In this pre-free agency NFL mock draft, it is assumed the New York Jets do not sign quarterback Kirk Cousins in free agency. With that being said, there should be no questions as to why Jets will start their draft off with a new franchise quarterback.
Two weeks ago the New York Jets were favorites to sign the former Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, now they the Minnesota Vikings are. This most likely means the Jets will, in fact, need to draft a quarterback with the 6th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Jets have a lot of needs across the entire roster, including, a quarterback, a cornerback or two, an edge rusher or two, possibly a middle linebacker, possibly a wide receiver, and a tight end or two. I didn’t even mention the needs for the offensive line, and with all this being said, this could be a reason why Cousins does not sign with the Jets, they are not a win now team.
The Jets have eight draft selections, enough to garner at least three or four starters, which would be considered a major success when drafting eight guys. I expect the Jets to finally lean towards an offensive draft, with a few defensive selections being made.
Finally, this mock comes before the free agency period begins, which means it will completely change in the next two weeks or so. The Jets right now need a quarterback, so that’s where we’ll begin. In addition to all the draft coverage you will find here at The Jet Press, please also visit Walter Football, DC Pro Sports Report, and EDS Football. Here’s my first full mock draft of the offseason for the Jets.
The UCLA standout quarterback doesn’t seem to be going to Cleveland or the New York Giants at the moment, and Cousins doesn’t seem like he’s going to the Jets. Therefore, barring a team trading up, Josh Rosen will fall to the Jets and general manager Mike Maccagnan will have no choice but to draft him over Baker Mayfield and or Josh Allen.
I think the Cleveland Browns will draft running back Saquon Barkley with the 1st overall pick and Sam Darnold with the 4th overall pick. I think the Giants will not draft a quarterback and the Colts will stay up, that’s how I see Rosen falling to the Jets.
Since July, Josh Rosen has probably been the consensus number one quarterback by most draft gurus. I think he has the best footwork and accuracy out of any quarterback in this draft and I love his confidence and cockiness, something a lot of people find off-putting.
Rosen is brash, bold, smart, and is not going to eat sleep and breath football 24/7, but he is a darn good quarterback who has the most potential to succeed in year one. I do not think Rosen is physically the most gifted quarterback, that would be Allen, but I do think Rosen is the best pocket passer in this draft and pairing him with new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates would work well in the West Coast offense.
Next: Round 2 - Jets boldly go cornerback
The Jets and head coach Todd Bowles‘ defense revolves around the cornerback position, and right now starting cornerback Morris Claiborne is a free agent. Jaire Alexander, the 5’11, and 192lbs cornerback, only played in six games last year but going into the season was probably the best or second-best cornerback in this draft class.
Alexander is an extremely athletic cornerback with light feet and is a great teammate. The one worry for scouts and GM’s is that he does have an injury history, he’s a little undersized, and he probably will never turn into a number one cornerback, but he is still going to be a productive player in the NFL.
Why am I adding a cornerback here? Simply because I think the Jets need to add more youth and talent to the secondary. Without a great secondary in the NFL, you’re not going to be able to win the AFC East if you have to play Tom Brady twice a season, it’s as simple as that.
My final thoughts on Alexander, he’s not a great red zone one-on-one corner and I think he’ll be more of a package guy who can develop into a 2nd corner. I expect the Jets to add a corner or two in free agency, but for now, Alexander will be a great pick here for the Jets.
Next: Round 2 - Jets take a top tight end
The Jets have two second-round picks, and after drafting a quarterback and a cornerback, the next best thing to do would be to draft the most athletic tight end in this year’s draft, Mike Gesicki. Gesicki blew away all the scouts, coaches, and GM’s at the 2018 NFL combine this past week, showing off why he should be the top tight end in a class where no one in the positional group has come out on top so far.
Gesicki ran a 4.54 40-yard dash, had 22 reps on the bench press, had an absurd 41.5 vertical jump, an absurd 129.0-inch broad jump, and finally had an impressive 6.76 3-cone. He easily proved he’s the most athletic tight end in the draft, but scouts question his ability to be a pass blocker.
As a Penn Stater I’ll be honest with you, after Gesicki’s sophomore year almost every Penn State fan hated him because he could not catch a ball. Fast forward to now, Gesicki had over 100 catches and 14 touchdowns in the last two years.
Although he is not a great pass blocker, Gesicki may be one of the most athletic players in the league, nevertheless this draft class. An all-state basketball and volleyball player in high school, Gesicki is a legitimate tight end that would be a solid selection by the Jets.
Next: Round 3 - Jets bolster their wide receiver corps
The Jets need to add more playmakers to this roster, especially since their best playmaker Robby Anderson can’t stay out of legal trouble. Simmie Cobbs is 6’4, 220lbs, and ran an impressive 6.70 3-cone.
Cobbs won’t be a freak from day one, but he reminds me a lot of Quincy Enunwa, a great pass-catcher who the quarterback can rely on. The Jets need to add more weapons regardless who their quarterback is, and Cobbs has the ability to become a second-string wideout.
Again, it’s assumed Cousins won’t sign with the Jets, which makes me assume former Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson won’t sign with the team either. This makes it apparent that the Jets will have to add a wideout at some point during the free agency period and or during the draft.
One knock on Cobbs is that he did get arrested at a concert, something the Jets have dealt with before. I’m not saying that takes Cobb off the Jets board, but with a lot of off-the-field trouble in the past few years, I won’t be shocked if the franchise passes on guys who have maturity issues.
Next: 4 - Jets add a solid linebacker
Shaquem Griffin is a one-handed, *national champion* winning linebacker, who lit up the combine last week. He will easily have a wonderful NFL career despite his one hand disability. Griffin has an absurd motor and plays to prove the haters wrong.
The Jets need more versatility from their linebackers and Griffin has incredible range across the field in the tackling game and has proven he can rush after the quarterback if needed. The Jets don’t have many recognizable players across the NFL and Griffin will help give their defense an identity.
I am not just saying the Jets should draft Griffin for the hell of it, I think if Griffin had two hands he’d be a 1st round pick, so if the Jets got him in the fourth round, that would be an absolute steal. Griffin had an incredible 20 reps on the bench press, with just one arm.
To put that into perspective, Oklahoma offensive tackle prospect Orlando Brown who is 6’8, only had 14 reps on the bench press. Long arms or not, Griffin has one left hand and still had more bench press reps than Brown. Griffin has heart, and the Jets won’t regret drafting him.
Next: Round 5 - Adding one more running back to the mix
Matt Forte just retired and Bilal Powell is not guaranteed to be on the roster next season, therefore the Jets need to add running options in free agency and or the draft. Bo Scarbrough, one of the most forgotten about running backs in the draft, had a terrific combine.
Scarbrough came in and ran a 4.52, much faster than anyone thought he would, and had a really impressive 40.0-inch vertical jump and a 129.0-inch broad jump. Scarbrough is not expected to become a starting running back but the Jets just need more youth at this position and Scarbrough is a physical runner that reminds me of a slightly more athletic Jay Ajayi.
The one knock on Scarbrough is that he’s not really a pass-catching running back and he does have a history of lower body injuries, something Forte dealt with during his tenure with the Jets. I wouldn’t say the Jets should be that worried about his injury history, but Scarbrough has championship winning experience and is another SEC fierce leader that the Jets desperately need.
The NFL comparison is former teammate Derrick Henry, I consider Scarbrough to be a little more athletic and less physical. Elijah McGuire is not the answer and Powell is aging and doesn’t seem like a starting running back, that’s why the Jets go Scarbrough in the 5th round.
Next: 6. Developing a new defensive lineman
Muhammad Wilkerson was just released by the Jets and Kony Ealy is a free agent and may not be re-signed. That’s why the Jets need to draft a defensive lineman at some point during the draft, and Leon Jacobs is the guy.
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The quiet Jacobs impressed last week at the combine and ran a 4.48 40-yard dash. That proves he has the burst speed to get around the offensive line and get to the quarterback.
Jacobs looks like a freak but is just raw, he needs time to develop and time to get his body bigger for the NFL game. If the Jets are willing to be patient with a guy for a year or two, Jacobs can become a staple on the Jets defensive line in a few years.
Although he has previous injuries in college, so does most of the draft-eligible players, and none of his injuries are too worrisome. Mario Addison is the comparison for Jacobs and if the Jets could get a Mario Addison-type player in the 6th round, that would be a major pickup.
Next: Round 7 - Adding one more safety to the secondary
A safety? Really? Yes, really. Even though the Jets drafted safeties with their first two picks in last year’s draft, Bowles loves a great secondary and adding a guy for special packages won’t hurt.
Surprisingly, Flowers impressed last week at the combine as he ran a very nice 4.45 40-yard dash, and a 122.0-inch broad jump. Flowers has long arms and can be used in the pass coverage game in three safety sets.
Flowers led the team with 79 tackles this past season, had two interceptions, and eight pass breakups. He would give the Jets depth at the safety position in case of injuries and can be a versatile player in the pass coverage defense and special teams.
This is the 7th round so there’s no give-me’s. Usually, you’re taking a flyer on a guy who is not guaranteed a roster spot as Flowers has a lot of potential and the Jets need to keep adding youth to their secondary.