I have a general rule with mock drafts. Any mocks released before the 1st of April are designed to generate clicks, any mocks released after April tend to be logical projections. It doesn’t mean they’re any more accurate, but they often make more sense.
Todd McShay released his mock draft today and I personally would love it if the board fell like this...at least for the first two picks.
13. New York Jets
Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
If Aaron Rodgers is indeed coming to the Big Apple, he’ll need some protection improvements. Mekhi Becton hasn’t finished a game over the past two seasons, missing time with right knee injuries. Duane Brown turns 38 years old this season. Alijah Vera-Tucker is coming off a triceps injury and Max Mitchell has played only 328 career snaps. If Johnson is still on the board, it’s an easy pick. He has experience both inside and outside, and he is an easy mover with a 6-foot-6, 313-pound frame. If Johnson isn’t on the board, I think Georgia’s Broderick Jones could be an answer, too.
Paris Johnson makes a lot of sense for the Jets, the tackle situation is completely up in the air and athletically he’s as gifted as they come. I wrote a piece yesterday about the offensive tackle class and here’s what I said about Johnson:
“Johnson gained experience playing inside and out at OSU, but his ability and measurables project him as a starting left tackle for a long time. Johnson is a long, strong and athletic tackle who allowed 2 sacks and 1 QB hit starting over two years. He’s not perfect because of a lack of reps, but he put some dominant reps on tape last year despite it being his first year playing tackle in college. A good NFL coach will take the measurables and teach the technique (hands) to make him one of the best tackles in football.”
McShay then has the Jets doubling down on offensive line improvements with center Joe Tippman
42. New York Jets (from CLE)
Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin
The Jets have back-to-back picks here after they sent receiver Elijah Moore to Cleveland, and I have them continuing the offensive line reload with the first one. They have a hole at center, and Tippmann, who plays with great awareness, will drop an anchor against bull rushers and is rangy as a run blocker.
I like a lot of centers in this draft, but if JMS is gone (he goes #47 in this mock) then I’d be happy with Tippmann or Jets fan Luke Wypler (who drops to the third round here). Tippmann has everything you could want in a center, he’s strong and athletic and as smart as they come. He’d be a great addition to the team and could even sit a year if the Jets sign Ben Jones, that would be a good education for the Wisconsin man.
I don’t think we’ll have another pick in the second round and that’s almost certainly going to Green Bay for Aaron Rodgers, but if we do, Todd projects the Jets will add to the backend of their defense:
43. New York Jets
Brian Branch, S/CB, Alabama
Branch has slid a bit after an underwhelming combine performance, and he probably fits best in the NFL as a nickel corner. But he’s a complete player, and it shows up on the stat sheet. Defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich could get creative with Branch, moving him around and letting him impact the game in a variety of ways.
Now, I can take or leave this pick. I’d personally take Keeanu Benton the defensive tackle from Wisconson who goes one pick later to the Falcons in this mock draft, or Jack Campbell who goes to the Lions at pick 48, but I could live with Brian Branch.