DMAC's 2023 Draft Redo

Link to 2022 Draft Redo

Link to 2021 Draft Redo

Link to 2020 Draft Redo

Link to 2016 Draft Redo

Ground Rules:

  • I can't redo any of the trades the Jets made, only picking players where they picked players
  • I can't draft the player I didn't take at the Jets previous pick, for example I cannot pass on Will McDonald IV at 15 overall and pick him at 43 overall. I must assume he and everyone else who was selected after pick 15 are not available at 43.


Pick 15: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Pick 43: Blake Freeland, OT, BYU
Pick 120: Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M
Pick 143: Luke Wypler, C, Ohio State
Pick 184: Moro Ojomo, DT, Texas
Pick 204: Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State
Pick 220: Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion

Round 1, Pick 15 Overall - Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

The logic here is simple and doesn't require charts or deep analysis:

  • Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard are the only WRs on the roster currently signed for the 2024 season and beyond.
  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba put together the most dominant and complete Slot WR single-season in Power-5 history in 2021.
  • JSN had >3.00 YPRR vs BOTH Man and Zone coverages while also commanding >20% target share. The only WR in my database to do that other than DeVonta Smith in 2020 (who won the Heisman for his efforts).
  • JSN is an ideal NFL WR size and is the only WR in my records to weigh 195 lbs or heavier and run 95th percentile in both the 3Cone and the Shuttle - truly an outlier in both production and size-adjusted agility.
  • As a Slot WR, he fits perfectly alongisde Allen Lazard and Garrett Wilson as the Jets have no other pure Slot WR on the roster.
The positional value makes sense, the immediate impact is there for increasing 2023 championship odds with Rodgers as JSN is the most pro-ready WR in the draft, and he fits a long term need all while being the last "blue chip" player left on the board. Easy pick and only available thanks to an injury discount.


Round 2, Pick 43 Overall - Blake Freeland, OT, BYU

I want to stay consensus here and with what actually happened with the Jets selecting Joe Tippman, I really really do. But I just can't. The Jets biggest problem in 2023 and 2024 isn't Center or even Guard - it's the Tackle position. Mekhi Becton is entering into his final year of his rookie deal and the Jets are in a bind: They've restructured so many contracts and created so much dead cap and void years into the future that along with Rodgers' contract there is little flexibility ot resign Mekhi Becton in 2024. If Becton does ball out, he is going to command top dollar despite his injury history and will be tempted by the FA market simply because of how rare it is for "franchise LTs" to make it to free agency. If he doesn't ball out - or worse yet - gets injured again, then it is obvious that the Jets will not be bringing him back because he cannot be relied upon. Meanwhile Duane Brown is certainly gone after this season and that's assuming he makes it through 2023. That leaves Max Mitchell as the only OT under contract for the 2024 season currently. YIKES. To cap it all off the current prize of the 2024 free agent OT class looks like it willbe the Bengals' Jonah Williams. Double Yikes (but not a bigger YIKES than Max Mitchell being your only OT on the roster).

The Jets need an OT for the future and they need one on a rookie contract to help off-set a lot of the terrible value and dead money they have tied up in Rodgers and everywhere else on the roster. 2024-2026 will be lean years dues to all of this dead money from void years for guys like Laken Tomlinson, CJ Uzomah, Tyler Conklin and more who will be long gone by then.

All of that leads to Blake Freeland being the guy over Joe Tippman. Positional value is king and while others have Tippman graded higher as an overall prospect - I do not. I think Tippman is fantastic and the logical choice if the Jets hadn't signed Connor McGovern for 2023, but considering that either of these two choices are unlikely to start in 2023 but rather be a 2024 starter - give me the guy with the higher positional value.

Let's talk more about positional value, because that is the crux of this pick:

  • The 10th highest paid LT in 2023 has an ~$15M cap hit
  • The 10th highest paid RT in 2023 has an ~$8M cap hit
  • The 10th highest paid OG in 2023 (right or left) has ~$10M cap hit and the 20th has an ~5M cap hit
  • The 10th highest paid OC in 2023 has an ~$6M cap hit
If Freeland pans out and takes over the LT gig in 2024 through 2026 seasons, that will be a surplus value of upwards of $10M per year (43rd pick has an annual cap hit of like $2M on their rookie deal) with the option to pick up the 5th year option down the road for the 2027 season. If Freeland pans out but so does Mekhi Becton - then that is the best case scenario as Freeland has experience at both LT and RT, Mekhi will be the LT in 2024 and beyond while Freeland will be the RT. The Jets OT woes will be solved for the next 4 years at a minimum and Freeland will present a surplus value of upwards of $5M per year at RT through 2026.

If we give Becton odds of "hitting" as 50-50, and Freeland 50-50 odds of panning out (I think they're better than that) then this presents a scenario where Freeland is an average total suprlus value of $6M over the course of his rookie contract. Again, that's being conservative because I believe Mekhi Becton's odds of being the LT from 2024-2026 are worse than 50-50 (probably closer to 25%), Freeland's odds of "hitting" are greater than 50-50 (

Positional hit rate:
  • Since 2012, 22 OTs have been drafted in the 2nd round, 11 "hits" and 11 "misses" by my (albeit subjective and binary) count.
  • The biggest "hits" are Donovan Smith, Brian O'Neill and Mitchell Schwartz
  • The biggest "misses" are Jonathan Martin, Ty Sambrailo, and Jason Spriggs
  • All of the "misses" except for Jason Spriggs were bad run blockers in college
  • All of the "hits" were good run blockers in college
Meanwhile Nania had previously done a hit rate calculation of Guards and Centers in the second round and assessed them as ~63-66%.

Given that hit rates for Guards is only ~13-16% higher than OTs and the positional value of RT is 33% higher than OC/OG and almost 200% higher for LTs, the answer is clear: if the evaluation is even remotely close, take the OT.

The Jets match need with value here and go with BYU OT Blake Freeland.

Some more about Freeland:

Freeland's best size/athleticism comp is Kolton Miller


Freeland is the best Run-Blocking OT in this class


Freeland is the only OT in this class with >2,500 snaps played and a high career pass blocking efficiency - making him arguably the best pass blocking OT in this class

Round 4, Pick 120 Overall - Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M

A former 5-star who 1 year ago was unanimously being mocked into the first round. Johnson had PFF defense grades of 81.6 and 87.4 in the past 2 seasons in the SEC. I didn't love his catch rate allowed out of the slot or his QB rating allowed in coverage, but he has 113 tackles and 54 stops over the past 2 seasons with a better-than-average missed tackle rate.

At 21 years old stil, he is a great talent in terms of on-field production in the SEC at a young age and will help continue to bring a culture-setting type of mentality. My biggest concern for Johnson and why he fell is his athleticism. At 6'2" and 200 lbs with a long wingspan, his build is more reminiscent of an outside CB like Sauce Gardner than it is your traditional Safety. I typically like Safeties to be on the more athletic side, but whoever is in charge of strength and conditioning over Texas A&M should be fired. For multiple years in a row all of their 5-star recuits at A&M who have years of solid SEC production go to the combine and fall flat on their face. It is inexcusable and I am hoping the trend proves it has more to do with A&M then the individual players and that the Jets and their staff can help Johnson (who is still jut 21 years old) build back some of that muscle and athleticism to help improve where he was so pitiful in workout metrics like the bench press and his jumps.

Still, Johnson's career production, talent level, demeanor, SEC production, speed and wingspan are more than enough for me to take the gamble here and for him to hopefully take over one of these starting safety roles in the next year or so.

Round 5, Pick 143 Overall - Luke Wypler, C, Ohio State

Luke Wypler falling made little sense to me, of all of the Centers in this class he displayed the best career pass blocking efficiency along with prorotypical size and athleticism for an NFL center along with excellent run-blocking. Many folks at Ohio State and draft analysts were "shocked" that Wypler declared as a Junior. It is rare for a collegiate center to declare for the NFL draft early and while Wypler has been very solid for the Buckeyes the past two seasons, he has not been dominant enough in their eyes to declare early. In my eyes, this is simply NFL and Scouts clutching their pearls and not wanting a "young" center. They want experienced guys who have taken a bunch of snaps and are brains as much as they are maulers, not unlike QBs they want guys with experience at the position.

With that said, unless there is some sort of S2 cognition score situation I don't know about, Wypler is the perfect fit here late for the Jets. He's a good scheme fit and has a year to be groomed behind Connor McGovern before taking the reigns in 2024 season.

The important cut-offs I found when evaluating the top NFL centers and how they performed in college were:

  • 6'3" or taller
  • 300-309 lbs ideally
  • 98.5 or better career pass-blocking efficiency
  • Last season run-blocking grade of 80 or higher
Wypler hit all of these and then some, posting 72nd percentile in 5 of the 7 athletic testing drills (39th percentile 10-yard split and 61st percentile 3Cone).

Wypler is - on paper, the prototypical modern NFL Center and just turned 22 this past week.


Round 6, Pick 184 Overall - Moro Ojomo, DT, Texas

Ojomo has the most interesting background in this draft class. He skipped 2 grades in Nigeria before moving to California and later Katy, Texas where he won a state championship. He accepted a football scholarship to UT-Austin and enrolled in college with the Longhorns at just 16 years old.

Ojomo is a 5th-year senior and is still just 21 years old at the time of this posting.

Despite being notoriously young, Ojomo has been one of the best DTs in the country the past 2 seasons. Age 19-21 production in a Power-5 conference in the trenches is impressive - especially for a slightly undersized DT. Ojomo was in the top of the class in both run defense and pass rushing and finished the 2022 season with a 90.7 PFF grade - one of the highest overall grades in the country.

Furthermore, Ojomo was a leader on and off the field for Longhorns and has incredible leadership, character and intelligence. If you want good men in your lockerrom - start with Ojomo.

Once again need meets board here and Ojomo helps fill a DT room that is devoid of long-term contracts while we await the Quinnen Williams contract resolution.

Only 4 DTs in this draft class are >290 lbs, have a >8.8 RAS, and have a >70% composite rank in the table below. They are Keeanu Benton, Byron Young, Moro Ojomo and Calijah Kancey. All 3 of Young, Benton and Kancey have been picked already, leaving only Ojomo here which is great value.


Round 6, Pick 204 Overall - Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State

Deuce Vauhgn led the NCAA FBS in yards from scrimmage from 2020-2022. He is an early declare and also adds great special team value as a kick and punt returner. Vauhgn in just 3 seasons as an 18. 19 and 20 year old has:

  • 113 receptions on 152 targets for 1,248 yards on 11.0 yards per catch and 8 receiving TDs
  • 2.01 career YPRR
  • 3,205 rushing yards on 578 carries for 5.5 yards per carry and 29 rushing TDs to just 2 career total fumbles (lost and recovered)
Vaughn is just 5'5" and 180 lbs, but can add value on special teams and passing down situations and is a tougher blocker than you think at that size.
Turn on the film and you can see why every NFL fanbase should want this guy on their squad: he is electric and fun to root for:

Round 7, Pick 220 Overall - Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion

The most athletic Tight End pretty much of all-time can be had with a 7th round pick. A former 4-star TE who committed to Penn State ubt was stuck behind Pat Freiermuth, Brenton Strange and other top TE prospects. He transferred to Old Dominion when the Penn State OC who recruited and coached up Kuntz was hired as their HC for the 2021 season.

In 2021 Kuntz was one of the most productive Tight Ends in FBS football and was one of a handful of Tight Ends who ran >2 YPRR against both MAN and ZONE coverage and saw >20% of his tea's target share.

He has a career YPRR >2 (which is elite for TEs) and a most recent season run-blocking grade of >65, both of which are good indicators of NFL success along with athleticism. Not to mention that Kevin Cole did an extensive analysis on Tight End prospects and what makes them successful in the NFL, and this is what he found:

Great flyer for a 7th round pick.

This is a FanPost written by a registered member of this site. The views expressed here are those of the author alone and not those of anybody affiliated with Gang Green Nation or SB Nation.