NY Jets land two stud offensive linemen in dream mock draft
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets were gifted a dream scenario in Dane Brugler’s latest 2020 NFL mock draft where the team landed two stud offensive linemen.
The NY Jets have their work cut out for them this offseason as they look to refine their roster ahead of the 2020 season. Fortunately, they should have the cap space and draft capital to make some major noise in the coming months.
Of course, having the proper resources doesn’t always mean that you’re going to maximize your assets.
General manager Joe Douglas will have a tall task ahead of him as he looks to nail his first offseason with the team. Free agency is important, but oftentimes offseasons are judged based on the quality of their draft classes.
And if Douglas wants to succeed in this year’s 2020 NFL Draft, it might be wise for him to follow a similar blueprint to a particular mock draft that was recently published.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler published a three-round mock draft on Wednesday that saw the Jets addressing each of their most pressing needs to complete a star-studded haul for Gang Green.
Let’s take a look at the result of that mock draft.
Next: Round 1 and 2
Round 1 – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
In the first round, Brugler has the Jets taking Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas at No. 11.
It’s widely expected that the Jets will target one of the top offensive linemen in Round 1, and with Mekhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs, and Jedrick Wills Jr. all off the board already, Thomas was the obvious pick.
A three-year starter at left tackle for Georgia, Thomas would be able to immediately step in and become a starter from day one. There are concerns about his balance and footwork, but Thomas is a mean road-grader who projects as a high-upside prospect with All-Pro potential.
Round 2 – Lloyd Cushenberry, C, LSU
But the Jets weren’t done addressing the offensive line as they doubled down selecting LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry in the second round at pick No. 48. The Jets have a glaring hole at center Cushenberry is one of the best interior offensive line prospects in the entire class.
Cushenberry was actually the first interior offensive lineman taken in this mock with Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz and Louisiana-Lafayette’s Robert Hunt going later in the round.
The duo of Thomas and Cushenberry would be asked to start from day one and give the Jets two young, talented offensive linemen to build around.
Next: Round 3
Round 3 – Michael Pittman, WR, USC
After addressing the offensive line with their first two picks, the Jets continue to upgrade the offense with the selection of wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman is a physical possession receiver with outstanding hands and a great catch radius.
With a massive hole at receiver — especially with Robby Anderson likely departing in free agency — Pittman would fill an immediate hole and play an important role on offense right out of the starting gate.
The offensive overhaul is in full swing and Brugler’s mock makes sure of that.
Round 3 – Darrell Taylor, EDGE, Tennessee
Lastly, Brugler made sure to address the Jets’ biggest weakness on defense by mocking them Tennessee edge rusher Darrell Taylor. Taylor isn’t a high-profile prospect, but he’s a versatile defender who fits a major position of need.
While not as athletically-gifted as others in this class, Taylor is technically-refined and has a quick first step. With Jordan Jenkins set to be a free agent, the Jets edge rusher group is in flux at the moment.
Taylor could be an ideal replacement for Jenkins or a nice complimentary piece to pair up with him. Either way, it’s hard to argue with a selection like this in the third round.
Next: Final Thoughts
When all is set and done, this is an absolutely phenomenal draft haul for the Jets. They land a pair of stud offensive linemen who could assume starting roles immediately and draft a receiver and edge rusher in the third round who could each fill rotational roles early in their careers.
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Pittman has high-end WR2 upside while Taylor likely projects as a player very similar to Jenkins or even Calvin Pace. Meanwhile, Thomas and Cushenberry address the biggest need on the roster in the form of two players who project as long-term starters at the position.
With four picks in three rounds, Brugler addressed all of the Jets’ biggest needs with no wasted selection. A true slam dunk of a draft and one that most Jets fans would be thrilled to come away with in late April.
Perhaps some will be upset about not addressing cornerback earlier, especially with the likes of Virginia’s Bryce Hall and Auburn’s Noah Igbinoghene taken just a few picks after Darrell Taylor in the third round.
But free agency will determine a lot of what the Jets ultimately do in the draft. And given the other positions that were addressed, it’s hard to have any complaints.
If the Jets can do this well in the real draft come April, fans will have plenty to be optimistic about in 2020.