The New York Jets will soon be on the clock in the 2016 NFL Draft and that means that ESPN’s resident NFL Draft gurus do their annual mock draft, revealing Gang Green’s possible draft plans.
Before you know it the Jets will be handing in their first-round draft pick on Thursday night and there is a slew of interest on who they’re going to select. The combination of Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay cut the suspense early on a SportsCenter Special: Mel & Todd’s Mock Draft.
NFL Live’s Trey Wingo played host while the rest of the draft crew debated and discussed the selections including appearances by Adam Schefter and Louis Riddick. It took an hour and a half to go through the 31 selections (no Patriots first round pick due to #DeflateGate) and some interesting decisions were made.
Oct 24, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Houston Cougars defensive back William Jackson III (3) intercepts a pass against UCF Knights during the first half at Bright House Networks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
The uniqueness about this mock draft was that Kiper and McShay alternated on picks taking on the role of each respective general manager. Typically when Kiper or McShay releases their mock drafts, it’s what they think the teams should do at those spots.
The Jets top needs heading into the draft are at the quarterback position, offensive line (specifically they need an upgrade at right guard and right tackle, but need depth at every position), and they’re in desperate need of a pass rusher. But surprisingly, McShay opts to go a different route with the Jets draft with the 20th overall pick.
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At this point in their mock draft the top four offensive tackles are off the board, obviously the top two quarterbacks are gone and Paxton Lynch would be a reach, so McShay explained his reasoning and why this was a slam dunk pick:
“Another underrated player in this draft, we’d like to have a pass rusher no question about it. But there’s not one available at this point and Louis Riddick spoke to it earlier, there isn’t a lot of good edge rushing players. So I’m going to go with the corner here in William Jackson III who has length, 4.3 speed, and I watched him up close shut down some of the best receivers this year with ease, this guy is a good football player.”
It doesn’t get a lot of headlines, but corner is a sneaky need for the Jets this offseason. They still have Darrelle Revis holding down the No. 1 spot as the Jets are currently letting Marcus Williams and Buster Skrine fight for the other outside corner spot, but could look to add a difference maker here. Riddick loves Jackson III and he explained why after McShay made the pick:
“Yeah this is a guy who is just a production machine, you can’t teach ball skills in the NFL. It’s one of those things you just have a distinctive knack for of when to leave your feet when the time the ball will be at its highest point. Or if you can’t make the interception when to time your strip and when to get the ball out and William Jackson the third has that in droves, he just has it.”
“He’s going to need to clean up some of his technique issues, but if Todd Bowles can get his hands on this guy I like the move. Let’s be honest, Revis is going to be 31 when the year starts, they have Buster Skrine, they have Dee Milliner but I think he doesn’t have a future with the team. I like this pick here, if he’s available I think this is a perfect Todd Bowles kind of pick.”
So far, looking at mock drafts from across the league, Jackson hasn’t gone higher than 25 in any. After McShay and Riddick, Schefter gave an interesting nugget about the cornerback needs in the NFL Draft. Schefter said the interesting thing here is that quite literally starting at the sixth overall pick with Baltimore all the way up to the Jets at 20, there is some level of need at corner for every team in that span.
Schefter then goes on to say that you could say 99% of teams could argue they have cornerback needs, but it is interesting that depending on where a respective team has a corner on their big board, we could see a variety of them going off the board in that 14 straight pick gap.
To see the rest of the McShay and Kiper SportsCenter Special mock draft results you can check it out below.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) April 22, 2016
Overall, it will be very interesting to see which top prospect the Jets draft with their No. 20 overall pick. With many pressing needs across the team, this year’s draft class for Gang Green could shape up be franchise-changing if it’s as great as last year’s.