He ended the 2020 season with 870 yards at 7.5 yards per attempt for 4 touchdowns. He put the team on his back against one of the best defences in the country in Northwestern, and had he got more carries he’d easily be a 1,000+ yard guy.

Here’s what I like about Sermon, he has that short area burst that is ideal in a zone scheme, he can stop/start on a dime, defenders find it tough to bring him down on first contact and he’s one of the best run-blocking backs in this draft. He ran in a zone scheme at Ohio racking up 517 yards after contact and 33 missed tackles on just 116 attempts.

His testing showed that explosive nature as he tested in the 77th percentile in the vertical jump and 87th percentile in the broad jump, as well as the 87th percentile in the 3-cone which I always pay attention to for backs. Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Trey Sermon ends up being an Aaron Jones type player who ends up being one of the best backs in football after being drafted in the 5th round.

Speed, and then more speed

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4.26, that’s the number you need to know when talking about Auburn receiver Anthony Schwartz. That was his timed forty at his pro-day, now that’s not just quick, that’s absolutely lightning.

Schwartz is a guy who will likely go around the 5th round, and that’s mainly because he’s still extremely raw as a receiver. He had 6 drops last year to go with his 54 receptions for 635 yards and 3 TD. For a player that was faster than anyone covering him, you’d expect a little more production than that.

He either went deep, or he caught the ball on a screen and utilised his pace to get past tracking linebackers. He’s a former track star learning the position and if you’re asking him to come in and pick up the pro route tree straight away, you’re probably going to be disappointed.

I like Schwartz, but I am a little concerned about his one-dimensional game. He forced just 4 missed tackles last year and came down with 1 contested catch. He looks like a guy who will make a splashy play but then disappear for long periods. Is it worth the risk if he’s there in the 6th? Sure.

I find Schwartz a really hard projection.

5 Interesting Stats

  • Justin Fields had a 2.45 wins above average mark in 2020, that’s the highest mark for any college player last year.
  • Jaycee Horn averaged one catch allowed for every 27.4 coverage snaps played.
  • Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore caught 96.7% of catchable targets in 2020 past the line of scrimmage, that’s tops.
  • Cincinnati tackle James Hudson III allowed 0 sacks and 0 QB hits in 319 pass-blocking snaps in 2020.
  • Kentucky’s Kelvin Johnson allowed 4 touchdowns on just 19 receptions, but he also took down 4 interceptions and allowed a 25% completion when targeted 20+ yards down the field (12 targets)