NY Jets settle for Justin Fields in 7-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft

NY Jets (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
NY Jets
NY Jets /

NY Jets

The NY Jets settled for Ohio State’s Justin Fields in this 2021 NFL Mock Draft.

The NY Jets are no longer winless following their shocking Week 15 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. And while it may be little more than a lone tally in the win column, that victory could have massive ramifications on the future of the franchise.

No longer do the Jets hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. And no longer are they on track to land one of the greatest quarterback prospects the NFL has ever seen in Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.

We have been running these weekly mock drafts for the better part of the past three months. We’ve done well over 10 by this point, but each of them has had one thing in common.

The Jets have selected the uber-talented Lawrence with their first overall pick in each mock we’ve run. But this time, things will be different.

As always, we enlisted the help of The Draft Network’s Mock Machine to run through a hypothetical scenario of this April’s draft. The remainder of the class remains relatively similar.

But things will look very different at the top.

Let’s take a look at our results this time around.

Next: 1. The Jets find a new quarterback

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NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Round 1, 2nd Overall, NY Jets: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

There’s a new man atop the mock and it’s none other than Ohio State’s Justin Fields. If the Jets do end up with the second overall pick and miss out on Lawrence, there will be plenty of discussion about what the Jets should do with the selection.

From trading down to selecting a quarterback to selecting a non-quarterback and rolling with Sam Darnold, all options will be on the table. But as we sit here in late December, there is one clear cut option.

And that revolves around former Heisman finalist, Justin Fields.

Darnold will be entering the fourth year of his rookie contract and the Jets will already need to make a decision on his NFL future. And given what we’ve seen this year — poor situation or not — it’s hard to be optimistic about said future.

Fields would be QB1 in a normal year with the athleticism and arm talent to be a franchise quarterback. Some of his concerns have been overstated to this point, although it’s safe to say he’s not Trevor Lawrence.

He may not be Lawrence, but Fields on a five-year contract is better than Darnold on a two-year deal any day of the week. That’s just how the NFL operates.

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Round 1, 26th Overall, NY Jets: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

After landing a new franchise QB with their first first-round pick, the Jets were pleasantly surprised to see one of the best offensive tackle prospects still on the board here at the end of the round.

Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw is a fantastic left tackle prospect who projects as a high-ceiling player in the pros. With the length and athleticism to be a legitimate All-Pro at the next level, the Jets land a steal here at pick No. 26.

Now, with Mekhi Becton manning the blindside, Darrisaw would have to slide over to right tackle. In fact, we were more looking to address either the interior offensive line or other positions here, but Darrisaw was too much to pass up on.

The No. 2 offensive tackle on Mel Kiper’s big board officially declared for the draft this past week opting to forgo his senior season. But after three standout years as a starter, he has little to prove.

He could probably use a little more refinement in pass protection, particularly when it comes to his footwork. But he’s a Day 1 starter who would give the Jets a pair of rising star offensive tackles to build around.

Not a bad first-round haul at all.

Next: 2. Addressing two defensive needs

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Round 2, 34th Overall, NY Jets: Derion Kendrick, CB, Clemson

The downside of picking second overall is that you also pick second at the start of each round. In this case, we lost out on a fantastic offensive line prospect in Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey who went to the Jaguars with the 33rd overall selection.

But we made due landing a promising young cornerback in Clemson’s Derion Kendrick instead.

Kendrick is one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s class with an upside higher than perhaps any cornerback in this class. But he remains relatively raw for very logical reasons.

A former high school wide receiver and quarterback, Kendrick didn’t play cornerback until his sophomore season in 2019. Originally just a move in the spring out of necessity, Kendrick impressed enough to make the full-time switch.

Now a rising junior, Kendrick is considered an early Day 2 prospect because of his incredible athleticism and ball skills. However, it’s how quickly he’s been able to pick up the position that has scouts really impressed.

Kendrick would be an excellent pickup here at the beginning of Round 2 with the Jets looking for additional help in the secondary.

Round 3, 66th Overall, NY Jets: Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest

The Jets have been searching for a true edge rusher for nearly two decades now. They’ve swung and missed on their fair share of prospects, but Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham Jr. is one of the safer pass-rush prospects in the class.

The cousin of current Jets’ outside linebacker Tarell Basham, the Wake Forest product stands at 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, and is ideally a better fit as a 4-3 defensive end. The Jets will have a new defensive system next season so that could be worked around.

A powerful rusher, Basham isn’t overly twitchy or athletic, but he makes up for it with his high motor and well-balanced skill set. Basham is equally as proficient as a run-stopper as he is as a pass-rusher, but that doesn’t mean the pass-rush production isn’t there.

The 23-year-old is on the older side, but he’s amassed 15 sacks in his past 19 games playing for a poor Wake Forest team. While not an exceptional athlete, Basham is an intelligent rusher who packs a punch with his bull rush.

The Jets need edge rush help and Basham could provide them that at the beginning of Round 3.

Next: 3. A pair of offensive weapons

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NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Round 3, 89th Overall, NY Jets: Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest

Ideally, we would have addressed receiver before this pick. But the assumption is that the team will take care of that, at least to some degree, in free agency. Still, Sage Surratt is good value here in Round 3.

Our second consecutive Wake Forest player has been overlooked in a very deep wide receiver class. But he shouldn’t have any trouble making an early impact on Sundays.

Surratt is a physical receiver with great speed and acceleration. At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Surratt has ideal size and spectacular ball skills that allow him to high-point the ball and make contested catches.

He’s a little reminiscent of Denzel Mims, but perhaps not quite as fast and not quite as diverse as a route-runner. Still, with a 1,000-yard season under his belt prior to his decision to opt-out of the 2020 season, Surratt would be a good pick at this spot.

Even if his athleticism and lateral movement are underwhelming.

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Round 4, 103rd Overall, NY Jets: Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina

Michael Carter is someone who’s been a bit overshadowed by his teammate, but make no mistake about it, Javonte Williams isn’t the only North Carolina running back who will be making waves in the NFL before long.

While Williams is more of a traditional runner when it comes to fighting through contact and maintaining balance, Carter shines as more of a change-of-pace guy. But that’s far from an insult.

The senior running back has totaled over 2,200 yards over the past two seasons while adding 46 grabs in the air as well. Carter has soft hands and has garnered a reputation for being a reliable pass-catching back.

Combine that with his speed and elusiveness and you have a player who is a perfect fit as part of a running back committee. The success of Williams and Carter has led North Carolina to its first top-10 ranking since 2015.

Next: 4. Three late-round projects

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Round 5, 142nd Overall, NY Jets: Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina

After landing a physical receiver in Surratt two rounds earlier, the Jets snag a quicker, more agile receiver here in South Carolina’s Shi Smith.

Standing at 5-foot-10, 186 pounds, Smith may be a bit undersized for a full-time outside role in the pros, but his toughness over the middle of the field is often on display when he lines up in the slot.

He’s dynamic enough to figure into both the short passing game as well as downfield as a field-stretcher, somewhat reminiscent of current slot receiver Jamison Crowder. In fact, Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network even labeled Crowder as a pro comparison for Smith.

The Jets could theoretically move on from Crowder in the offseason or opt to develop Smith to eventually take over for him in the slot. Either way, he’s a worthy pickup here on Day 3.

Round 5, 153rd Overall, NY Jets: Sadarius Hutcherson, iOL, South Carolina

After taking back-to-back Wake Forest players, we select our second consecutive South Carolina player in interior offensive lineman Sadarius Hutcherson.

Hutcherson is a versatile lineman who has experience playing both tackle and guard, but is likely a better fit as a guard in the NFL. However, his ability to play both sides of the offensive line should be intriguing to someone like Joe Douglas who values versatility.

Hutcherson’s raw power is the first thing that stands out when watching his tape as he has no issues throwing opposing linemen aside in the run game.

His feet are a little slow and he lacks the desired length to play tackle in the NFL. But his power alone will draw plenty of interest from teams.

Hutcherson projects as a similar player to 2020 fourth-round pick Cameron Clark making him another intriguing player to develop.

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Round 6, 193rd Overall, NY Jets: Dimitri Moore, LB, Vanderbilt

At this point in the draft, you’re oftentimes just looking for value wherever you can find it. And in Vanderbilt linebacker Dimitri Moore, we seem to have found that value.

Moore is a plus athlete with good range and coverage ability that makes him an ideal fit as a modern-day NFL linebacker. However, his small stature — at just 225 pounds — will likely cause him to fall in the draft.

But Moore shines both in pass coverage and as an inside rusher using his speed to shoot gaps. That said, he struggles to disengage from blocks, likely due to his small size.

Moore projects as a core special-teamer at the next level with the skills to develop into a three-down linebacker if he can overcome his physical limitations.

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Certainly a smart target here in the later rounds.