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Round 3, 86th Overall, NY Jets: Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina
The Jets are unlikely to spend a premium pick on a running back, but they could start exploring the market as early as Round 3. And if so, one of their best options would be to target North Carolina’s Michael Carter.
Alongside Javonte Williams, Carter formed college football’s most dynamic backfield with the latter topping 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons. Carter rushed for 1,245 yards in 2020 on a whopping 8.0 yards per carry which was among the best in the FBS.
At just 5-foot-7, 201 pounds, Carter is never going to be a three-down running back in the pros. But in an NFL that continues to trend away from such a role, Carter is a perfect fit as part of a committee.
He’s an excellent pass-catcher, explosive outside runner, and has superb vision. In other words, a perfect fit for new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s offense.
Round 4, 107th Overall, NY Jets: Kendrick Green, iOL, Illinois
After addressing the interior offensive line at the top of Round 2, we doubled up on the position taking Illinois guard/center Kendrick Green here in Round 4.
Green was a three-year starter at Illinois who started all 12 games at left guard as a redshirt freshman despite spending his entire first year on campus as a defensive lineman.
He went on to start 33 consecutive games, 29 of which coming at left guard while the other four were at center. Green is one of the more athletic linemen in this class with quick feet and ample lateral mobility.
The 22-year-old won’t be a perfect fit in every scheme given that he tends to struggle against the bull-rush — he might have a tough time in a power-based blocking scheme.
However, in LaFleur’s zone-blocking scheme, Green would be an ideal fit as a developmental starter with the potential to compete for reps in his rookie season.
Round 5, 146th Overall, NY Jets: Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas
Jaelon Darden is one of the most exciting players in this year’s class. At only 5-foot-7, 174 pounds, he will undoubtedly be overlooked by NFL teams looking for big-bodied, physical receivers.
But if you’re looking for explosiveness, elusiveness, and YAC ability, look no further than Darden.
Darden has quick feet that allow him to explode off the line of scrimmage and out of his breaks. And once you get the ball in his hands, few have the ability to do more after the catch.
Only two players finished the 2020 season with more yards after the catch — Alabama’s Devonta Smith and Clemson’s Amari Rodgers. Darden is reminiscent of a young Jakeem Grant given his size, explosiveness, and quick feet.
The Houston native could be used as depth receiver early on with the potential to take over for Jamison Crowder in the slot in the future.
At the very least, there may be no better fit for him in the NFL than in a Kyle Shanahan-inspired offense.
Next: 4. Two developmental defenders and a familiar face