With the off-season firmly in our sights, it's time we drop the first of 3 mock drafts from yours truly on the new DraftSZN site. Now, this year, I'll be doing double duty in these mocks: taking a page out of the Badlands Boss's playbook, I'll drop one that highlights what I'd do and then one highlighting what I think Joe Douglas would do. We start with me, because my mock drafts would've had us lifting the Lombardi 8 years ago.
The New York Jets trade the 4th pick overall to the Cleveland Browns for the 13th, 44th, and 75th picks in the 2022 NFL Draft and a 2023 2nd rounder.
Why? Cleveland is targeting a QB to move on from Baker Mayfield and reset the clock for their General Manager, and they go up to number 4 to secure said QB. This drops the Jets to the 13th slot, but they still have the 7th pick, and now pick up 2 more top 100 selections and a 2023 2nd.
With the 7th pick in the NFL Draft, the New York Jets select Alabama OT Evan Neal
Despite a tempting offer to move out of the top 10 entirely, I opt to stay out and draft the Crimson Tide's left tackle. Neal is firmly in my top 10 in my big board, so getting him at 7 represents good value. This pick, also, does a couple of things: one, it gives me my starting LT while I move Mehki Becton to RT. This means I can cut George Fant or keep him as insurance if I see fit, and I could bring back the Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at RG. Or, and this is the option I'm not very angry about given how good Fant has been: I can plug Neal into the RG spot on the OL and now have my starting 5 OL locked in before training camp. Either way, Joe Douglas adds his third first round OL as he continues to ensure that his franchise QB is protected.
The New York Jets trade the 13th overall pick to the Green Bay Packers for the 32nd, 64th, and 96th picks in the 2022 NFL Draft and a 2nd rounder in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Why? This 2nd trade back in round one keeps me in the first round while netting 2 more top 100 picks. Similar to the 1st trade back, I also netted a 2023 2nd rounder. This means that I've set Joe Douglas up with, so far, 5 top 100 picks in 2023 to move this rebuild further.
With the 32nd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select Utah LB Devin Lloyd
Adding CJ Mosley's running mate, a LBer that can cover and stay on the field in Defensive Coordinator Jeff Ulbricht's 4-2-5 look, is a must and that's what I do here. Lloyd is the best Linebacker in this class, to me, and the 20th best player in this class. He's a leader, with great burst, and really good instincts. With the two first rounders, I've added leaders that fortify both sides of the ball.
The New York Jets trade the 35th pick and the 145th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 49th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and a 2nd rounder in the 2023 NFL Draft
Why? The name of the game is accumulating 2023 assets. This now becomes the 5th top 100 pick for 2023 for Joe Douglas, and all it cost was me dropping 14 slots, and a 5th rounder. I, also, still have the 38th pick from the trade with the Browns, so I'll be up to pick in no time.
With the 38th pick in the NFL Draft, the New York Jets select Washington CB Trent McDuffie
Just as pick 32 was used to add CJ Mosley's running mate, pick 38 is used to bring in Bryce Hall's running mate. That is Washington CB Trent McDuffie, an athletic corner with good hips who rarely is out of position. He is as good in man as he is in zone, and is incredibly physical.
The New York Jets trade the 44th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and a 5th rounder in 2023 to the Miami Dolphins for the 48th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and a 3rd rounder in 2023
Why? Dropping 4 slots to pick up a 2023 3rd rounder makes my 4th, and most likely final, trade another easy one to make. With these 4 trades, the Jets now have 6 selections in the top 100 (1 first, 3 2nd rounders, and 2 3rds) in 2023 and have added three of my favorite prospects in this class at positions of need. I, also, make this trade knowing I now pick 48th and 49th in the 2nd round.
The New York Jets trade the 48th pick in the NFL Draft to the Los Angeles Rams for the 100th and 141st pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and a 2023 2nd rounder.
Why? Ok, so that wasn't my last trade, but the Rams made this offer and I couldn't refuse, especially when I own the 49th pick. Netting my third 2nd rounder is too enticing to pass up, and I now have two additional picks in the 4th to add depth with.
With the 49th pick in the NFL Draft, the New York Jets select Texas A&M TE Jalen Wydermyer
Jets QB Zach Wilson, and this Jets offense, needs a TE to be functional. Wilson, also, needs a big body target in the middle of the field. Enter the soon-to-be former Aggie, who demonstrates good strength to break tackles, and the ability to create separation. He has soft hands, and has shown an ability to shield his frame in traffic. Would immediately slot in as the team's starting TE.
With the 64th pick in the NFL Draft, the New York Jets select Penn State EDGE Arnold Ebiketie
Running mates is, also, the theme of this draft, and here we add a returning Carl Lawson's. This is a very deep edge class, but Ebiketie is a über-athletic edge who is pretty explosive off his first step. I love his twitch, and he has scary closing speed. Couple that with his power and you've got a prospect that's only scratching the surface.
With the 69th pick, the New York Jets select Clemson DT Tyler Davis
With Sheldon Rankins entering the last year of his deal, I opt to add another monster for the middle of this defense. Getting Davis and Ebiketie back-to-back gives Ulbricht and Co. more beasts up front. Adding McDuffie in the back-end gives them a guy to go get the ball when the guys up front do damage. Davis is a sneaky high-upside player and good value at this spot.
With the 75th pick in the NFL Draft, the New York Jets select Kentucky WR Wan'Dale Robinson
A year after getting Elijah Moore at the top of round two, I opt to add another WR in the electric Wan'Dale Robinson. It has been a very long time since the Jets have had home run hitters in this offense. In back to back drafts, we get two. Robinson is a nightmare with the ball in his hands, with the ability to stop and start on a dime. I usually don't use the word "twitchy" to describe wide receivers, but I think it applies here. Adding Robinson as the primary slot/jet sweep guy, so Elijah can operate primarily on the outside, and their interchangeablity due to their complimenting skill sets really takes this offense to the next level.
With the 96th pick in the NFL draft, the New York Jets select Oregon Safety Verone McKinley III
I think Marcus Maye is as good as gone and I think Ashtyn Davis should primarily play the third safety role in this defense. The Jets need to spend money on a safety, like Marcus Williams from the Saints or Jessie Bates from the Bengals, but they also should invest draft capital in one. Adding McDuffie earlier brings a playmaker to the corner room (how many picks have we seen Bryce Hall drop?), but adding McKinley to a Williams or Bates gives you that playmaker on the backend as well. McKinley has great instincts from the safety position, and is a very smart player. He is fluid in coverage and has shown incredible route anticipation.
With the 100th pick in the NFL draft, the New York Jets select Washington OG Jaxson Kirkland
The 2nd OL taken in this draft for me, my thinking goes like this: this provides a long-term OG for when I inevitably have to move Evan Neal to LT once the polyjuice potion wears off George Fant. If it doesn't, I can still have Kirkland develop for a year behind Neal, and then tag and trade Fant to a team that needs a LT in 2023. It's all about insurance. At 6'6" and 310 pounds, he's a mammoth of a man with good bend and good hand placement. Kirkland could, also, be the guy at LT long term if you keep Neal at RG. Basically, you're giving this team options: something it hasn't really had in a while.
With the 108th pick in the NFL Draft, the New York Jets select NC State RB Zonovan Knight
If I could describe my thinking for who I've added offensively, the word is explosion. Knight has great vision and is a patient runner. He definitely follows the old adage of "see hole, hit hole" and there is no wasted motion when it comes to his running style. As the 1B to Michael Carter's 1A, there is enough differentiation between the two as runners to where you're really giving a new dimension to this team's running game.
With the 115th pick in the NFL draft, the NYJ select George WR George Pickens
If adding Wan'Dale to this WR room was about explosion, this pick is about adding a bully to it. One of my favorite WRs in this class who, had he not gotten hurt, would've been WR1 in my opinion, Pickens is the guy that opens up the offense for Moore and Robinson underneath and replaced Corey Davis the following year. The athleticism and the agility are nothing to sneeze at, but he catches everything, and that's where his value would be to this team. He's a solid route runner who knows how to beat man, and he can run the entire route tree. He's actually already a more complete WR than Denzel Mims, the guy he'd theoretically be replacing. He uses his hands, and only his hands, to catch the ball and his releases off press are because his footwork is fantastic. I now enter 2022 with Davis, Moore, Wan'Dale Robinson, George Pickens, Braxton Berrios, and, potentially, a free agent. It's a deeper group than they had this year.
With the 141st pick in the NFL draft, the NYJ select Ohio State EDGE Zach Harrison
This late, it's about adding depth, and the Jets need to double dip on young edges. Harrison isn't the guy people believed he was at the beginning of the season, but he offers enough juice to be a contributor situationally in this defense. He's got potential, and a good staff will look to harness his power in short spaces and try to help him improve his anticipation.
RB: Zonovan Knight
WR: Wan'Dale Robinson, George Pickens
TE: Jalen Wydermyer
OT Evan Neal
OG Jaxson Kirkland
EDGE: Arnold Ebiketie, Zach Harrison
DT: Tyler Davis
LB: Devin Lloyd
CB: Trent McDuffie
S: Verone McKinley
2nd rounders from CLE, PIT, GB, and LAR
3rd rounder from MIA