There’s a lot that just might shake out during free agency that could make the NFL Draft a bit of an afterthought for the New York Jets. The rebuild for this team is going to come with a handful of pricey flashes and maybe an impact rookie or two.
But long-term, this draft and the prior two under general manager Mike Maccagnan are keys to the viability of this rebuild. So while this draft may not necessarily produce a big splash, the overall depth acquired in April will be crucial for this team.
With that in mind, this draft is going to be about supplementing what happens in free agency. The Jets, for the sake of this mock draft, will sign a high-profile quarterback in free agency.
So there will be no Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield selection here.
Metro’s New York Jets Mock Draft 3.0:
Round 1 – Minkah Fitzpatrick: This pick isn’t the quarterback that the Jets fans desperately want but the selection of a versatile member of the secondary is big for the defense. Yes, the Jets used their top two picks last year on safeties but Fitzpatrick can play both safety and cornerback at the next level.
For a team that needs some help at cornerback, the long and athletic Fitzpatrick can start right away and finish the transformation of the secondary. This secondary could be as good as the one that Mike Tannenbaum pieced together in 2009 and 2010.
Round 2 – Braden Smith: Capable of playing either guard spot, Smith is a prototypical interior offensive lineman in terms of build and strength. All All-SEC selection at Auburn, he is durable and experienced with over 40 straight starts. Not a bad piece to throw into the mix for the Jets as they look to build up their offense.
Round 3- Deon Cain: Coming off a season where he had 58 catches and six touchdowns, the Clemson wide receiver adds instant depth to a thin Jets wide receiver room. Steps into the two-deep instantly. Has a good build and shows his speed well in the open field. Needs work as a route runner but a solid Day 2 pick here for the Jets.
Round 4 – Josh Sweat: The Jets can’t go too long without drafting a defensive lineman and the Florida State junior is a long and strong defensive end. Has a nose for the backfield with 12.5 tackles for a loss last year
Round 5 – Davin Bellamy: Infamous for the “Humble yourself” moment directed at Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Bellamy was part of one of the nation’s best defenses at Georgia. A DUI arrest last year raises flags but his college tape will remind some of former Jets outside linebacker Calvin Pace.
Round 6 – Chase Edmunds: The Fordham running back would be a Day 2 pick if he played at an ACC or Big Ten school. Good production and shifty, Edmunds will surprise some team this summer in camp. If they’re smart, it will be the Jets.
Round 7 – Christopher Herndon IV: An MCL injury in November sees a Day 2 pick fall this low but Herndon is a tight end with good size and production. He might not be ready for minicamp but could be a good player to stash away on Injured Reserve or the practice squad for a year.