NY Jets make confusing pick in 2018 re-draft

NY Jets, Daron Payne
NY Jets, Daron Payne / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NFL Draft isn't exactly one NY Jets fans will look back fondly on. The team paid a hefty price to trade up and select USC quarterback Sam Darnold with the third overall pick.

Darnold had his share of flashes during his three years in New York, but his time with the Jets ultimately has to be seen as a failure. It's safe to say that if the team had the chance to do it all again, they'd go in a different direction.

That was the scenario laid out by Bleacher Report's Gary Davenport in a recent article. Davenport went through and redrafted the entire 2018 NFL Draft. Needless to say, the Jets went in a different direction.

With Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson both off the board, the Jets selected future Pro Bowl defensive tackle Daron Payne with the third overall pick. Payne is an excellent player, but most would probably agree that there were better players still on the board.

The NY Jets should not select Daron Payne in a 2018 re-draft

Payne is coming off a career year in 2022 that saw him finish with 11.5 sacks en route to being named to his first Pro Bowl. The former Alabama standout was a legitimate star this past season, but he also never finished with more than five sacks in a season before 2022.

In fact, if not for his breakout 2022 season, there were legitimate questions about whether the Washington Commanders would extend him or not.

This isn't to say that Payne is not a great young player, but there might have been better options available. Players like Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner, or even Indianapolis Colts offensive guard Quenton Nelson would likely be better picks.

Others such as Roquan Smith, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Mark Andrews, and even Nick Chubb could have been considered, although position value was certainly a factor.

Personally, Alexander or Warner would probably be my pick. Warner is hands down the best linebacker in football, even if this re-draft shockingly had him drafted after Roquan Smith. Meanwhile, Alexander remains one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.

Of course, the Jets would love to snag a quarterback here, but unless they're going to roll with Baker Mayfield or Mike White, that's not really an option.

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The Jets would love the opportunity to rethink their 2018 first-round pick. I'm just not sure Payne would be the best choice.