EDIT: This has been in drafts half finished for 4 months.. Oh well I finished it with incomplete memory of everything.
This is the fun part - the real mock draft. The mock draft where you know exactly who is on the board and how the draft is shaping up. This will be my third Jets draft redo, with the first 2 I've done being in 2016 as well as last year's 2020 draft.
The tricky part of this year’s draft redo is the Alijah Vera-Tucker trade. Those who know me know that I am a firm opponent of the trade up to #14 (and also received #143) with Minnesota in exchange for the Jets 2021 #23, #66, #86 picks. There are many ways to explain why I felt this trade was a less than ideal move for the Jets, but I’ll post one succinct tweet below that captures the scale of the trade fairly well and leave it at that.
When I converted our point slots into expected salaries, the only way that trade works for the Jets is to have AVT wind up being worth about 14.8M a year, 2nd highest paid guard in all the NFL That makes it even with the average outcome at the other spots.— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) May 6, 2021
For fairness sakes, I will re-do the draft with the trade taking place and using the same draft slots because I cannot predict that Christian Darrisaw would still have fallen to pick 23 or AVT would have fallen to 23 had the Jets not made that trade. While that's just one example, any picks I would have wanted to make 66 and 86 also could be contested with that same logic and the "butterfly affect" argument. I may post another more concise FanPost with who I would have taken at 23, 66, and 86 instead of AVT.
Round 1, Pick 2: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
No surprise here as I’ve been possibly the most ardent and vocal Wilson supporter here on GGN since mid-January. It may surprise some to know that I was not always "Team Wilson" but rather once the Jets won their 2nd game of the season and were locked into the second pick I was fully on board with Justin Fields being the obvious pick at #2. It was when PFF started mocking Zach Wilson to the Jets at #2 in early January that I became uncomfortable with that idea of drafting Wilson, so I set out to understand on my own terms which QB I thought would be best for the Jets to draft rather than simply ignore PFF - or alternatively - take them at their word. That long journey led me to an independent conclusion wherein I fully believe Zach Wilson will be the most talented player to play QB for the New York Jets since Joe Namath. I’ll provide 1 chart of the 2021 draft QBs that best exemplifies why I like Zach Wilson over Justin Fields and move on from there to the next pick.
Round 1, Pick 14: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Viginia Tech
This will ruffle some feathers on here, but without mentioning the trade package again, there are realistically 3 positional options here at #14 IMO: OT, WR, CB. I explicitly did not list OG here and that's because while the JEts have 2 needs at OG and have only 1 need at OT, it's a lot easier to find a Guard later in the draft than it is to find a serviceable OT, and 2 high end OT talents on rookie contracts would be massive. I passe on WR and CB here with the top-2 CBs off the board and #14 being too rich for my blood for Farley and his injury concerns or Newsome (Although I think Newsome would be a great fit). WR is also too rich here for Elijah Moore or Rashod Bateman here in my opinion.
Darrisaw and AVT are nearly the exact same age and both have been 3 year starters in only 3 years of college football. Both are great prospects but I lean towards the guy who play LT the last several seasons and graded out with elite PFF grades in those seasons - besting AVT's performance at OT and OG at USC. Darrisaw has prototypical size and length for the position and in a draft where it seems like every "tier 2" OT or beyond had T-Rex arms, his length has value here. The ONLY concern I have with Darrisaw is his reported back injury, and while I am assuming that is what caused him to fall to 23 to the Vikings I would still rather have the slightly better prospect at the slightly more valuable position than to go with the guy who has good, but not elite measurables, and good but not elite grading at a position where it's nice to be good, but has less impact on winning football than the other positions.
The real painful part here is that Rashawn Slater fell all the way to #13, 1 pick away from the Jets pick for AVT.
Round 2, Pick 34: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
There were a lot of weird picks from #24 to #33, and as a result a first round WR fell to the Jets at #34. My most difficult decisions in most of my mock drafts were whether to take Rashod Bateman or Elijah Moore at #23, and often neither were projected to be there. If Elijah Moore was 2.5 inches taller and 20 lbs heavier he would a top-10 pick. I agree with the strategy here from the Jets - get more pass catchers and build a deep and talented WR core and try to find that true #1 WR. While CB is a major need, the talent just isn't there at #34 compared to the talent of a guy like Elijah Moore. The only thing that causes me pause is the idea of trying to take Dyami Brown later and targeting a guy like Asante Samuel Jr or Teven Jenkins or Sam Cosmi, but drafting multiple OTs feels wrong with Mekhi looking like a potential stud.
Round 4, Pick 107: Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
A lot of interesting WRs still available here: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Seth Williams and Tylan Wallace in particular. However with draft Elijah Moore and signing Corey Davis and other big needs yet to be addressed, I'm not sure if they match the need here. All of the guards I thought were day 1 starters are gone (Kendrick Green, Ben Cleveland, and Quinn Meinerz) and most of the decent CB prospects are gone as well. As a result I'm stuck deciding between an EDGE like Cam Sample, TE in Brevin Jordan, or CBs Tay Gowan and Tre Brown. I chose Jordan because his athletic testing was the sole reason he didn't go sooner. Great breakout age and production in college and has a legit ceiling as a pass catching TE that no one else on the Jets roster has. Gowan and Brown are bigger positional needs but also bigger gambles IMO.
I should also mention that I don't like drafting RBs that aren't obvious 3 down studs in the top 150 picks. Even than I don't like obvious 3 down studs because I don't like RBs that much. Michael Carter seems fun though?
Round 5, Pick 146: Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan
Not a big fan of Sherwood but he presents as a hybrid OLB whereas McGrone is more of an ILB. I like addressing the LB group here and both of these guys present athletic projects with big ceilings, I just think McGrone's ceiling and tools are higher based upon the tape and pedigree and I'm more confident that McGrone's size will translate to the NFL level whereas I am not so sure about Sherwood's transition. In the end, we're getting to the parts of the draft where this doesn't matter as much. It was hard to pass up Seth Williams here as well.
Round 5, Pick 154: Seth Williams, WR, Auburn
The Michael Carter pick was not to my liking, but if that wasn't bad enough then Jets doubled down and took Michael Carter II here... Absolutely bizarre, he's a UDFA guy in my book and while he's almost certainly competing at nickel and has athleticism and leadership etc., I just don't see the production and talent to justify his selection in the 5th round.
Seth Williams is too talented to be hanging around this long. He was a true alpha WR in the SEC and ran all sorts of route combinations and posted a great breakout age and consistent production against top SEC CBs and all while playing with trash QB play. I don't care if the Jets have 10 WRs already, he is too talented to pass up in the fifth round, again at least..
Round 5, Pick 175: Ar'Darius Washington, S, TCU
The only concern is size and again, at this point in the draft I can overlook 1 red flag like size if the other characteristics are good - much less elite. Washington has elite PFF grades, great production, and is one of the most instinctual and intelligent DBs in this draft. I think he could potentially play slot CB or at least be a ST and sub-package guy at the NFL level.
Round 6, Pick 186: Trill Williams, CB, Syracuse
Great name, NY born and raised, crazy competitive and freakishly athletic with excellent size. Attitude, position, and being overshadowed by his DB teammates is what caused Trill's stock to drop. Physically and athletically, one of his best current comps in the NFL is Jalen Ramsey, albeit with shorter arms. Trill was moved around a bit in the secondary in college and I think his best position might be the one he played the least - outside CB. Regardless of what position he plays in the secondary, he is competitive, confident, physical, athletic and can at least be a ST ace.