After a frenzied free agency period, followed by a mega-trade, here’s a New York Jets 2018 NFL mock draft, replete with able-bodied, under-the-radar mid/late round players who can meet this team’s positional needs and fit their roster profile.
New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan will never be confused with Ozzie Newsome (Ravens) or John Schneider (Seahawks). But feel confident that he’s getting this damaged ship churning in the right direction.
Maccagnan’s 2017 preseason personnel moves salvaged what could’ve been a winless season, and he’s been making prudent use of their $100 million salary cap war chest. Come early June, a new wave of non-tendered stars hit the market. So feel confident that Trader Mike’s ready to pounce on a big name or two.
It’s unfair to say Leonard Williams and Jamal Adams “fell into their laps.” At the same time, elite franchises excel at the draft, and this GM’s top four rounds in his three drafts include Devin Smith, Lorenzo Mauldin, Juston Burris, ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg.
The reason that the Jets had oodles of free agency funds was that, due to years of inept drafts and personnel moves, there were so few of their own players worth spending big money on. That vicious cycle can end after next month’s draft, by selecting the correct franchise quarterback, and fill glaring holes with young gritty overachievers. With a few more right moves, there’s no reason this team shouldn’t be a 2018 playoff contender.
Round 1 (#3 overall) – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
If Sam Darold and Josh Allen go 1-2 in the draft, expect Josh Rosen’s anointment as Jets savior. This writer has been a proponent of Baker Mayfield, but it’s difficult to envision Maccagnan betting his GM future on a vertically challenged gunslinger. Critics claim the UCLA QB’s a rich kid not committed to his craft, but the stats/tapes tell a very different story. If he’s there, take him.
Round 3 (#72) – Dorance Armstrong, OLB/DE, Kansas
The Jayhawks’ edge-rusher has a chip on his shoulder. His senior stats plummeted ’cause he had to cover for the defensive holes on his Big 12-worst 1-11 team. Armstrong can step in and start in 2018 at OLB — just like 2016 third-round OLB Jordan Jenkins, and unlike 2015 third-round OLB Lorenzo Mauldin. Matt Miller hailed him “the best prospect you’ve never heard of.”
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Round 4 (#107) – Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame
Don’t even try to compare Smythe to Rob Gronkowski. The Notre Dame grad’s an old-school, hands-in-the-dirt tight end built to move the pile. Gang Green already have a young nasty in Eric Tomlinson, but anyone who can steady this 27th-ranked O-line would be a welcome addition. Despite years lost to injury and lack of targeting in the passing game, draft prognosticators call him a hidden gem.
Round 5 (#157) –Timon Parris, OT, Stony Brook
The 6’6″, 312 lb. Floral Park, Long Island product merits his comparisons to fellow LI OT and Jets legend D’Brickashaw Ferguson. The All-CAA four-year Seawolves starter projects as a legitimate starting NFL left tackle; Parris and right tackle Brandon Shell could be a great long-term tandem.
Round 6 (#179) – Genard Avery, ILB, Memphis
An every-down baller and workout warrior with unrelenting fire, a la Bart Scott or Demario Davis. The pride of Granada, Mississippi could compete ASAP with Davis’ capable new replacement Avery Williamson. This high-motor ILB and special teams demon — built like a tank at 6’1″, 255 lb. — might be the ultimate draft sleeper. He could excel in either a 4-3 or a 3-4 Todd Bowles scheme.
Round 7 (#235) – Darrel Williams, RB, LSU
Williams spent the last two years backing up LSU legends Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice. But he was such a locker room presence that he got voted 2017 team MVP. On the field, the compact back impressed at January’s Senior Bowl, with a bruising cannonball style. Williams brings additional value as both a special team madman and as a four-star recruit out of high school.