New York Jets mock draft: Full seven-rounder with trades

By Vincent Frank

The New York Jets will be selecting No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. By now, it’s pretty clear that they will take BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with that selection. This also means Sam Darnold could be on his way out of town.

Below, we look at a full seven-round New York Jets mock draft with two notable trades. Keep in mind that this mock is being conducted under the guise of the Pro Football Network simulator. In no way does this mean all of these players will be available when the Jets are slated to pick in late April.

Trades

  • NY Jets trade 23rd pick to the Los Angeles Chargers for 47th pick, 77th pick, 2022 second-round pick
  • NY Jets trade Sam Darnold to the San Francisco 49ers for third-round pick in 2021 and conditional pick in 2022
Who will be the best QB from the 2021 NFL Draft?

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NY Jets mock draft: Early-round picks

First round: Zach Wilson, quarterback, BYU

New York Jets mock draft: Zach Wilson
Oct 31, 2020; Provo, UT, USA; BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) throws against Western Kentucky in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Provo, Utah. Mandatory Credit: Rick Bowmer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

This is the obvious clear choice. NFL rumors are pointing in the direction of New York moving off Sam Darnold after three substandard season. In fact, those in the know believe it’s a 90% certainty that happens. It makes sense with general manager Joe Douglas and new head coach Robert Saleh having no built-in relationship with Darnold.

As for Wilson, the 6-foot-3 quarterback is ascending the draft board in a big way after putting up 43 total touchdowns against three interceptions for BYU a season ago. He’s even drawn comparisons to Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray. If Wilson comes close to reaching that ceiling, an innovative offensive mind in coordinator Mike LaFleur will have a beautiful toy to play with. Heck, Wilson will likely be the Week 1 starter.

Read More: 2021 NFL mock draft: Surprising top-five picks, New England Patriots land franchise quarterback

Second round: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (F)

New York Jets mock draft: Jaelan Phillips
September 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Jaelan Phillips (15) reacts after a defensive play against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Even after signing Carl Lawson, we fully expect Jets general manager Joe Douglas to get his new defensive-minded head coach some more talent on the line. That could include chasing after the Jets’ version of Nick Bosa, which is something we know Robert Saleh wants.

In Phillips, New York would actually be acquiring a player that has almost the same exact frame as Bosa when he came out of Ohio State. The former UCLA and Miami (F) star was also dominant for the Hurricanes in 2020, racking up 15.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 10 games. As with Wilson, he’d also be an immediate starter for a rebuilt Jets team heading into the 2021 season. Not too shabby for two first-round picks.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Jets, check out #TakeFlight rumors, rankings, and news here.

Second round: Asante Samuel Jr., cornerback, Florida State

New York Jets mock draft
Florida State Seminoles defensive back Asante Samuel Jr. (26) after Clemson does not complete the pass as the Florida State Seminoles take on the Clemson Tigers in college football at Doak S. Campbell Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. Fsu Vs Clemson1011a

At 5-foot-10, Samuel doesn’t seem like a natural fit in Saleh’s scheme. Dating back to his days with the Seahawks, Jaguars and 49ers, the defensive-minded head coach prefers physical and bigger corners. With that said, the former Florida State standout would simply be too hard for New York to pass up on here.

The son of another former Pro Bowler, Samuel Jr. boasts similar upside. He’s an absolute ball hawk in the secondary and boasts tremendous pro-level instincts in the defensive secondary. Here’s a dude who recorded three interceptions despite not being targeted a lot a season ago. He could potentially be the Day 1 starter in the slot. That’s tremendous value on Day 2.

Read More: 5 ideal Sam Darnold trade scenarios

New York Jets mock draft: Mid-round picks

Third round: Trey Smith, guard, Tennessee

New York Jets mock draft: Trey Smith, Tennessee
Sep 21, 2019; Gainesville, FL, USA;Tennessee Volunteers offensive lineman Trey Smith (73) blocks during the first quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With Alex Lewis and Greg Van Roten currently slated to be starters, these Jets need at least one guard rather early in the 2021 NFL Draft. That doesn’t change after they signed former Chargers early-round pick Dan Feeney in free agency.

In fact, there’s a chance that Feeney could join an unnamed rookie as starters for an offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur whose scheme relies heavily on protection along the interior of the offensive line. That’s where Smith comes into play. Considered the top interior line prospect heading into his senior season, Smith is already fundamentally sound. He displayed that during the Senior Bowl. He’s also a tremendous scheme fit.

Third round: Kenneth Gainwell, running back, Memphis

New York Jets mock draft: Kenneth Gainwell
Dec 28, 2019; Arlington, Texas, USA; Memphis Tigers running back Kenneth Gainwell (19) runs the ball against Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Cam Brown (6) in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Adding Tevin Coleman to the Jets’ unheralded backfield does absolutely nothing to change what they need at running back moving forward. Simply put, Joe Douglas needs to find that running back of the future to team up with Wilson and excel in LaFleur’s running-back friendly scheme.

A fast-rising star out of Memphis, Gainwell is an ideal fit. Prior to opting out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 5-foot-11, 191-pound back dominated to the tune of 2,069 yards and 16 touchdowns for Memphis. He also caught an eye-opening 51 passes, which is a need in the Jets’ offense. It just makes too much sense.

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Third round: Dyami Brown, wide receiver, North Carolina

New York Jets mock draft: Dyami Brown
Nov 27, 2020; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Dyami Brown (2) as Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback TaRiq Bracy (28) defends in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Just look at how Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk have performed under Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. His former passing-game coordinator in San Francisco is going to want the same with the Jets. The 6-foot-1 Brown could very well be that. He’s dynamic after the catch as evidenced by the fact that the North Carolina product averaged at least 20 yards per reception in each of his final two seasons with the Tar Heels.

“Brown is a terrific athlete and vertical route-runner that excels at getting deep where his burst to the football and ball skills led to big plays down the field,” The Draft Network noted in its profile of Brown.

Obviously, that’s going to be a major need with the Jets. They boast a possession receiver in the recently-signed Corey Davis and another big body in Denzel Mims. Brown would do so well as another piece to go with that duo. Hence, why this New York Jets mock draft has them going in that direction.

Third round: Nico Collins, wide receiver, Michigan

New York Jets mock draft: Nico Collins
Jan 26, 2021; Mobile, Alabama, USA; National wide receiver Nico Collins of Michigan (4) grabs a pass in drills during National team practice during the 2021 Senior Bowl week. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

With the pick acquired in the hypothetical Sam Darnold trade, New York doubles down at wide receiver. This time, it teams Brown up with a big-bodied pass catcher in Nico Collins. Add in the above-mentioned Mims and Davis, and that’s an elite-level wide receiver group in Jersey.

Collins (6-foot-4) joined the Gainwell in opting out of the 2020 season due to the pandemic. Back in 2019, he tallied 37 receptions for 729 yards and seven touchdowns in a Michigan offense that was run-heavy under Jim Harbaugh. He has excellent ball skills and is already a pro-ready route runner. This would be an ideal pick at the end of Round 3.

Read More: New York Jets draft picks: Top 2021 selections, ideal prospects to target

Fourth round: Adrian Ealy, offensive tackle, Oklahoma

New York Jets mock draft: Adrian Ealy
Dec 28, 2019; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Adrian Ealy (59) reacts during the first quarter of the 2019 Peach Bowl college football playoff semifinal game against the LSU Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

You didn’t think we would forget about the all-important tackle position in this version of our New York Jets mock draft, did you? Good, you weren’t mistaken. Coming over from San Francisco with Saleh, new Jets offensive line coach John Benton relies on more athleticism out on the edge in his zone-blocking scheme.

At 326 pounds, Ealy would provide that athleticism. He has a big 6-foot-4 frame, but weighs just 326 pounds. It’s going to be all about increasing his playing strength, making Ealy a developmental right tackle project. That’s not bad value in the fourth round for New York.

New York Jets mock draft: Late-round picks

New York Jets mock draft: Monty Rice
Oct 10, 2020; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Monty Rice (32) reacts with fans and teammates after causing a fumble and returning it for a touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
  • Fifth round: Monty Rice, linebacker, Georgia
  • Fifth round: Daelin Hayes, EDGE, Notre Dame
  • Sixth round: JaCoby Stevens, safety, LSU

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Bottom line

As you can see, there’s a nice mixture of talent heading to Jersey in this New York Jets mock draft. They close it out with three defenders, all of which seem to be scheme fits.

A talented player during his time with Georgia, Rice could potentially slide into the Dre Greenlaw role with the Jets. Hayes is that bigger-bodied defensive end that has worked well with Saleh in the past. Meanwhile, Stevens could initially be a special teams player before potentially seeing action at strong safety next to Marcus Maye.

However, this mock is all about giving the Jets weapons on offense and finding players that fit Robert Saleh’s expert-level defense to a T. We think they would accomplish that if this came to fruition.