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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 after the team traded away Sam Darnold.
Below, we look at a full seven-round New York Jets mock draft with one notable trade. 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.
- NY Jets trade 23rd pick to the Los Angeles Chargers for 47th pick, 77th pick, 2022 second-round pick
NY Jets mock draft: Early-round picks
First round: Zach Wilson, quarterback, BYU
This is the obvious clear choice. NFL rumors pointed in the direction of New York moving off Sam Darnold after three substandard seasons. That came to fruition with a blockbuster trade to the Carolina Panthers earlier in April.
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.
Second round: Caleb Farley, cornerback, Virginia Tech
Prior to dealing with a recent back injury, Farley was considered a potential top-10 pick and the consensus No. 1 cornerback in the draft. The 6-foot-2 cover guy dominated opposing wide receivers during his days with the Hokies and is a perfect fit in Robert Saleh’s defensive scheme.
As for the Jets’ need at cornerback, they have been linked to free agent Richard Sherman. He could act as a huge veteran presence for Farley and enable the young cornerback to take it slowly as he transitions to the NFL and recovers from his most-recent injury. It almost makes too much sense.
Second round: Elijah Moore, wide receiver, Mississippi
The signings of Corey Davis and Keenan Cole will help New York at wide receiver moving forward. With that said, the Jets are still in need of a true slot receiver in an offense led by coordinator Mike LaFleur that relies on that position big time.
Moore (5-foot-9) would be just that. He was a dynamic playmaker against elite-level SEC competition for Mississippi last season, recording 86 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns. Moore’s skill-set compares favorably to Brandon Aiyuk, who starred with LaFleur in San Francisco as a rookie last season.
New York Jets mock draft: Mid-round picks
Third round: Trey Smith, guard, Tennessee
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
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.
Third round: Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh
The Jets signed Carl Lawson and are taking a chance on free-agent signing Vinny Curry to help at the all-important edge rush position. With that said, they still need another dynamic player on the outside in a Saleh defense that relies a ton of pass rush from out on the edge.
At 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, Weaver’s frame is almost identical to that of Nick Bosa in San Francisco. While he’s not the same type of generational defensive end, Weaver’s production at Pitt speaks for itself. He recorded 28 tackles for loss and 14 sacks in his final two seasons with the Panthers.
Third round: Nico Collins, wide receiver, Michigan
New York opts to team Elijah Moore up with a big-bodied pass catcher in Nico Collins. Add Denzel Mims, Keenan Cole and Corey 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.
Fourth round: Adrian Ealy, offensive tackle, Oklahoma
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
- Fifth round: Monty Rice, linebacker, Georgia
- Fifth round: Daelin Hayes, EDGE, Notre Dame
- Sixth round: JaCoby Stevens, safety, LSU
- Sixth round: Ben Mason, fullback, Michigan
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.