The college football season is over with a number of NFL prospects featured in Alabama’s win over Georgia. Some talent, surely, that the New York Jets could be eyeballing.
So with that being said, here is a look — a way too early look — at the Jets 2018 NFL draft outlook.
There are a couple of assumptions here:
The Jets sign a high-profile free-agent quarterback.
The Jets hold on to their first-round pick and don’t move it.
The Jets sit in that awkward spot at sixth overall, high up enough to get a real difference maker but outside of a spot that might land them one of the stud quarterbacks in this draft. Then again, based off the assumption that they try for a marquee free agent under center, they likely wouldn’t take a quarterback sixth overall.
In Metro’s mock draft for the Giants, we had the Jets moving up to the No. 2 pick in a trade with their crosstown rival.
But if the Jets stay here and don’t move up at all, they likely won’t be in it for Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, or Josh Allen, who will likely be off the board by six. Plus, they signed Kirk Cousins or Case Keenum, right?
So the pick here is the best available, and that will be Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown. The Big XII Offensive Lineman of the Year and Outland Trophy finalist would help secure a line that performed well but needs some talent. Brown is a great fit for a team that might be adding some star power via free agency on the offensive side this offseason. He can protect Cousins or Keenum.
The secondary is still an issue of concern for the Jets, even as they rebuilt their backend last year by selecting two safeties in last year’s first two rounds of the NFL Draft. Jaire Alexander was one of the top cornerbacks in college football this past year and could compete for a starting job this year with the Jets.
He is also a pretty decent punt returner. The Louisville cornerback breaks to the ball well.
While the Jets found a great player in Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, tight ends who create match-up problems are very much in demand in the modern NFL. The pick here in the third round of Penn State’s Mike Gesicki adds some versatility to the receiving corps.
Last year, Gesicki had 57 catches for 563 yards and nine touchdowns for Penn State. He can help stretch the field and has good hands. Is a decent blocker as well.
The Jets add another target in the middle rounds, going after Jake Wieneke of South Dakota State. The wide receiver knows how to find the end zone with 16 touchdowns. A polished route runner with good hands. Not a burner but makes plays.
Potential for a big upside here.
Concerns over a shoulder injury notwithstanding, the Jets get some nice value here too in the middle rounds with Kerryon Johnson. The Auburn running back would likely be an early Day 2 pick but for his injuries.
He can step into the running back rotation sooner rather than later.
Perhaps a bit undersized for a defensive end in the 3-4, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi is a talent no matter what and could help the Jets as a situational pass rusher.
A two-year starter for Toledo, Adeniyi led the MAC with 20 tackles for loss in 2017. Size concerns aside, he makes plays and makes sense for the Jets here.
With a good and thick build, Kentucky’s Matt Elam could be plugged right into the Jets two-deep at nose tackle. He had limited success but could be a solid developmental player late in the draft. You can’t teach his size.
Inside linebacker depth is key and the Jets might have a steal here. Nick DeLuca was a terror for North Dakota State, a thick and well-built inside linebacker who excels against the run. Has the potential to develop into a starter given a year or two to refine his game. Has good instincts.