The 2022 NFL Draft is quickly approaching. This means that fans of the NY Jets are now closer than ever to what they hope is a transformational season.
While the opportunity for premium talent infusion is a source of hope for all 32 NFL franchises, the Jets are particularly invested in this draft.
New York holds two uber valuable assets in the No. 4 and No. 10 overall picks. Additionally, the club also holds picks No. 35 and No. 38 overall in the second round and No. 69 in the third. This gives the Jets two of the top ten and five of the top 70 selections.
In a recent mock draft, I projected the Jets would invest the No. 10 overall pick in a wide receiver, with hopes of finding their first elite talent at the position since Brandon Marshall in 2015.
The 2022 NFL Draft features a number of top pass-catching prospects who are all worthy of first-round consideration. College stars such as Jameson Williams (Alabama), Drake London (USC) Garrett Wilson (Ohio State), Chris Olave (Ohio State), and Treylon Burks (Arkansas) have all been given first-round grades.
Despite the parody at the position, one of these talents represents the safest bet for the Jets: Drake London. Here's why.
Drake London's ball skills
London's incredible ball skills set him apart from every other wide receiver in his class. Despite playing in only eight contests last season (before he was sidelined by an ankle injury), London still managed to record a ridiculous 19 contested catches. This mark led all of college football.
The USC star's 6-foot-4, 219-pound frame profiles him as a prototypical possession receiver. While this skill set is the polar opposite of players like Williams (see his profile here), it does provide clear value, particularly for a franchise seeking to develop a young quarterback in Zach Wilson.
While London may lack the elite speed to make him a consistent big-play threat, his size and leaping ability are proven assets that have allowed the receiver to draw comparisons to NFL legend Antonio Gates.
Wilson was forced to make do with subpar NFL position players in his rookie campaign. London would give him the first go-to option of his young professional career.
Imagine the benefit of throwing to a player who can always make himself open.
Drake London's pro comparisons
London's frame and skill set have drawn comparisons to several familiar names. Bleacher Report has written about the college star's similarities to Tampa Bay Buccanneers' Pro Bowler Mike Evans. This feels like an appropriate ceiling.
CBS Sports is also on record comparing London to former Lions Pro Bowler Kenny Golliday. Barring a major injury or catastrophe, this is an outstanding floor.
Both of these pro comps are solid. However, I would like to throw one additional name in for your consideration: former Dallas Cowboys great Dez Bryant.
I'll admit on the front end that London represents a slightly lesser version of Bryant, with his lack of top-tier speed and playmaking potential being the chief reason.
However, do you remember Bryant's ability to make plays at the goal line? Tony Romo and company would simply lob the ball to Dez's side of the field, trusting their best receiver to do what he did best: make plays.
Bryant was one of the most dangerous jump-ball specialists the league has ever seen. In red-zone situations when the field was shortest, the Cowboys would isolate Bryant on one side of the field, force a one-on-one situation, and reap the rewards and Bryant skied above his defender for touchdown after touchdown.
London brings this same sort of short-yardage ability to the table. He, combined with newcomer C.J. Uzomah, would give New York a duo of red-zone targets that could rival most tandems from other franchises.
Drake London is an ideal target for the NY Jets
While London may not bring the blazing speed of someone like Williams, the route-running crispness of Olave, or the YAC ability of Burks, the USC star represents the safest and most complete package of skills.
The decision will be tough, but, at the end of the day, I believe that Drake London is the player best suited for New York should his services be available at No. 10 overall.