Draft

Jets select Malik Hooker in 7-Round mock draft

Oct 8, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Malik Hooker (24) returns the interception during the second half against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 38-17. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Malik Hooker (24) returns the interception during the second half against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 38-17. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
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new york jets
new york jets

Oct 8, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Malik Hooker (24) returns the interception during the second half against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 38-17. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

This is the most crucial draft for the New York Jets as they began their “rebuild” this off-season. Here’s a full 7-Round mock draft that would help the Jets move in the right direction before training camp begins in August.

The 2017 NFL Draft is finally here, it’s considered like Christmas for a lot of NFL fans out there and per usual, the New York Jets are back in the top 10 of Round 1. Right before the draft, there are tons of trade rumors going around the NFL, and the Jets have said they would like to trade down if possible.

The Jets aren’t going to be good next year, especially with the hard schedule that was given to them last week. Luckily, this year’s draft has some solid talent that should help them at least win a game or two with confidence.

There are plenty of holes to fill for the New York Jets and I can tell you right now, the quarterback position most likely won’t be addressed until 2018. It certainly won’t be addressed in this mock.

The Jets just need talent on their roster and picking best available may be their best option, especially in the later rounds of this year’s draft. It’s going to be a fun and interesting night, maybe the wildest first round of the NFL draft in history.

Next: Round 1 - Jets land top safety

December 31, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Malik Hooker (24) intercepts a pass intended for Clemson Tigers wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) during the first half of the 2016 CFP semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

1. Malik Hooker, Safety, Ohio State

In the first version of my Jets 7-round mock, and in the full mock draft that I did, I had the Jets drafting Malik Hooker. Here we are on draft day and Hooker should be the newest Jet if a trade doesn’t occur.

Hooker is going to be an all-pro stud by year three and will struggle to adjust to the NFL level in year one and two. With two post-season surgeries, Hooker needs to be healthy and could miss some time in his rookie season, something that worries some, but I think he’s a safer pick than fellow Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore, at least injury wise.

Starting all 13 games in his final season, Hooker had 74 tackles and seven interceptions. Three of those interceptions were returned for a touchdown, so Hooker is no doubt a playmaking Earl Thomas-like safety. The Jets haven’t had a lethal weapon in the secondary like Hooker since Darrelle Revis was a Jet (pre-Tampa Bay).

It would be foolish for the Jets to draft a quarterback here, but if O.J. Howard is available then I could see the Jets finally addressing the tight end issues they’ve had since Dustin Keller was a Jet.

Next: Round 2 - Jets go EDGE rusher

Sep 3, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars linebacker Tyus Bowser (81) during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2. Tyus Bowser, EDGE, Houston

Tyus Bowser, what a name. Now he may not be the Bowser from the childhood Mario games we played, but Tyus Bowser is just a fearful for opposing quarterbacks.

Bowser led the Cougars with 8.5 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, and that was all with missing a month because of a broken orbital bone in his jaw from a fight with his teammate.

Bowser is what the Jets thought they drafted in Vernon Gholston back in 2008 with ironically enough the sixth overall pick. The Jets need and want an edge rusher than can get to the quarterback, Bowser is that guy.

Although a bit undersized, if Bowser is able to improve against the run, he should be an excellent pass rusher in this league. The Jets have holes everywhere and adding an edge rusher can make up for a lot of those holes.

Next: Round 3 - Jets draft quality center

Sep 3, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Pat Elflein (65) during the first half against the Bowling Green Falcons at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 77-10. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

3. Pat Elflein, Center, Ohio State

Elflein would be the second Ohio State played drafted by the Jets if this were to happen. This offseason the Jets released former Ohio State center Nick Mangold, who was one of the longest tenured Jets at the time. Why not replace him with another Ohio State center more than a decade later?

Elflein, a three-time All-Big Ten center, also received first-team All-American recognition after switching to center his senior season. His strengths are simple, has a thick lower body, but like Mangold is known for his leadership ability, as he was a team captain.

Wrestling background helps him with his hand-to-hand combat and can either be a guard or center in the NFL. Elflein’s footwork needs to get better, sometimes drops back too early because of the pass-rush and he could improve his upper body strength a little bit more.

The Jets need better leaders in the locker room and they also need offensive line help, Elflein can start in year one at either position. This would be a smart and safe pick for the Jets.

Next: Round 3 - Jets finally land a solid tight end

3. Bucky Hodges, Tight End, Virginia Tech

Like aforementioned earlier on, the Jets haven’t had a tight end since Keller. Literally, the Jets have had the worst tight ends, statistically for the last three seasons. Bucky Hodges can help change that.

At 6’6 inches, 257 pounds, and good hand and arm size, Hodges is ready to become a pass-catching tight end in the NFL. In his three years as a Hokie, Hodges had 500+ receiving yards and at least six touchdowns. His size and athleticism are rare for this position and originally Hodges was a quarterback.

Hodges has the ability to play in the slot like a wide receiver, and cannot be guarded by a cornerback on the goal line creating mismatches for linebackers. Hodges can go up the middle and is most likely smarter than most tight ends because of the fact he used to be a quarterback. He has better than average knowledge of defensive schemes and coverages.

Hodges has only been a tight end for three seasons so he still has a lot to learn, including better route running, and getting around a defender in the way of his route. Hodges isn’t going to make insane catches but will catch the footballs he’s supposed to. He won’t be a fantasy stud in year one or two but with hopefully a franchise quarterback for the Jets in the near future, Hodges will be a very important player on offense in 2018 or 2019.

Next: Round 5 - Jets add more depth to the offensive line

Oct 3, 2015; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles offensive lineman Roderick Johnson (77) lines up during the second half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Florida State defeated Wake Forest 24-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

5. Roderick Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Florida State

The Jets have lost three starting linemen in the past two season, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Breno Giacomini, and Mangold. The Jets addressed the center/guard position by drafting Elflein earlier on, now they address the tackle position.

Roderick Johnson ran under a 5.0 in the forty-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine, showing off his athleticism. Johnson started 31 straight games during his time at Florida State and received All-ACC First-Team honors over the past two seasons. At 6’7″ inches and 298 pounds, Johnson could use another 15 pounds or so to fill-in.

His long arms prevent speedy edge rushers from getting around him and was known as a hard worker and intelligent during college. One of the more impressive things about Johnson is his performance vs Michigan and specifically draft prospect Taco Charlton.

The weaknesses should scare some fans away from Johnson. Johnson is an average pass blocker, he needs to fix his footwork and balance issues. He would more likely than not be a right tackle and transition to left tackle in one or two seasons. This pick is a great value for the Jets if he’s still available at the beginning of Round 5, a starting offensive tackle with upside.

Next: Round 6 - Jets go wide receiver

Nov 12, 2016; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Stacy Coley (3) leaps to catch the ball in front of Virginia Cavaliers defensive back Chris Moore (39) in the second quarter at Scott Stadium. The Hurricanes won 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

6. Stacy Coley, Wide Receiver, Miami

Coley is quite an interesting prospect. Before the season he got caught up in an NCAA investigation, apparently something related to car rental benefits, but still played the entire season with fellow draftee, quarterback Brad Kaaya.

More from The Jet Press

Coley was named third-team All-ACC after leading Miami with 63 receptions, 754 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns. Coley is quick, posting a 4.45 forty-yard dash time and he also had an impressive 34.0 inch vertical jump and 122.0 inch broad jump. At 6 feet tall Coley would be a slot receiver, a position of medium need for the Jets.

Coley is a very smooth runner, forcing slow corners to panic when against him. Coley’s separation move is above average and is extremely dangerous after the catch. The weaknesses for Coley aren’t that worrisome, some scouts question his passion for the game as he could use some route running work. Coley also needs to work on catching the deep ball.

Besides a shoulder issue in 2014 and a minor hamstring issue in 2015, Coley is relatively healthy. Coley needs to prove he’s committed and if he is, he could be lethal for an NFL team, hopefully, that team will be the Jets.

Next: Round 7 - Jets end the draft by selecting linebacker

Dec 3, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Brandon Bell (11) catches the confetti after the game against the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big Ten Championship college football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Penn State defeats Wisconsin 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

7. Brandon Bell, Linebacker, Penn State

Since the modern draft era began in the 60’s, Penn State has the most linebackers drafted, unofficially known as Linebacker-U, especially in the 1980’s. Some of those linebackers include current stars Paul Posluszny, NaVorro Bowman, and Sean Lee.

Brandon Bell was the second most important defender for this Nittany Lions defense, and an early injury in the season, which caused him to miss four games.

Even though he missed those games, Bell had 88 tackles, and impressively vs Ohio State and Michigan State had 18 tackles in both games. As a team captain, Bell would be another great leader to add to this Jets linebacking core, an aging one.

The last play of Bell’s career was an interception that set up a Penn State touchdown, he got hurt on that play ending his career. Good news is that the injury won’t affect him throughout the draft process.

Next: 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Cleveland Browns Select Myles Garrett

Undersized and injury issues cause Bell to be a late day three pick, but if he’s available the Jets would be getting a 4th or 5th round talent, a great team leader, and a tackling machine. I think this would be the perfect finish for a solid draft class by the Jets.

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