The NY Jets have zeroed in on not only the position but the player that they will target with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Following the Sam Darnold trade, it seems obvious that Zach Wilson will be the pick at No. 2 overall.
Barring any last-minute shockers, Wilson will be the player the Jets target with their first pick in the draft. However, what comes next has been a constant topic of discussion.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper released his latest two-round mock draft on Tuesday and he, like everyone else, has the Jets taking Wilson second overall. After that, he had the Jets addressing both cornerback and running back at 23 and 34 respectively.
Kiper had the Jets taking Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II with the 23rd pick — a frequent projection — and Clemson running back Travis Etienne at 34.
Do Greg Newsome II and Travis Etienne make sense for the NY Jets?
Newsome’s name has commonly been connected with the Jets at pick 23 and it certainly seems reasonable that he will be a target for the team.
Nagging injuries prevented Newsome from reaching his full potential at Northwestern, but he’s been a fast-riser up draft boards this offseason and could be a perfect scheme fit in Robert Saleh’s defense.
Kiper had the following to say about Newsome in his mock.
“Newsome has been a riser over the past month; his 2020 tape is phenomenal, and he had a great pro day workout. He fits well with what [Robert] Saleh wants in his corners. Newsome is the last of four cornerbacks who I think are likely to go in Round 1.”
The Jets are in desperate need of cornerback help and most assume they will address the position on either Day 1 or Day 2 of the draft. Newsome could be an ideal target toward the end of Round 1.
Kiper then mocked a more controversial player to the Jets at 34 in Etienne. Etienne is widely viewed as one of the best running backs in this year’s class and it’s easy to see him having success in the NFL.
But there’s certainly an argument to be made for the Jets addressing more important positions first, such as the offensive line, before targeting a running back.
Given that the likes of Creed Humphrey, Landon Dickerson, Jalen Mayfield, and Liam Eichenberg were all still on the board in his mock, it would seem egregious for the Jets to ignore the offensive line for a running back.
In fact, somewhat amazingly, Kiper didn’t have Humphrey being selected at all in his two-round mock draft. That certainly seems unlikely.
Kiper had the following to say about his Etienne pick.
“Etienne is a home run hitter and all-around back, and like [Kadarius] Toney at No. 33, he’d help the rookie signal-caller. Etienne had 588 receiving yards last season. This finishes out the Jets’ projected two-round class with a quarterback, cornerback and running back. Edge rusher is another possibility.”
Again, it seems a little ridiculous that Kiper is suggesting both running back and edge rusher, but not even considering the idea of drafting an offensive lineman.
Nonetheless, Newsome is certainly a good pick at 23 even if the Etienne selection is questionable, to say the least.
The Jets have a lot of options they could explore in this year’s draft. And Kiper’s scenario is just one of the many different possibilities.