NY Jets connected to two mid-round 2021 NFL Draft prospects

NY Jets (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets are a little over two months away from the start of the 2021 NFL Draft. And as such, the rumors about which players the organization might target have already begun to emerge.

In recent days, the Jets have reportedly been connected to a pair of possible mid/late-round prospects.

Justin Melo of The Draft Network reported on Saturday that LSU safety/linebacker JaCoby Stevens mentioned that the Jets were one of the teams he felt he had a “great connection” with at the Senior Bowl.

Along with the Jets, Stevens noted that he had that connection with the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, and the Buffalo Bills.

Melo later reported that West Virginia defensive lineman Darius Stills had virtually met with the Jets as well as the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Chargers. Both Stevens and Stills are seen as Day 3 prospects ahead of this April’s draft.

Who are the NY Jets’ two rumored draft targets?

Stevens is a former five-star recruit who played both safety and wide receiver in high school. He actually played both positions in his freshman season before switching full-time to the defensive side of the ball.

While he never lived up to his five-star status, Stevens became a key cog in LSU’s defense earning second-team All-SEC in 2019 and helping lead his team to a national championship victory.

At 6-foot-1, 216 pounds, Stevens has great size and physicality for the position. He was actually listed at 230 pounds while at LSU but measured in nearly 15 pounds lighter at the Senior Bowl.

His lapses in coverage made worse by his subpar play speed and athleticism likely limit his NFL ceiling. But he’s a sure tackler who could play an important role on special teams.

At worst, he’s a developmental safety who could play in some sub-packages down near the line of scrimmage while doubling as a valuable special teams player.

The Draft Network currently has Stevens ranked as their No. 264 prospect which would make him a priority free agent. However, ESPN has him ranked as their No. 169 prospect which gives him a sixth-round grade.

As for Stills, the 22-year-old was a Consensus All-American in 2020 in his second year as a full-time starter. At 6-foot-1, 281 pounds, Stills would be an odd fit in Robert Saleh’s 4-3 defensive front.

He’s a little too large for a defensive end but undersized for a defensive tackle role. His best fit is as a three-technique if he could bulk up a little.

Nonetheless, his explosive first step is evident and he has an exceptional motor that allows him to generate interior pressure on a regular basis. If he could tighten up his run defense, Stills could develop into a quality rotational defensive lineman.

The Draft Network currently has Stills ranked as their 119th overall prospect (a fourth-round prospect) while ESPN has him unranked.

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It’s still early, but Stevens and Stills are two players to keep an eye on as we get closer to the draft.