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The NY Jets remain atop the race for Trevor Lawrence in this 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
The NY Jets did it. By some miraculous act of the football gods — combined with a little bit of their own ineptitude — the Jets somehow emerged from their Week 13 matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders as the losers.
It took a last-second Hail Mary and some truly reprehensible defensive play-calling to get it done, but they did it. They lost. And more importantly, they retained their spot atop the race for the No. 1 overall pick.
In turn, they remained atop the race for Trevor Lawrence.
For the first time in this weekly mock draft series that’s been going on since the first month of the season, it seemed as though we were going to have to insert a different player — namely Ohio State’s Justin Fields — into the Jets’ first-round selection.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Or maybe, it’s just that Trevor Lawrence is meant to be a New York Jet.
As per usual, we entrusted the help of our friends over at The Draft Network to run through a hypothetical scenario of the 2021 NFL Draft using their “Mock Machine.”
You know that Lawrence remains the top pick, but how did we choose to utilize the rest of the Jets’ draft capital? Let’s take a look at our results.
Next: 1. Trevor Lawrence is still the guy
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Round 1, 1st Overall, NY Jets: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
For as long as the Jets hold the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence will continue to be the pick. And the same goes for whatever team — likely the Jets or Jacksonville Jaguars — that is fortunate enough to land this selection.
Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck and one of the greatest quarterback prospects in NFL history. He has all the tools, intangibles, and traits to be one of, if not the best QB in the league.
And much like Luck, he seems almost bust-proof.
From arm talent to intelligence to athleticism, it’s all there with Lawrence. Of course, there’s also the added bonus of having a young quarterback on a five-year rookie deal.
Whether it’s the Jets or Jaguars, some franchise is going to have the future of their organization changed forever.
Fortunately, Sunday’s loss meant the Jets were one step closer to the coveted prize of the 2021 draft.
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Round 1, 25th Overall, NY Jets: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
There are a lot of different directions the Jets could go with this pick, and it’s nearly impossible to predict before free agency. But given the state of the 2021 free-agent class, cornerback seems like the most likely position to address here.
And Georgia’s Eric Stokes makes a ton of sense for the Jets.
Stokes is a physical, man-cover cornerback who has great size at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, and excellent instincts in press coverage. The 21-year-old uses his impressive length and physicality to outmuscle opposing wide receivers.
Rarely will Stokes come out on the losing end in 50/50 situations and he will serve as a defensive nightmare for opposing offenses in the red zone.
There are some concerns about his ball skills and loose hips, but Stokes is a first-round prospect with No. 1 cornerback potential. Can’t go wrong with him at this spot.
Next: 2. Two familiar mock draft faces
Round 2, 33rd Overall, NY Jets: Creed Humphrey, iOL, Oklahoma
We’ve mocked Creed Humphrey to the Jets, primarily with this selection, quite a bit this year. But it’s impossible to pass up the positional need and value that Humphrey has here at No. 33 overall.
The Oklahoma standout has anchored the Sooners’ offensive line for the last three years and is widely considered one of the best interior offensive line prospects in the draft.
Humphrey possesses a superb blend of power, agility, and intelligence that should make him a 10-year starter at the center position. And with the Jets needing an upgrade on the interior of the offensive line, this move makes all the sense in the world.
The Jets could opt to shift Connor McGovern over to guard — a position he’s played in the past — or try Humphrey there as well. Either way, there’s little doubt that he’d be a significant improvement over either Alex Lewis or Greg Van Roten.
This is a prototypical Joe Douglas pick and one that could give the Jets another building block on the offensive line to pair with budding star rookie Mekhi Becton.
Round 3, 65th Overall, NY Jets: Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
Coincidentally, this just so happens to be the same pair of back-to-back selections that we mocked the Jets in our last mock draft. But again, we’re not going to change things up just for the sake of it.
Miami’s Quincy Roche should make for a very intriguing Day 2 edge-rush prospect and one that could take on a starting role as soon as Week 1 of his rookie season.
Roche is one of the most explosive pass-rushers in his class with a lightning-quick first step that allows him to burst past opposing offensive tackles and attack the pocket.
On top of that, he’s a more than capable run defender, especially for a player his size. But that size will likely be one of the very things scouts have concerns about.
Roche is listed at just 235 pounds, but he appears at least 15 pounds heavier on the field. It’s likely he comes into the NFL Combine weighing closer to 250, but expect that to be a topic of discussion with the former Temple pass-rusher.
The Jets need an explosive, high-upside pass-rusher off the edge and Roche could be that guy.
Next: 3. Adding some offensive firepower
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Round 3, 88th Overall, NY Jets: Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
Admittedly, this pick is a little outside the box. But ignore the position label for a moment. Think of Brevin Jordan as more of an offensive weapon in the passing game, because that’s essentially what he is.
Jordan is a super athlete who is a matchup nightmare for any defense. At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, Jordan runs like a wide receiver but possesses the physicality of a tight end.
Moreover, he’s as dynamic after the catch as any tight end in his class with the ability to turn simple slants and hitches into 20-yard gains. He has the speed to take any play to the house — and that’s rare at the tight end position.
There are concerns with Jordan’s durability as he’s missed time in each of the last two seasons. The Nevada native is also not the most technically-sound blocker, although he is willing.
But with the Jets looking to add a dynamic weapon in the passing game for Trevor Lawrence, Jordan could be exactly what the team is in need of.
Round 4, 102nd Overall, NY Jets: Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn
We went Jordan with that last pick partially due to the value but also because the value simply wasn’t there at wide receiver. This time, however, we felt comfortable snagging Auburn’s Anthony Schwartz in the fourth round.
Much like Jordan, Schwartz is a dynamic offensive playmaker with game-breaking speed that will add an element of excitement to any offense. His long speed makes him an ideal deep threat, but he also can work in some hitches and slants in the short passing game as well.
Most of that is because defensive backs respect his speed allowing him to have 5-10 yards of space on any given play. But that’s an asset, not a detriment to his game.
Schwartz could certainly be better served filling out his frame more and adding more mass. And if he becomes a better route-runner in the intermediate game, he has legitimate star potential.
Think of him as a very similar player to Robby Anderson and an ideal replacement for Breshad Perriman as the Jets’ resident deep threat in the offense.
Next: 4. Worthy late-round fliers
Round 5, 141st Overall, NY Jets: DeAngelo Malone, EDGE, Western Kentucky
The Jets already drafted an uber-athletic pass-rusher in the third round and they doubled up at the position selecting the equally-athletic DeAngelo Malone here in Round 5.
Malone is an athletic, but undersized edge rusher who has dominated against inferior competition at Western Kentucky. The senior defensive end managed 11 sacks in 2019 en route to being named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year.
He’s followed that up with a six-sack performance in 10 games this season proving that last year was no fluke. While his blend of explosiveness and flexibility is evident, there will be serious concerns about his size.
At just 230 pounds, Malone might be better suited as more of an off-ball linebacker/edge-rush hybrid — somewhat in the realm of Anthony Barr.
But whoever the Jets’ defensive coordinator is next season would have fun figuring out how and where to deploy this talented athlete.
Round 5, 159th Overall, NY Jets: Cordell Volson, OT, North Dakota State
The Jets could use some additional offensive line help and we mocked them an ideal late-round developmental project in the form of North Dakota State’s Cordell Volson.
Volson has prototypical size at 6-foot-6 and 312 pounds and is a nasty finisher in the run game. He seems to gain pleasure out of driving his opponents into the ground and he has enough initial quickness out of his stance to gain leverage more often than not.
The former high school basketball star gets into trouble from time to time with his hand placement and has a habit of getting called for the occasional hold.
But the traits are there for Volson to develop into a starting-caliber tackle within a few years’ time. Ideally, Volson would develop behind a player like George Fant for a year or two before hopefully taking over as a starter.
Not a bad pick here on Day 3 of the draft.
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Round 6, 193rd Overall, NY Jets: Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech
The Jets are unlikely to invest substantial capital into the running back position in the offseason. For that reason, it’s likely we see the team address the position on Day 3 of the draft, if they do so at all.
And Virginia Tech’s Khalil Herbert is a perfect player to target if they go that route.
Herbert is an athletic back with true breakaway speed in the open field. He combines that with soft hands that make him a valuable asset in the passing game.
While Herbert’s straight-line speed is impressive, he does struggle when asked to create extra yards. More of a sprinter than an eluder, Herbert’s elusiveness has been called into question and there are real concerns about his ability to make tacklers miss.
But his speed is something you can’t teach, and with his ability to contribute in not only the passing game but the return game, the Jets would be wise to target Herbert in the later rounds.
At best, he’s a runaway train that adds an element of speed to the Jets’ offense. At worst, he’s a carbon copy of Trenton Cannon.