Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide tight end O.J. Howard (88) scores a touchdown against the Clemson Tigers in the third quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
In this full 7-Round Mock Draft, the New York Jets select a top tight end, bolster their offensive line, and add an incredible wide receiver to the mix.
Heading into the 2017 NFL Draft, new rumors and speculation are surfacing every day about whose going where, and whose going to pick who. With four picks in the top 110 selections, the New York Jets are in desperate need of a youth movement.
Make no mistake about it, the pressure is on general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles to uncover players that can be cornerstones for the Jets moving forward.
For the most part, they need help on offense big time, especially if a younger quarterback is about to be under center to start the regular season. Whether it’s Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg, adding better protection and offensive playmakers will make their jobs a bit easier.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at this full 7-Round mock that will address all these needs and then some for the Jets.
Next: Round 1 - Jets take top tight end off the boards
Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide tight end O.J. Howard (88) makes a touchdown catch against the Clemson Tigers during the third quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Round 1 Pick 6: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
While drafting a quarterback would draw the biggest headlines, none of the guys on the board at No. 6 are worthy of the Jets taking. That argument could be made that outside of quarterback, a quality tight end is the next biggest hole the franchise has been starving to find a long term answer for.
With last year’s group accumulating just 18 receptions, dead last in the NFL, Howard would provide an immediate upgrade as well as a terrific security blanket for whoever is playing quarterback for the Jets next season.
At 6’6″, Howard is taller than most linebackers and safeties giving him the ability to be a matchup nightmare for defensive coordinators on a weekly basis. Outside of Brandon Marshall‘s turn back the clock campaign in 2015, when was the last time the Jets have had a skill position player like that? It’s certainly been a while.
While no tight end has been drafted in the top 10 since Vernon Davis back in 2006, Howard is by far the best tight end prospect to enter in the last decade. If the Alabama product is on the board at six, the Jets should waste no time on the pulling the trigger and welcoming one of the best pass catchers to an offense that was anemic much of last season.
Next: Round 2 - Jets bolster offensive line
Mar 3, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Utah Utes offensive lineman Isaac Asiata squares off in the mirror drill against Temple Owls offensive lineman Dion Dawkins during the 2017 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Round 2 Pick 39: Dion Dawkins, OT/OG, Temple
With tight end finally addressed, the Jets attention can now turn to revamping their offensive line, which began to show its worst in 2016. With the departure of the underachieving Ryan Clady and Breno Giacomini tackle combo, the Jets must make it a point of emphasis to upgrade the offensive line, which was one of their premium picks.
More from The Jet Press
- NY Jets should target TE Hunter Henry in free agency
- NY Jets: Why the team should target cornerback Shaquill Griffin
- NY Jets reportedly non-tendering linebacker Harvey Langi
- NY Jets: Why the team should not cut Jamison Crowder
- NY Jets should try to sign Kenny Golladay in free agency
It’s hard to believe that the Jets have not invested a first or second round pick in an offensive lineman since they took the tremendous duo of Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson with their two first round picks back in 2006. What was once an area of strength for the Jets, has faded into one of their biggest vulnerabilities.
With four-year playing career at Temple, and the ability to move around the line and play both tackle and guard, Dawkins will provide the Jets with the experience needed to be an immediate starter.
Next: Round 3 - Jets add incredible wide receiver to the mix
Round 3 Pick 70: Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State
Goodwin burst onto the scene of draft executives throughout the league after a dazzling performance in the Rose Bowl in which the Nittany Lion had nine receptions for 187 yards and two scores. Godwin has also generated plenty of interest from the Jets, which could use another wide receiver in the mix.
After cutting ties with Marshall and the status of Eric Decker still up in the air, the Jets would be wise to add a wide receiver on day 2. Godwin seems to fit the bill. At 6’2″ 204lbs, Godwin has the size to be a dynamic playmaker at the next level.
He also ran a 4.42 at the combine which isn’t too shabby and could provide the Jets offense with a much-needed home run hitter.
Next: Round 3 - Jets add new safety for secondary
Mar 6, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive back Montae Nicholson does a workout drill during the 2017 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Round 3 Pick 107: Montae Nicholson, S, Michigan State
After spending their first three picks on the offensive side of the ball, the Jets will now turn their attention to the defense. They will add a hard-hitting safety to a secondary that lacked both energy and production in 2016.
Calvin Pryor has failed to develop into the enforcer that the Jets hoped he’d become when they drafted him with the 18th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Their other starting safety Marcus Gilchrist is coming off a season-ending knee injury that he suffered in Week 14.
New York’s secondary is in dire need of some fresh legs and some attitude, and Montae Nicholson has the traits to provide both. He’d be a great competitor that would make everyone around him step up their game.
Next: Round 5 - Adding a new running back to the backfield
Dec 21, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Brigham Young Cougars running back Jamaal Williams (21) scores on a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Wyoming Cowboys during the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Round 5 Pick 150: Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU
While the Jets have a quality 1-2 punch at running back of Matt Forte and Bilal Powell, the depth behind the top two players leaves a lot to be desired. Williams was a terrific starter for the Cougars as he accumulated 3,901 yards and 35 scores over a four-year span.
With Forte 31 years of age and coming off an injury-plagued year and Powell nothing more than a change of pace back, the Jets would benefit from adding a new look to their run game. Since they have a new offensive coordinator in John Morton, they might have to depend on running the football to get the chains moving as everyone develops towards the next level in a rebuilding year.
Establishing the run helps open everything up and Williams is a true workhorse that could come in and help spell relief for Forte or Powell. Williams should be able to be eased into a rotation and make a name for himself in the pros.
Next: Round 6 - Adding another offensive tackle
Jan 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; USC Trojans offensive tackle Zach Banner (73) reacts during the 103rd Rose Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Rose Bowl. USC defeated Penn State 52-49 in the highest scoring game in Rose Bowl history. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Round 6 Pick 191: Zack Banner, OT, USC
The offensive line depth will be a primary focus for Gang Green in this year’s draft. After adding Dawkins in Round 2, the Jets continue to bulk up their offensive line in Round 6 with USC’s Zack Banner.
At 6’9″, Banner possesses tremendous height for an offensive lineman and was a key member of the Trojans line this past season. One can’t underestimate how important it is to have quality depth on an offensive line since football games are won or lost in the trenches.
With players slated ahead of him on the depth chart, Banner would not be asked to contribute right away and will have a few years to develop before possibly being called upon. He would learn from the veterans around him which will undoubtedly develop him even further.
Banner has the right mentality and is very coachable to the next level. The Jets get a real stud here that could turn into a starter in his second or third year in the NFL.
Next: Round 7 - Drafting a linebacker that could be a hidden gem
Mar 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Northwestern linebacker Anthony Walker speaks to the media during the 2017 combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Round 7 Pick 224: Anthony Walker, LB, Northwestern
The Jets have invested their last two third round picks on outside linebackers in Jordan Jenkins and Lorenzo Maudlin. Outside of a few high motor games from Mauldin in his rookie season back in 2015, neither have provided the Jets with much burst from the edge.
Jenkins played sparingly his rookie year and failed to impress while Mauldin battled injuries and inconsistency. The Jets need to keep bringing in talent that could develop into hidden gems down the road. Walker is exactly that and then some.
While Walker does not sack the quarterback very often, he did spend a lot of time in the opponents backfield. In his three years at Northwestern, Walker racked up a total of 38.0 tackles for a loss. While he did only total 7.5 sacks during that span, with the help of some good coaching, he will only get better.
Walker’s raw pass rushing skills could translate to the NFL. At the very least, Walker would provide some good competition for Mauldin and Jenkins this upcoming summer.