Puzzling Mock Drafts
Bruce Feldman predicts the Jets making a strange decision at #4
It almost feels as if we’re in a waiting game now, with each day taking us one step closer to the next momentum-shifting off-season event.
I’m waiting for two things in particular, the NFL draft which is set to take place on the 28th of April in Las Vegas. The other…will Joe Douglas trade for a wide receiver before that date?
Over the last 48 hours, the rumor mill has spun into overdrive with a couple of cryptic tweets from AJ Brown and a classic “League executives believe” DK Metcalf can be had for the right price…which is pretty obvious.
We’ve dedicated a fair amount of column inches to the wide receiver position in general over the last 4 weeks, so until something happens with either DK or AJ…I’m not sure there’s much point going over it again.
When all is said and done, it may not even be one of those two guys the Jets are targeting. It may be a 28-year-old receiver who’s coming off six 1000 yard seasons in the last 7 years, and a player who has 46 receiving touchdowns to his name.
Bruce Feldman’s 2022 Mock Draft
Mock drafts are a dime-a-dozen and I’ll be honest, even I’m starting to tire of them now. I still plan to release a full two-round mock before the draft, and a full Jets seven-round mock, but I must see at least 10-15 different ones every day at the moment.
Saying that I always look forward to Bruce Feldman’s because he speaks to plenty of college coaches and he tends to have his finger on the pulse when it comes to team needs and which teams value which positions for their system. So, I was pretty excited when he released his mock draft yesterday on The Athletic.
When the Jets came onto the click with pick #4 the following three players were already off the board, Aidan Hutchinson, Travon Walker and Ikem Ekwonu…so the Jets took:
I probably don’t need to go over why I’d absolutely hate this selection again. No offensive tackles at the top of the first round…especially one that some see only excelling inside at the NFL level. We just drafted AVT in the first round last year, and we gave Laken Tomlinson a big contract just a few weeks ago, are you really going to spend a top 5 pick on another inside offensive lineman? It’s absolute madness, I’d be really disappointed if we bypassed the likes of Kayvon Thibodeaux, Jermaine Johnson, Sauce Gardner for a player who may not even see the field for the Jets in 2022.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to like about Neal and his game, and he does have positional versatility having played on both sides of the line. He could start at RT or LT, but if teams really are looking at him as a guard then top-5 is a little rich for my taste.
Anyway, we move forward. Devin Lloyd goes at #5, Kenny Pickett at #6, Sauce Gardner at #7, Kayvon Thibodeaux at #8, Derek Stingley Jr at #9 and:
The jets going wide receiver here shouldn’t surprise anyone and while London isn’t my WR1, I have no problems with the Jets taking him. In fact, at this position, I’d be pretty happy with multiple receivers including London, Wilson, Olave, and even Watson. I live them all and all of them could do a fine job with the Jets, helping Zach Wilson fulfill his potential.
London adds something a little different to the Jets receiving room, and you’ll have heard a million times how good of a contested-catch guy he is, but he’s also quite nifty for a big guy and he plays hard every snap.
One Starter that needs replacing…
I got into an interesting conversation with a few friends at the weekend around hopes for the draft and remaining free agents. Then a question was posed that got me thinking, “Who’s the one starter penciled in right now you’d love to change”. I hadn’t really whittled it down like that in my mind but decided to take a little dive through the depth chart to have a look.
On the surface, there aren’t that many glaring weaknesses on the offense. Of all the players listed above, you’d have to say that upgrading that WR1 is the priority. For the first time in what seems like a decade, I’m really happy with the starting offensive line and how that unit is shaping up ahead of the 2022 season.
Flip it to the defensive side of the ball and I think it becomes clear there is work to do. Straight away replacing Sheldon Rankins, one of the worst run defending defensive tackles in football last year becomes a priority. But for me, you do that by shifting John Franklin Myers inside and bringing in a Kayvon Thibodeaux or Jermaine Johnson at edge. Do that and all of a sudden that defensive line looks a lot better.
One glaring weakness there is as WLB and Del’Shawn Phillips, but the Jets are in so much shell coverage, the 3rd linebacker isn’t heavily utilized in this system, although you’d still want an upgrade there and I’m sure the Jets will be looking at someone like Hamsah Nasrildeen and hoping he makes a jump in year 2 to make that position his own. But it does need improvement.
ESPN has Davis listed as the SS and Whitehead as the FS, but personally, I think that depth chart is off. I’d guess that Whitehead is slotted as the SS and LaMarcus Joyner is slotted as the FS with Ashtyn playing a backup role. Again an improvement on Joyner is something I think we need to focus on, but it’s not as glaring as edge.
This is all a long-winded way of saying that my answer to that question posed to me at the weekend was EDGE, and I didn’t have to hesitate.
Jets Release Ryan Griffin
Coming as a shock to absolutely nobody, the Jets announced yesterday that they’d released TE Ryan Griffin, saving $3 million in cap space with minimal dead money.
After the signing of C.J Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, the Jets had no need for a TE making over $3 million.
Griffin who’s soon to turn 32 has his best statistical career as a member of the Jets back in 2019 catching 34 passes for 320 yards and 5 touchdowns. Injuries slowed him as he played just 18 games total between 2020 and 2021.
The Jets may not be done adding to the TE room with the 2022 NFL draft absolutely loaded with depth at the position, but I wouldn’t expect to hear a tight ends name called until at least the 4th when it comes to Joe Douglas.
Teams are allowed to host 30 prospects before the draft, and while it doesn’t mean there is always interest in selecting the player, it’s always a good list to keep track of.
If you don’t see a name on the list, that doesn’t mean the Jets aren’t interested, there are likely some players the Jets met at the Senior Bowl and Combine who they’re comfortable with, and don’t feel the need to see again.
So far we’ve seen 7 confirmed private workouts.
Treylon Burks (WR)
Garrett Wilson (WR)
Chris Olave (WR)
Ikem Ekwonu (OL)
Sauce Gardner (CB)
Aidan Hutchinson (DL)
Travon Walker (DL)
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Thoughts on OLAVE? The more I think about it the more I see him excelling in this offense and opening things up for Elijah and CD underneath. I know not to pay too much attention to visits but it’s shows the jets are interested. You think we trade back into the first?
The drafting of Neal. If that does happen, I would like to assume that Douglas already has a deal in place for Fant. Love George, but we get an additional 10 million in CAP ,and a Tackle in Neal better suited for a Right Tackle. George is a bargain at 10 million for an LT, with FA Left Tackles priced North of 18 million. Very optimistic that there will be a market for a QB, and possibly for OT Neal at 4. I can see the Giants sending a third round pick to move up one spot for Neal, with the Panthers willing to overpay in 2023 draft capital.