NY Jets: 4 mid-round pass-rushers to target in the 2021 NFL Draft

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports /
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NY Jets (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

4. NY Jets draft target: Jordan Smith, EDGE, UAB

If you’re looking for upside and natural gifts in the middle of the draft, look no further than former UAB star Jordan Smith.

A four-star recruit out of high school, Smith originally committed to play at Florida before being dismissed from the program following the 2017 season after using a stolen credit card to pay for school and rent supplies.

Smith spent a year at Butler Community College in Kansas before transferring to UAB in 2019. And in two years at UAB, he managed to lead the team in both sacks and tackles for loss in each season.

At 6-foot-6, 255 pounds, Smith has excellent size and length for the position. He’s a naturally twitched-up athlete with a quick first step and long strides that allow him to turn the corner with ease.

He played predominantly a stand-up SAM role at UAB, but has the size (and also moderate experience) to play with his hand in the dirt in the pros making him a scheme-versatile prospect.

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Of course, there will be questions about his maturity after he was dismissed from Florida back in 2017. For what it’s worth, however, his coaches at UAB did say that he grew into a leadership role in his senior season.

He’s still a bit raw and will need time to further learn the nuances of the position — he plays a little too upright and struggles when facing powerful tackles. And the fact that he’s already 23-years-old certainly won’t help matters.

But Smith is your classic mid-round swing at edge rusher. A player who has all the physical tools to be a dominant player at his position, but still needs more refinement.

That’s the type of player that general manager Joe Douglas could take a chance on, provided that he isn’t concerned about Smith’s prior legal issues.

Next: 3. Payton Turner