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2016 NFL Mock Draft: New York Jets land Jack Conklin

By Todd Gerstenhaber
Dec 31, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans offensive tackle Jack Conklin (74) during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2015 Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans offensive tackle Jack Conklin (74) during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2015 Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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new york jets
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Dec 31, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans offensive tackle Jack Conklin (74) during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2015 Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In this 2016 NFL Mock Draft, the New York Jets land a top offensive lineman, draft another developmental quarterback for the future and address their overall pass rush.

This upcoming draft and the season following it will be a defining one for the Jets. This team could have probably gone 4-12 last year and nothing would have changed. Of course, their draft strategy for 2016 may have been significantly altered based on their position, but with a much tougher upcoming schedule and a roster full of talent warranting an NFL Playoffs spot, Gang Green must make sure that they fill the holes in this roster so that pieces can seamlessly fit into the system.

Related Story: 2016 NFL Mock Draft: New York Jets select Emmanuel Ogbah

With solid players across each level of the team offensively and defensively, the next step is to get pro-ready players to go along with the established veterans and use the later round picks to improve depth and enhance the competition.

With just six picks in this year’s draft, general manager Mike Maccagnan and the rest of the crew in the Jets’ draft war room must be ready to pounce on the player that fits the puzzle and not make the puzzle fit the player.

For the top three picks at 20, 51 and 83, the Jets must make sure that they are addressing a pressing need. Those needs are on the offensive line and at the linebacker position. The Jets also need prospects known more for their raw athleticism that can be found later on in the draft whose skills can be maximized if the team develops them properly.

With that in mind, here is a full Jets-only mock draft in which it would leave the team looking good heading into next season.

Next: Round 1: Jets draft top offensive lineman

2016 nfl mock draft
2016 nfl mock draft /

Feb 26, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans offensive lineman Jack Conklin (11) participates in a drill during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

30. . <p>Conklin should be picked higher, but with two offensive tackles likely to be picked ahead of him and teams with needs in other areas drafting ahead of the Jets, this is an example of a draft pick who would start from day 1 and protect the blindside of whomever the Jets starting starting is.</p> <p>He also knows how to compete, as he had to earn his job at Michigan State the hard way as a walk-on in 2012 after not receiving a single scholarship offer from an FBS school. Fast forward to his senior year and he’s protecting the blindside of a quarterback leading his team to a College Football Playoff appearance. An All-American, leader, competitor and an ability to play left or right tackle makes him a match for what the Jets are trying to build and a perfect heir to recently-retired <a href=. Offensive Tackle. Jack Conklin. 1

Next: Round 2: Jets draft versatile linebacker

2016 nfl mock draft
2016 nfl mock draft /

Jan 1, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Josh Adams (33) is tackled by Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Joshua Perry (37) and Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Joey Bosa (97) an Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Gareon Conley (8) during the first half of the 2016 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

. <p>For a team that won the championship in 2014, Josh Perry was the guy that had the most tackles. Ohio State’s defense was loaded with talent for the past two seasons. In fact, it was so loaded that an NFL scout anonymously said he would <a href=. Outside Linebacker. Joshua Perry. 2. 30

Next: Round 3: Jets add quality depth to offensive line

2016 nfl mock draft
2016 nfl mock draft /

Oct 11, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; LSU Tigers offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins (65) reacts after they beat the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. LSU Tigers defeated the Florida Gators 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

3. 30. . <p>The Jets need guys that can fill roles, and Hawkins is someone who can do that. He started 36 games at LSU, and has played full seasons at left and right tackle. Maccagnan should be focusing on players who don’t have one set position. In the third round you can find guys who have first round potential, but a skill-set that needs some work.</p> <p><strong>Strengths:</strong> Jerald puts his body on the line every play. He is going to push people around and create space. Coming from the SEC, his competition was big, and it didn’t trouble him to move a defender off the line of scrimmage. Hawkins jumps out of the gate on the whistle, and appears to know exactly what to do and when he needs to do it.</p> <p><strong>Weaknesses: </strong>He is a little limber for an NFL tackle, but that can be changed with an NFL strength and conditioning coach. He can move his body up and down the field, but isn’t well-versed in lowering his center of gravity.</p> <p><strong>Overall: </strong>The Jets need all the help they can get on the offensive line. With a potentially inexperienced quarterback under center and a running back who likes to catch the ball out of the backfield, it is important that the Jets have guys who can keep action in front of them on the line. Hawkins does exactly that and represents proper value in the third round.</p>. Offensive Tackle. Jerald Hawkins

Next: Building for the Future?

2016 nfl mock draft
2016 nfl mock draft /

Jan 1, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) drops back to pass against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the second quarter in the 2016 Rose Bowl at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

. <p>Here we go again. Another offseason, another round of questions about the future of the quarterback position for the Jets. After finally finding a steady quarterback in <a href=. Quarterback. Kevin Hogan. 4. 30

Next: Round 7: Jets get help on special teams

2016 nfl mock draft
2016 nfl mock draft /

Sep 5, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies punter Drew Kaser (38) punts the ball during the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Punter. Drew Kaser. 7. 30. . <p>Crazy, right? Taking a punter in the draft isn’t something most teams seek to do, but with the NFL game increasingly focused on field position, and the Jets extreme thirst for a guy capable of helping them in that department, this pick makes a ton of sense.</p> <p>The ineptitude the Jets displayed on special teams in 2015 were grounds for firing first-year special teams coach Bobby April, and enough reason to make this an area of concern for the draft and offseason acquisitions in general. Many of those needs have been addressed, and with <a href=

Next: Round 7: Jets draft speedy cornerback

2016 nfl mock draft
2016 nfl mock draft /

Oct 24, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers defensive back Prince Charles Iworah (30) breaks up a pass to LSU Tigers wide receiver Travin Dural (83) during the second quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

. <p>At this late stage in the draft, everyone is a project. They have some attributes that make you think that they could make it in the NFL, but more often than not, this is not the case. Looking for players with truly unique abilities at this point, like Prince Charles Iworah, is what the Jets need to do at this stage.</p> <p><strong>Strengths: </strong>You can’t teach speed. Iworah wows in this department, as he ran an unofficial time of 4.32 in the 40-yard dash. That is blazing speed that could absolutely be used somewhere on an NFL field. With the ability to track receivers as they run down the field a key part of playing the secondary, he could certainly keep up with the best of them.</p> <p><strong>Weaknesses: </strong>He is only 5’9″, doesn’t have many “football” skills, and is considered very inexperienced in general as a football player. These are huge reasons why he would not be a higher draft pick.</p> <p><strong>Overall: </strong>His name has been associated with the 4th round, and his name has also been associated with being an undrafted free agent. With a lot of available options at the cornerback position, he should still be on the board at this point in the draft. Remember, <a href=. Cornerback. Prince Charles Iworah. 7. 30

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