Round 1, 4th Overall, NY Jets: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
It's no surprise that the NY Jets need a cornerback — and bad.
Entering 2021, their number one corner will likely be second-year corner Bryce Hall. A talented young player, but it is up in the air if he can take the reigns of being a true number one corner.
While there are also some talented rookies looking to make a name for themselves, such as undrafted free agent Isaiah Dunn, cornerback is the biggest remaining need for the Jets.
As for the selection Derek Stingley is widely regarded as the best cornerback in the draft. Stingley came onto the scene at LSU as a true freshman and impressed immediately. In his first season, he was named an All-Pro, and is already a two-time first-team All-SEC player.
Stingley brings his 6-foot height to the table, as well as his willingness to contest a the catch and makes plays on passes. He doesn't shy away from tackles, and has the speed to keep pace with receivers.
Granted, he's not perfect.
DeVonta Smith wasn't exactly kind to him in their meeting in the 2020 season, but the potential he has is certainly worth the fourth overall selection. If there is a coach that can help him iron out his game, it's Robert Saleh.
Round 1, 23rd Overall, NY Jets: Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
As negotiations with Marcus Maye seem to have stagnated, it seems unlikely for him to reach a long-term deal to stay in New York.
If Maye walks next offseason, and Ashtyn Davis doesn't develop as planned, the Jets could be in a really bad spot at the safety position. Even the acquisition of Lamarcus Joyner in free agency is little more than slapping a band-aid over the situation.
For Jordan Battle, it would be a perfect fit for the Jets. Battle is a very physical safety, playing hard against the run and blitzing the quarterback when called upon. In coverage, he is an ideal matchup for any slot routes, and can occasionally keep pace with tight ends if needed.
Drafting Battle would basically be the Jamal Adams replacement, except the Jets would be bringing in a safety with hands.
Where the 2021 draft class was heavily focused on the abysmal offense, this version of the 2022 draft will be set on fixing up the secondary. Battle could provide a big play, big hit style player with ferocity that the Jets have needed in coverage.
He's athletic and a bit raw, but could prove to be a headache whenever somebody tries to run the ball.