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NY Jets add speed, athleticism in 3-round mock draft from Draft Network

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 21: Henry Ruggs III #11 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs for a 45-yard touchdown in the first quarter after catching a pass behind D.Q. Thomas #12 of the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 21: Henry Ruggs III #11 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs for a 45-yard touchdown in the first quarter after catching a pass behind D.Q. Thomas #12 of the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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NY Jets, Draft Network (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Draft Network (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The NY Jets added some serious speed and athleticism in this Draft Network 3-round mock draft. Here are our full reactions, grades, and feelings.

We have officially entered the month of April and the NFL Draft is just a few weeks away and NY Jets fans are wondering what their team will do on draft day! This week Joe Marino of The Draft Network dropped a three-round mock draft featuring some blockbuster trades.

Jets fans can do their own mock drafts by utilizing the ‘Mock Draft Machine‘ on The Draft Network site. There are several different settings you can use and the best part is you can do a quick one-round mock draft or you can dive into the deep end of the pool and do a full seven-round mock.

For example, we just released our NY Jets seven-round (post-free agency edition) mock draft which you can read right now by clicking here (shameless plug).

Getting back to Marino’s latest mock-draft he decided to go with a three-rounder which covers the first two days of the 2020 NFL Draft (first round, second round, and third round). So we grabbed his full results for the Jets, graded them, and gave our full reaction to each and every selection.

On the first two days of the 2020 NFL Draft, Gang Green holds four picks in the top 80. That’s the most prominent draft choices this team has had in seven years. Here’s what they did with them in this simulation.

Next: First round

First-round

Henry Ruggs III. 11. 829. . Wide receiver

“After general manager, Joe Douglas blitzed the offensive line by agreeing to terms with five blockers in free agency, the New York Jets are positioned to get a weapon for Sam Darnold. No receiver in this class is more dynamic than Henry Ruggs III. He brings a big-play element to the Jets’ offense that currently does not exist.”

Top players still available:

  • Jerry Jeudy, wide receiver, Alabama
  • CeeDee Lamb, wide receiver, Oklahoma
  • Jedrick Wills Jr, offensive tackle, Alabama
  • Mekhi Becton, offensive tackle, Louisville
  • K’Lavon Chaisson, edge, LSU

On the surface adding a dynamic weapon at wide receiver would be a wonderful move by general manager Joe Douglas. Henry Ruggs III brings elite speed and playmaking abilities from Alabama.

While his stats won’t wow you from college, you have to consider the talent level he played with: Devonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy, and Jaylen Waddle. Each of those players is a future first-round pick (including Ruggs himself) which means they each had to sacrifice individual success for the greater good of the team.

Now before we can enjoy this selection, who did Joe Marino pass on? Every other top wideout including Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb and if that wasn’t bad enough he also chose to pass on two of the projected top four offensive tackles in this draft class.

While it’s somewhat understandable if you passed on Mekhi Becton because of the large amount of risk due to his lack of experience, that excuse doesn’t work for Jedrick Wills Jr.

The ultimate question for the NY Jets in round one is wide receiver or offensive tackle. Likely all of the top wideouts will be on the board, the tougher question is how many of the top tackles will be on the board?

As long as the team drafts one of those two positions in round one it won’t be a complete failure, but in this particular case passing on two of the top tackles for a wide receiver that isn’t even considered the top one is questionable.

Grade: C+

Next: Second round

Second round

. Offensive tackle. Ezra Cleveland. 48. 895

Top players still available:

  • Josh Uche, edge, Michigan
  • Jonathan Taylor, running back, Wisconsin
  • Michael Pittman Jr, wide receiver, USC
  • Lloyd Cushenberry III, interior offensive line, LSU
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones, wide receiver, Michigan

Admittingly one of my biggest fundamental issues with the NY Jets going wide receiver in round one is the lack of offensive tackle depth that’ll be available later in the draft. However, Joe Marino found one of the most intriguing day two offensive linemen in the class.

Ezra Cleveland is a 6-foot-6, 310-pound offensive tackle out of Boise State. There’s a lot to like about his background: he used to play on the defensive line and has a prominent wrestling background.

He’s a super athletic player that could be the Jets’ long term left tackle of the future. He’s a great developmental prospect that has high upside. Clearly he’s not a perfect player, Ezra got banged up early in 2019 (turf toe) which makes it hard to evaluate his tape.

Cleveland could battle it out with George Fant for the starting gig on the blindside. But that’s where we get to a hairy situation, do we really want our franchise quarterback Sam Darnold being protected by two unproven commodities? This again takes us back to that decision in the first round to bypass a quality plug-and-play offensive tackle.

Grade: B+

Next: Third round

Third-round

EDGE. Julian Okwara. 68. 819.

Top players still available:

  • Brandon Aiyuk, wide receiver, Arizona State
  • Curtis Weaver, edge, Boise State
  • Cole Kmet, tight end, Notre Dame
  • Matthew Peart, offensive tackle, UConn
  • Damon Arnette, cornerback, Ohio State

The NY Jets got a top-70 pick (and some) in the Leonard Williams trade. Thanks again to the NY Giants for all their contributions.

With that being said the Jets addressed the offensive line and wide receiver with their first two picks, now they go for their massive hole at edge rusher. The good news is the green and white shocked all of us by surprisingly retaining Jordan Jenkins on a modest one-year $5 million deal.

Now they can plug a talented golden domer on the other side in Julian Okwara.

Okwara has Nigerian roots and his brother is in the NFL with the Detroit Lions (Romeo Okwara). Eventually, Julian landed in South Bend with the Fighting Irish and started as a backup who worked his way into the starting lineup.

He’s got the traits, had a disappointing senior season with a drop in production and he broke his leg which ended his season. For the Jets, he would be a situational pass rusher. He still has to round out the rest of his game to be a consistent contributor in the run game.

Despite the fact the Jets went wide receiver in the first round with Ruggs, wouldn’t mind them double-dipping with a great value in Brandon Aiyuk out of Arizona State. Another speedster who would immediately help the Jets offense with another legit weapon.

Grade: C

Cornerback. Troy Pride Jr. 79. 819.

Top players still available:

  • Chase Claypool, wide receiver, Notre Dame
  • Matt Hennessy, interior offensive line, Temple
  • Van Jefferson, wide receiver, Florida
  • Netane Muti, interior offensive line, Fresno State
  • Cameron Dantzler, cornerback, Mississippi State

Speaking of double-dipping the NY Jets go back-to-back with Notre Dame defenders.

There’s no denying the need at cornerback for Gang Green. During free agency the team retained Brian Poole in the slot and on the outside they brought in Pierre Desir, formerly of the Indianapolis Colts.

But they could use another outside guy and Troy Pride Jr is a brilliant player in the third round that perfectly fits what Gregg Williams and the Jets want to do. Whether the team is employing zone or man concepts, Pride Jr can thrive.

Troy has pure track speed and checks off most of the measurable questions (height, weight, speed, and of course athleticism). He’s had a really nice offseason increasing his draft stock at the NFL Combine in Indy and at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

Next. NY Jets: 3 trade packages for pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue

Joe Marino passed on some very intriguing players: Chase Claypool and Van Jefferson at wide receiver bring a lot of different things to the table. A few interior offensive linemen if the Jets wanted to go younger inside (Hennessy or Muti) would make sense. Despite those temptations, Pride Jr is an excellent addition to the team’s secondary.

Grade: A-

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