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The NY Jets are set for what should be one of the most exciting and eventful offseasons in recent memory. With the rumors surrounding Sam Darnold and the quarterback position, it’s unclear how the Jets will plan to attack the next few months.
In reality, general manager Joe Douglas has somewhat of a blank canvas in front of him.
With close to $100 million in cap space and an exuberant amount of draft capital, Douglas has the assets necessary to completely turn the organization around this offseason.
And given the sheer numbers of different scenarios the Jets could explore — both at the quarterback position and elsewhere — it’s impossible to predict just how this offseason will go.
That said, we could give it our best shot.
The Jets are set to have nine picks total in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. But there’s a chance they could end up with more if a certain player is traded. That’s what happened in our latest seven-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
In this scenario, the Jets trade Darnold to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for the No. 28 overall pick. A number of different teams will be interested, but this trade and package seems relatively reasonable and aligns with recent rumors.
Assuming they don’t then use some of that draft capital to trade for Deshaun Watson, the Jets will have a ridiculous amount of ammunition to do some major damage in this year’s draft.
With an extra first-round pick in their back pocket, how did the Jets fare in our scenario? Using The Draft Network’s Mock Machine, let’s take a look at our latest seven-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
Next: 1. Sam Darnold's replacement
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Round 1, 2nd Overall, NY Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Welcome Sam Darnold’s replacement. The Jets opt to address quarterback immediately and replace Darnold with BYU star Zach Wilson over the likes of Justin Fields and Trey Lance.
Few players in recent memory have matched the meteoric rise that Wilson saw in 2020. Seen as nothing more than a fringe college starter entering the year, Wilson broke out and became one of the nation’s top quarterbacks by the season’s end.
He finished his junior season with 33 touchdowns, three interceptions, and 3,692 passing yards in 12 games. Wilson completed over 73 percent of his passes and led his team to an 11-1 record and a victory in the Boca Raton Bowl.
By all accounts, Wilson is a phenomenal quarterback prospect. He’s an excellent athlete with great escapability that allows him to not only serve as a threat in the running game, but allows him to extend plays in the passing game.
The 21-year-old has superb arm talent and throws with elite timing and anticipation. In terms of raw talent, Wilson is one of the most impressive quarterbacks we’ve seen come out in recent years.
There will be concerns about his prior injury history and slight frame, although he stayed healthy in 2020. Wilson is by no means a can’t-miss prospect, but he would probably be QB1 in a normal year.
Throw in his schematic fit in offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s system and you have an excellent quarterback prospect who can help usher in a new era of Jets football.
Next: 2. An exciting offensive playmaker
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Round 1, 23rd Overall, NY Jets: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
After drafting a new quarterback with their first pick, the Jets immediately get him some help in the form of the electric Kadarius Toney.
Toney is another player who has skyrocketed up draft boards following a breakout 2020 campaign. Seen as little more than a gadget offensive playmaker before the season, Toney proved that he could be a legitimate starting wide receiver this year.
The perfect incarnation of a human joystick, Toney possesses unbelievable agility and elusiveness that make him as dangerous after the catch as any player in college football.
Whether being used as a decoy motion man or as the primary target, Toney’s presence is always felt when he’s on the field. Defenses have to respect his speed and lightning-quick feet that make him a threat with or without the ball in his hands.
His ceiling as a route-runner might be curbed as he ran a limited route tree at Florida. Plus his lack of size makes him more of a slot threat in the NFL than a true outside receiver.
But Toney is as exciting as they come and showed in 2020 that he’s more than just a gadget player. Imagine Toney tearing it up in a Mike LaFleur offense.
The Jets might not be able to pass if he’s on the board at pick No. 23.
Next: 3. The Sam Darnold trade return
Round 1, 28th Overall, NY Jets: Wyatt Davis, iOL, Ohio State
The Sam Darnold trade netted the Jets the No. 28 overall pick in the draft and they opted to continue beefing up the offensive side of the ball by selecting Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis.
Davis is one of the most well-rounded and talented interior offensive line prospects in this class. And to be honest, we were pretty lucky to find him still on the board with this pick.
A plug-and-play starter at the next level, the 2020 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year has the raw power and athleticism necessary to be an All-Pro down the line. But he combines that with NFL-ready technique and polish that makes him a top-tier guard prospect.
While he’s probably a better fit in an inside zone run offense, Davis has the athleticism to be scheme versatile in the NFL. That means that Davis should still fit just fine in a LaFleur offense that focuses more on outside zone techniques.
The Jets realistically need to upgrade all three interior offensive line spots, but at the very least, the guard position will be a priority this offseason. Davis could immediately slot in as Greg Van Roten’s replacement at right guard from day one.
With Davis and 2020 first-rounder Mekhi Becton, the Jets would have two high-upside, long-term starters on the offensive line. The offensive line rebuild is officially in full swing.
Next: 4. An athletic pass-rusher
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Round 2, 34th Overall, NY Jets: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Jets are desperate for edge rush help. That’s been the case for what feels like the better part of the last two decades and it hasn’t changed in recent years.
Expect the Jets to look to upgrade the position in free agency, but Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari is someone Jets fans should keep an eye on either at the end of Round 1 or early in Round 2.
At just 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, Ojulari isn’t exactly a perfect fit in Robert Saleh’s defense. Ojulari would probably be best served as a pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebacker, even despite his length.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t still be a very productive player for the Jets.
A true pass-rush specialist, Ojulari has a natural twitch about him that he combines with an excellent first step and an unrelenting motor. He has the upside of an annual 10+ sack player at the next level.
While not the greatest run defender, his motor and surprising power makes him passable with the potential to get even better. That’s especially true if he could add some more weight to his frame.
There’s even a chance that the Jets could look to deploy Ojulari as a weakside, off-ball linebacker in some fronts given his athleticism and experience dropping back into coverage.
Ojulari is a talented chess piece for Saleh’s defense and someone who could instantly boost the Jets pass-rush.
Next: 5. Two defensive scheme fits
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Round 3, 66th Overall, NY Jets: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
The Jets need cornerback help, and ideally, we would have liked to address it before the beginning of the third round. But the options just didn’t present themselves.
So eyeing an upgrade at the position, we chose to take a high-upside player in Georgia’s Tyson Campbell.
At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, Campbell has the size and length that scouts dream of at the cornerback position. He’s an excellent athlete with great short-area quickness that gives him elite upside.
However, he never quite reached his ceiling at Georgia as his mental lapses and poor situational awareness came back to bite his team from time to time. But the talent is there, he just needs to put it all together.
Joe Douglas is someone who notoriously favors traits over polishness as evidenced by the selections of guys like Mekhi Becton, Denzel Mims, and Ashtyn Davis a year ago. Campbell certainly fits that bill.
The 20-year-old is at his best when playing off-zone coverage where he could use his length and quickness to the best of his ability. Fortunately for him, Robert Saleh runs plenty of off-zone coverage in his Cover-3-heavy scheme.
Campbell makes sense for the Jets even if he’s not a bonafide day one starter.
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Round 3, 86th Overall, NY Jets: Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston
Given the Jets’ switch to a 4-3 base defense, the team will need to find players who could comfortably fill that 4-3 defensive end role. And Houston’s Payton Turner is someone who could do that.
Despite originally coming to Houston as a 215-pound fringe defensive lineman, Turner bulked up to around 290 pounds at a point before settling at 270 in his senior season.
At 6-foot-5, 270 pounds, Turner has the size to fill in as a base 4-3 end on early downs before shifting inside as an interior rusher on third down. Because of that, he has three-down potential at the NFL level.
Turner has the length and physicality you look for in a Day 2 front-seven prospect and has upside as both a pass-rusher and run-defender. But to fully reach his ceiling as a rusher, he’ll need to work on developing more variety in his pass-rush plan.
Nonetheless, Turner could be an immediate contributor in the defensive line rotation with the potential to be a long-term starter down the line.
Next: 6. Two future offensive starters
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Round 4, 106th Overall, NY Jets: James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati
It’s likely that the Jets stick with incumbent right tackle George Fant in 2021 after a 2020 season that exceeded the expectations of many. But it’s clear that Fant isn’t the long-term answer at the position.
And it’s also clear that 2019 third-round pick Chuma Edoga is on his last leg with the organization. For that reason, it might make sense to target Fant’s eventual replacement in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Cincinnati’s James Hudson fits the bill of a developmental tackle prospect who has the base skill set to be a solid starter, but needs some work first.
Hudson’s blend of size, power, and athleticism gives him high-end starter potential, but he’s still understandably raw at his position. A former four-star defensive line recruit, Hudson transition to the offensive side of the ball at Michigan before transferring to Cincinnati.
His footwork and hand technique definitely need developing, but his mobility gives him a high ceiling in an outside-zone run offense like Mike LaFleur’s.
Ideally, he can sit behind Fant for a year before taking over as the starter in 2022.
Round 5, 145th Overall, NY Jets: Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
The Jets will also need to figure out a plan for their backfield in 2021. The likes of Ty Johnson, La’Mical Perine, and Josh Adams should all return, but it’s likely the team adds a veteran in free agency to complement them.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t still target a running back in the draft as well.
If they do, someone like Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard makes sense as a Day 3 prospect. Don’t expect the Jets to spend a premium draft pick on a running back, but Hubbard is someone they could target later in the draft.
One of the most prolific running backs in Oklahoma State history, Hubbard is a patient runner who has good vision and athleticism. He isn’t the fastest player in his class, but he more than enough speed to pull away in the open field.
Hubbard is at his best in a zone scheme where he could put his above-average vision and one-cut ability to full use. However, his biggest weakness comes with his inexperience as a pass catcher and his below-average pass blocking.
That could limit him to first and second down early in his NFL career, but he could still be more than serviceable in a committee. And that’s exactly where the Jets would look to use him.
Next: 7. A pair of super athletes
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Round 5, 154th Overall, NY Jets: Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn
The Jets need speed on offense, especially if they’re to maximize the potential of a Mike LaFleur offensive scheme. And if you’re looking for speed, look no further than Auburn’s Anthony Schwartz.
A dynamic downfield threat, Schwartz takes the term “track speed” literally. The Florida native is a gold-medal-winning sprinter who has excelled just as much (if not more) in track and field as he has on the gridiron.
His explosive speed makes him a home-run threat on any given play, even if he isn’t the most versatile receiver. He’ll likely never be the most complete player at his position and he’s probably better off in the slot early on.
That said, you can’t teach Schwartz’s speed and when combined with his toughness and surprising physicality, you get a player who can be an immediate replacement for Breshad Perriman and someone who changes the complexion of the Jets offense.
Adding Kadarius Toney and Anthony Schwartz in the same draft would be a scary sight for opposing defenses.
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Round 6, 196th Overall, NY Jets: Garret Wallow, LB, TCU
One of the least-discussed needs for the Jets this offseason is at the off-ball linebacker position, specifically at weakside linebacker. While second-round pick Azeez Ojulari could fill that role in a pinch, we opted to select a more natural fit here in Round 6.
TCU’s Garret Wallow is a Day 3 prospect who has the athletic upside to carve out a role in today’s NFL. He’s undersized at just 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, but Wallow is an excellent athlete with standout coverage skills.
A former safety, Wallow has shown good awareness in zone coverage and the stickiness to match up with tight ends in man. And he’s far from a poor tackler either with the power to pack a punch with his hits.
That said, he’s still relatively raw at the position and consistently struggles to shed blocks, hence why he’ll likely be available this late.
But if he could add some weight to his frame, Wallow has legitimate starting potential. Linebackers who can cover are at a premium in today’s NFL and Wallow can do that with the best of them.
The TCU product could immediately compete for time at weakside linebacker and play a vital role on special teams early in his career. Not a bad player to land at the beginning of the sixth round.