NY Jets land franchise LT in 7-round 2023 NFL Mock Draft
Round 4, 112th Overall, NY Jets: Zacch Pickens, iDL, South Carolina
Another underrated need for the Jets this offseason is defensive tackle. Sheldon Rankins, Solomon Thomas, and Nathan Shepherd are all free agents, leaving the Jets very thin at the position.
South Carolina's Zacch Pickens has the high-upside physical traits that warrant consideration early on Day 3. At 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, Pickens is an excellent athlete who was one of the highest-ranked recruits coming out of high school.
His production never quite matched his natural gifts at South Carolina, but he's someone I'd love to see in Robert Saleh's defense. Saleh's attacking 4-3 scheme could maximize Pickens' size and athleticism, giving the Jets an early-down rotational piece with three-down starter upside.
Pickens is probably a better run defender than a pass rusher right now, but if he could continue to develop his pass-rush arsenal, there is three-down potential here. His size and athleticism give him an excellent foundation to build upon.
Round 5, 145 Overall, NY Jets: Henry To'oTo'o, LB, Alabama
If Jordan Battle wasn't the leader of that Alabama defense, it's because Henry To'oTo'o was. A former Tennessee recruit, To'oTo'o completed a decorated college career with multiple All-SEC honors as a cornerstone of the Crimson Tide defense.
To'oTo'o is built like a modern-day NFL MIKE linebacker at 6-foot-2, 228 pounds. He's an ultra-reliable tackler, a high-IQ player in both run defense and pass coverage, and has more than enough lateral mobility.
His big issue right now pertains to getting off blocks and staying true to his gap assignments, but those are correctable deficiencies. I'd expect teams to start targeting To'oTo'o on Day 2, so landing him here in the fifth round is fantastic value.
To'oTo'o is a perfect player to develop as the Jets' MIKE linebacker of the future behind fellow Alabama alumnus, C.J. Mosley. I like Jamien Sherwood, but I think To'oTo'o has more upside to his game as a three-down starter.