ESPN’s Mel Kiper has released a new two round mock draft. With four of the top forty picks this year, we can expect the early phases of the Draft to be active. Kiper has the Jets addressing core needs and even trading up to add a third first round pick.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
I’m not buying a Thibodeaux drop. He might be the most talented prospect in this class. The Jets have to add some juice to their pass rush, and this is the spot to do it. It’s also not out of the question that they take a receiver here — Drake London or Garrett Wilson? — because their top guy might be off the board by the time they pick at No. 10.
10. New York Jets (via SEA)
Drake London, WR, USC
If the Jets can pull this off — a top-tier receiver here and a high-upside edge rusher at No. 4 — shouldn’t they be considered one of the most improved teams of the offseason? I like what they’ve done, and they haven’t had to break the bank. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re going to be AFC East contenders just yet. London is a 6-foot-4 target who will dominate in the red zone and pull down 50-50 balls to boost Zach Wilson’s completion percentage.
Projected trade: Jets move up for ... a center?
How about a third first-round selection from the Jets? In this scenario, with a glaring hole at center and the top guy still on the board, they deal No. 35 and a Day 3 pick to get back into Round 1. And crucially, they keep their pick at No. 38, which allows them to get more help.
The Bengals would move down just four spots and pick up an extra fourth-rounder. They signed center Ted Karras in free agency among other moves to upgrade their O-line, so their need isn’t as big.
31. New York Jets (via mock trade with CIN)
Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Could Linderbaum be the Jets’ new Nick Mangold? They took Mangold at pick No. 29 in 2006 and have been trying to fill that void at center since he left the team after the 2016 season. Some NFL teams are put off by Linderbaum’s short arms, but just watch the tape. He has the physical traits to be an All-Pro and is exceptional as both a run and pass blocker. He’s exactly what the Jets need, and this is tremendous value.
38. New York Jets (via CAR)
Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
Day 2 is when teams should take running backs, and the Jets would be getting the clear top back in this class. Hall can do it all, from forcing missed tackles to catching passes. If the Jets are serious about helping Zach Wilson, they should take Hall. This scenario gives them Hall, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Drake Londonand Tyler Linderbaum with their first four picks, which would have them well on the way to an “A” grade.
The first two picks Kiper makes are popular picks among mock drafters. In an ideal world, many Jets fans want to leave the first round with a top defensive end prospect and a top wide receiver prospect. Thibodeaux and London would provide the team with just that.
Things get more interesting as we drop into the late first round and early second round. The trade up isn’t overly prohibitive. It costs the Jets only an early day three pick in a year where they have excess Draft capital. The move for a center, though, might raise some eyebrows. Connor McGovern is coming off a very solid season. He is turning 29 in a few weeks, however, and entering the final season of his contract. Would the Jets be willing to trade up for a player who might not be a starter until year two?
Hall would also likely be a controversial pick just because he is a running back, a very low value position in the modern NFL. He is an excellent prospect, though, and a big time run game could be the thing that supports Zach Wilson through rough stages of his development.
What do you think about this mock? Would you be pleased if this was the direction the Jets went?