NY Jets, Deshaun Watson Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
The NY Jets are primed for what promises to be one of the most eventful offseasons in recent memory. And now with the Deshaun Watson rumors heating up more by the day, this will surely be an offseason like no other.
We have been doing these weekly mock drafts since September, but today, we’re going to do something a little different.
Even with the possibility of a trade down lurking, we’ve always done these mocks without trades for simplicity’s sake. That is, until now.
What if the Jets trade for Deshaun Watson? What if the Jets pull off the impossible and land one of the most valuable players in the entire NFL? It’s a scenario no one saw as a possibility just a few weeks ago.
But with tensions rising in Houston and Watson seemingly on his way out, the Jets make sense as a legitimate landing spot. They’re one of the few teams with both the desire and assets to get a deal done.
It’s going to cost a lot. The final price tag will be determined by a host of external factors, but for the sake of this exercise, let’s assume the starting point is around three first-round picks.
You pay that — no questions asked.
We still made use of The Draft Network’s Mock Machine, as we have every week, to run through this possible scenario. Only this time, we had fewer picks to work with and a different motive in mind.
First, let’s take a look at the actual trade itself.
Next: 1. The trade
NY Jets, Deshaun Watson Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
1. What did the NY Jets trade for Deshaun Watson?
This seems to be a fair starting point. While the final trade might involve giving up more — depending on how the situation in Houston develops — this falls in line with the projected three-first-round-pick value.
The Jets will give up the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and their first-rounder the next year. That will still leave them with both Seattle first-round picks to build around Watson and continue constructing the roster.
They have this opportunity because they also send the Texans the 34th overall pick as well as Sam Darnold. This scenario only works if Houston feels comfortable building around Darnold as opposed to using the second overall pick on Watson’s replacement.
This, admittedly, would probably be a mistake and it isn’t the likeliest scenario. But just for the sake of this mock draft, it’s the one we’re rolling with.
Darnold’s rumored value remains somewhere around a second-round pick plus a mid-round selection. Despite his poor play, there are some teams that believe, in the right situation, he can be salvaged.
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With that in mind, the Texans would essentially be trading Deshaun Watson for a very high first-round pick, a very high second-round pick, and an additional second-round and mid-round selection (Darnold’s value).
Again, that’s a good starting point. It might ultimately take more, but if you’re the Jets and this is the deal on the table, you waste absolutely no time jumping at the offer.
This isn’t the most likely trade package, but it’s the one we’re going to be using for this mock draft and it’s one that should at least get the Jets’ foot in the door.
Next: 2. A stalwart guard and a starting-caliber CB
NY Jets, Deshaun Watson Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Round 1, 23rd Overall, NY Jets: Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State
Without the No. 2 overall pick, the Jets’ first selection isn’t until 23 where we decided to give Watson a little help. After all, what’s the point in having a franchise quarterback if you aren’t going to build around him?
Ohio State’s Wyatt Davis is one of the best offensive line prospects in this year’s class and he could be just what the Jets need to bolster their struggling interior.
Davis is a mauler at the point of attack and one of the most technically refined prospects this year. He’s as well-rounded as they come with ample starting experience, athleticism, and strength to project him as a plug-and-play starter at the next level.
That said, he could ultimately fall after suffering a knee injury in the National Championship Game that might not allow him to partake in the NFL Combine.
But Davis is everything you look for in a Day 1 starting guard and is the perfect Joe Douglas prospect. This would be a home-run pick.
Round 3, 66th Overall, NY Jets: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
The Jets wouldn’t have their second-round pick in our scenario meaning they don’t select again until pick No. 66 in the third round. And we took this opportunity to address a position that might not be able to be addressed in free agency.
The cornerback market is looking rather thin and with a glaring hole at the position, someone like Stanford’s Paulson Adebo makes a ton of sense.
Standing at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Adebo is a prototypical outside cornerback with excellent length and athleticism to excel in the NFL. On top of that, his instincts and football IQ make him a good fit for Robert Saleh’s zone-heavy scheme.
Adebo could come in and compete for a starting job early on with the likes of Bryce Hall, Blessuan Austin, and whoever else the Jets add this offseason.
Cornerback is one of the most pressing needs on the roster and we weren’t going to pass up the opportunity to draft a future stater here in Round 3.
Next: 3. Two perfect scheme fits
NY Jets, Deshaun Watson Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Round 3, 86th Overall, NY Jets: Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh
With the Jets likely switching to more of a base 4-3 under Saleh, the need for true 4-3 defensive ends has risen significantly. As it stands, the Jets don’t really have a starting-caliber player to fill that role.
Pittsburgh’s Patrick Jones II is someone who could come in and immediately fill that void. Jones has prototypical size at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds and combines that with a strong anchor and well-rounded skill set.
The 2020 Consensus All-American was extremely productive at Pittsburgh racking up 17.5 sacks over his final 22 collegiate games. He’s also a wise run defender who is disciplined in his gap assignment — a staple of Robert Saleh defenses.
Jones doesn’t have the scheme versatility to play a stand-up pass-rusher role which could cause him to drop in the draft. But he’s someone you could select in Round 3 and almost immediately pencil in as a Day 1 contributor.
Don’t be surprised if Jones is a very productive player at the next level.
Round 4, 106th Overall, NY Jets: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
We’ve mocked Tylan Wallace to the Jets quite a bit over the past few months, but it makes more sense than ever given the new offensive scheme the Jets will running under offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.
Wallace excelled at Oklahoma State on manufactured touches where he was able to use his quickness and agility. His limited route tree could cause him to fall, but that isn’t as big of a detriment in LaFleur’s system as others.
On top of that, Wallace is also a strong downfield threat where he’s able to show off his talents in vertical 50/50 situations. Even though he’s only 6-foot, 185 pounds, Wallace has strong hands and knows how to attack the ball in the air.
Putting the flashy Oklahoma State wideout in a Kyle Shanahan-inspired offense would be a sight to see. And it could be a reality if the Jets make him a mid-round target.
Next: 4. Two exciting offensive playmakers and a special-teamer
NY Jets, Deshaun Watson Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
Round 5, 145th Overall, NY Jets: Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
After drafting one Oklahoma State playmaker, the Jets add another a round later in running back Chuba Hubbard. The Jets will need to figure out their backfield plans for 2021 and Hubbard is someone who can make an instant impact as part of a rotation.
At 6-foot, 207 pounds, Hubbard is one of the most patient runners in this class with the ability to maximize yards by waiting for plays to develop. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to take easy yards when they come.
Hubbard is an explosive back with the ability to burst through open running lanes. And most notably, he’s a perfect fit in an outside zone run scheme where he can put his decisiveness and off-tackle speed to good use.
While his inexperience as both a pass-catcher and in pass protection might keep him off the field on third downs, Hubbard is a player who can really excel in LaFleur’s scheme.
He’s someone the Jets should target on Day 3 of the draft.
Round 5, 154th Overall, NY Jets: Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina
The Jets add their second receiver of the draft in the undersized, but flashy Shi Smith. At just 5-foot-10, 186 pounds, Smith will likely be confined to more of a slot role in the pros. But that doesn’t mean he can’t find his way on to the field early on.
While Adam Gase never understood the concept of having multiple slot receivers on the field at the same time, Kyle Shanahan’s scheme makes great use of it.
Smith is a dynamic slot receiver with the toughness to make catches over the middle of the field and the athleticism to make plays downfield despite his size.
Smith could provide additional wide receiver depth and really maximize his skill set in LaFleur’s offense.
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Round 6, 196th Overall, NY Jets: Damar Hamlin, S, Pittsburgh
The Jets will have a very important decision to make on safety Marcus Maye this offseason. But even if they bring him back, they could use some additional safety depth behind Maye and 2020 third-round pick, Ashtyn Davis.
Pittsburgh’s Damar Hamlin is a low-ceiling, high-floor prospect who could provide that depth.
At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Hamlin isn’t going to blow scouts away with his athleticism. He doesn’t pack the punch that his fellow position-mates might and while improved in coverage, his lack of deep speed doesn’t do him any favors.
But at his core, Hamlin is an experienced, intelligent defender who is a sure tackler and can cover significant range despite his lack of speed/athleticism. He’s a quick processor who’s rarely out of position, even if his skill set is nothing special.
Hamlin projects as an ideal third safety with the tackling ability to make him a sound special-teamer. But if the Ashtyn Davis project doesn’t work out, Hamlin wouldn’t be a bad backup plan, even if he likely will never be a full-time starter.
Not a bad way to close out the draft by any means.