ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. has released his first mock draft of 2022. The Jets have two top ten picks this year.
Who does Kiper send to the Jets?
Kyle Hamiltion S, Notre Dame
The Jets had big defensive issues in Robert Saleh’s first season as coach, from the front seven to the secondary. They didn’t get after quarterbacks, and they couldn’t cover pass-catchers, which is a recipe for another top-five draft pick. Hamilton would fill a void at safety, especially if Marcus Maye leaves in free agency. Six-foot-4, 220-pound Hamilton has rare traits for his size, and he can play in the box or as a center fielder (he had eight career interceptions for the Fighting Irish). He was one of the most versatile defenders in college football for the past three seasons. Hamilton played in only seven games in 2021 because of a knee injury, but I’m told he’ll be ready to work out at the NFL combine in March. The Jets also pick at No. 10, and they could get help on offense there.
How about the pick that comes to the team from Seattle via the Jamal Adams trade?
10. New York Jets (via SEA)
Drake London, WR, USC
Quarterback Zach Wilson had a rough rookie season, as the Jets finished near the bottom in most offensive statistics. So if I’m giving them defensive help with the No. 4 pick, let’s give Wilson a target here, because his best pass-catchers in 2021 are all better out of the slot. Elijah Moore, Jamison Crowder and Braxton Berrios are good players, but they’re never going to be down-the-field aerial threats.
London — who is 6-foot-5 and also played on the USC basketball team — has a chance to be a special outside receiver. He caught 88 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games this season. His record-breaking year ended in late October because of a fractured right ankle, but he is expected to be ready for the 2022 season. He can be Wilson’s top target, giving the Jets a huge red zone threat. The Jets, by the way, also have an extra second-round pick from the Sam Darnold trade, and they could address the offensive line on Day 2 of the draft.
So we get a bit of balance from Kiper here. The league’s worst defense and Zach Wilson both get some help in the first round. Of course, the Jets also have two early second round picks to help build their roster as well.
As always in January, we are at the early stages of the process. We still have the Senior Bowl, the Combine, and team visits in front of us. Any projections now do not mean the Jets will draft the players in question. These mocks merely provide us with a big picture view on the current stock of prospects.