ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr released his latest mock draft this morning and his draft selections are sure to divide the Jets fanbase:
#4 - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
I’m going to stick with Hamilton to the Jets, who were awful in the secondary in 2021 and could lose Marcus Maye in free agency. Because I know you’re thinking it, no, this is not too high to take a safety. Not a safety like Hamilton, who can make a massive impact against the run and pass. He had eight career interceptions at Notre Dame and could play multiple spots along the defense at the next level. Hamilton is a versatile playmaker who will make a defense better on Day 1. The Jets still have another first-round pick to try to improve their offense.
#10 - Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
This could be the sweet spot in the draft for Linderbaum, one of the best center prospects of the past decade. He’s a plug-and-play lineman who can do everything at a high level. The Jets have to get better in front of and around quarterback Zach Wilson, who didn’t have many bright spots as a rookie. Linderbaum is a step in that direction, though if wideout Drake London makes it to No. 10, he’d be a great fit.
I wouldn’t be shocked if New York added another defender here, too, particularly one of the edge rushers. With four picks in the top 38, general manager Joe Douglas should put multiple selections toward a D that had trouble at every level in 2021.
Mock drafts are all over the place this year and before free-agency they tend to be so deep in the wilderness you can barely see them.
The combination put forward by Kiper is sure to delight some fans and bring others to tears.
Personally, I think both Hamilton and Linderbaum are fine players who have the potential to be All-Pros for years to come. The argument against the picks will be based on positional value. The argument against Hamilton doesn’t revolve around his game, but the position he plays, and if Linderbaum were taken #10 overall, he’d become the highest-drafted center in NFL history.
I do have a problem with the Jets passing on Kayvon Thibodeaux for Hamilton in this scenario, with KT dropping to the Giants at #5...that’s the kind of prospect pass that can haunt a franchise for decades, if you believe in the ability of Thibodeaux, which I do.
What would be your reaction if the Jets took Hamilton and Linderbaum in the first round?