NY Jets help Aaron Rodgers in post-trade 7-round 2023 NFL Mock Draft
By Justin Fried
Round 5, 170th Overall, NY Jets: Jason Taylor II, S, Oklahoma State
The Jets already addressed the safety position when they traded for former Baltimore Ravens defensive leader Chuck Clark last month. They might not be done adding to the position, however.
Clark and Jordan Whitehead are currently penciled in as the team's starting safeties, but both players are at their best near the line of scrimmage in prototypical box safety roles.
Ideally, the Jets could add a more natural free safety early in the draft and potentially even consider cutting Whitehead to save cap space. Unfortunately, this is not a very good safety class.
One Day 3 option that could make some sense, though, is Oklahoma State's Jason Taylor II. Taylor was a two-year starter at Oklahoma State who earned first-team All-Big 12 honors in 2022 — the same year he led his team in tackles and led the Big 12 in interceptions.
Taylor has impressive speed for the safety position, having run a 4.50 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He paired that with a 43-inch vertical jump which ranks in the 99th percentile among all safeties in Combine history.
That speed helps him cover a tremendous amount of ground in the defensive backfield, and it allowed him to be used as a single-high safety quite a bit at Oklahoma State.
He tends to be a bit overaggressive, having missed a whopping 17 tackles last season, and those overaggressive tendencies show up in coverage as well. Still, he has natural instincts for the position and can develop into a future starter.
Taylor could compete for snaps as a rookie and contribute on special teams, making him a similar project to someone like Tony Adams. In a weak safety class, Taylor is one of my preferred targets for the Jets.