I’m often asked who I’d draft in the first round if I were making the pick for the Jets. My answer changes almost daily and there’s a good reason for that, the Jets have a fair few holes, so you could almost make an argument for every player being mentioned as a potential pick at the top of the first. So, why don’t we do just that.
Ready for the lightning round? I want to keep it short and snappy.
Derek Stingley Jr - LSU CB
Pros - Jets don’t have elite talent at the CB position, Stingley put up some of the best cornerback tape in 2019. He’s as fast and as athletic as you get at the position.
Cons - Outside of that 2019 season he has either been injured or ineffective. Even his 2019 season he gave up over 600 yards and over 200 yards after the catch and 5 TD’s.
Ikem Ekwonu - NC State OL
Pros - About as physical a run blocker as you’re ever going to find. JD loves building through the trenches and Ekwonu is a finisher plain and simple.
Cons - The only open slot on the Jets line is on the right hand side and Ekwonu has never played on the right. His pass-protection isn’t as refined as his run-blocking.
Kayvon Thibodeaux - Oregon DE
Pros - For a long time he was considered the best rusher in the class. His explosion and speed are elite and he’s a much better run defender than most give him credit for.
Cons - The fire question has come up, but I think that’s largely BS. Didn’t have elite production in 2021, was that being doubled or something else?
Evan Neal - Alabama OT
Pros - Shouldn’t be that athletic at 6’7 and 350lbs, quickness is elite and plenty of strength throughout the frame. Athletic profile is outstanding for a tackle prospect.
Cons - He’s much more suited to play outside and the Jets have Fant and Becton pencilled in. Not as refined in his pass-sets as some recent top 10 tackles.
Charles Cross - Mississippi State OL
Pros - Athletically very gifted with great potential. Good upper body strength with pop in his hands, good mirror technique and excellent balance.
Cons - Has only ever played at left tackle and would almost certainly need to move to the right side. Allowed 44 pressures and 6 sacks in 2020.
Tyler Linderbaum - Iowa C
Pros - Athletically one of the most gifted prospects to come out of the draft at the position. Production in college has been elite, good wrestling background.
Cons - Do you take a center in the top 10? Connor McGovern is still signed for next year and the Jets coaching staff like him.
Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner - Cincinnati CB
Pros - Sticky corner with the ideal combination of fluidity and length. Didn’t allow a single TD on 138 targets in college while racking up 9 INT and 17 PBU
Cons - Doesn’t have that elite speed that someone like DSJ has, and has a slim frame that may cause issues in the NFL against bigger receivers.
Jermaine Johnson - Florida State DE
Pros - Has the first step explosiveness that would suit the Wide-9 system that the Jets run, good in all areas of the game and production was elite in 2021. Had a great senior bowl.
Cons - Only one year of real production after transferring away from Georgia. Needs to work on his ability to disengage from blockers using technique.
Garrett Wilson - Ohio State WR
Pros - Dynamic playmaker who excels with the ball in his hands, perfect for the Jets system. Good route-runner. 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2021, won over 60% of his contested catches.
Cons - Can he win on the outside in the NFL? Has 10 drops over the last two years, most concentration drops. Is he too similar to what the Jets already have?
Drake London - USC WR
Pros - Big, athletic wide receiver at 6-5 and 210lbs. High points the ball and would give Zach a receiver with a big catch radius. Caught 19 of his 28 contested catches.
Cons - Coming off an injury in 2021. Had 8 drops in 2021 which was unusual for him. I don’t buy the no separation for Drake, you judge big guys differently.
Treylon Burks - Arkansas WR
Pros - Really good frame at 6’3 and plenty of power in that 225lb body. Plenty of versatility to line up across the formation. 607 yards after the catch last year, top 10 in FBS.
Cons - Refinement on his route-tree is questionable based on what he was asked to do at Arkansas, release could do with some work.
Kyle Hamilton - Notre Dame S
Pros - Has the speed and coverage ability of a safety and the physicality and instincts of a linebacker. Great size at 6’4 and 220lbs. Allowed 1 TD against 8 INT and 14 PBU.
Cons - Do you pick a safety in the top 10? Coming off an injury in 2021 and never played over 600 snaps in a season.
Aidan Hutchinson - Michigan Edge
Pros - Elite production in 2021, Heisman trophy runner up as an edge. 14 sacks and 51 hurries generated. Missed 4 tackles all season
Cons - He’s never falling to #4. Not sure he has the bend to be at his best in the Jets system, upright rusher. Doesn’t have explosion of Kayvon.
George Karlaftis - Purdue Edge
Pros - Arguably the strongest edge in this draft. Pressure % is right there with Kayvon’s for 2021. Only 5 sacks but 35 hurries mean the sack numbers are a tad unlucky.
Cons - Doesn’t have the speed that you want with the Jets system. 19.2% missed tackle rate in college is noticeable for the wrong reasons.
Trent McDuffie - Washington CB
Pros - He’s very quick, very fluid and has + football instincts. Kind of guy that coaches will love because he’s rarely out of position. Hasn’t allowed a TD for the last two years.
Cons - Listed as 5’11 and 195lbs and that may be generous. 2 total INT’s over 3 years in Washington and Jets looking for ball hawking momentum shifters.
David Ojabo - Michigan Edge
Pros - Great athlete with good explosion and closing speed. Good bend around the edge and hand usage can be excellent if inconsistent.
Cons - Still extremely raw in terms of talent and pass rush plan. Played opposite Hutchinson which diverted attention away. Doesn’t pack a lot of power as a bull rusher.
Nakobe Dean - Georgia LB
Pros - Probably the most instinctive player in the draft, good production on the field and he was the leader on the defense for the National Champions. Great communicator.
Cons - His size, that’s it. Also do the Jets see LB as their biggest need heading into the draft or do they really like CJ and Quincy?
Devin Lloyd - Utah LB
Pros - Ideal size at 6-3 and 235lbs. The best linebacker in the draft when it comes to rushing the passer and defending the run, 7 sacks and 22 tackles for loss in 2021. Also had 4 INT.
Cons - Despite the INT’s I still see some stiffness when it comes to flipping the hips in coverage. Again, do the Jets feel they need a linebacker this early?
Kenyon Green - Texas A&M OL
Pros - Outstanding athlete with ideal size to play guard in the NFL. 35 starts in college so he has good experience. Has over 800 snaps at RG which is where he’d play with the Jets.
Cons - Hand placement is a little all over the place, doesn’t play with the balance you want to see from a top 10 player at any position.
Trevor Penning - Norther Iowa OT
Pros - Ultra aggressive personality that you can see Joe Douglas loving, enough power for two offensive tackles. Has the height, weight and length combination.
Cons - Susceptible to speed on his outside edge, plays with high pads. Can see his aggressiveness getting plenty of flags in the no fun league.
I’ve probably forgotten a couple of key players that I’m sure will be pointed out immediately, but here is my cheat sheet for the Jets selections in the top 10.
If you’re the Jets, who are you taking?