The New York Jets finished the 2019 season at 7-9, extending their playoff drought to nine years. It was the team's first season under new head coach Adam Gase, and New York's 7-9 mark represented its best record since 2015.
There's reason for hope in quarterback Sam Darnold's development. The second-year gunslinger went 7-6 in his 13 starts, improving his passer rating from 77.6 his rookie year to 84.3 in 2019, raising his touchdown rate and lowering his interception rate in the process.
In 2019, the Jets' draft was headlined by its selection of defensive lineman Quinnen Williams with the No. 3 pick. Williams made nine starts his rookie season, notching 28 tackles with four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. The Jets also found value in the later rounds. Offensive tackle Chuma Edoga, tight end Trevon Wesco, linebacker Blake Cashman and cornerback Bless Austin—all taken between rounds three and six— combined to make 20 starts as rookies, with Edoga leading the group at eight.
According to The MMQB's AFC East team needs, the Jets might look to bolster their secondary with one of their early picks. Offensively, wide receiver is the most significant position of need. The departure of Robby Anderson to Carolina leaves New York with just two wide receivers on its roster that caught more than 30 passes for the team in 2019: Jamison Crowder (78 catches for 833 yards) and Demaryius Thomas (36 catches for 433 yards). This year's draft has plenty of potential top-tier wideouts, including Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb and Alabama products Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III.
The Jets are set to pick No. 11 in the first round. A full list of New York's picks will be updated below as the draft progresses.
Round 1, Pick 11 (No. 11 overall): Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Analysis from Andy Benoit: By the end of last season, the Jets were playing with four backup offensive linemen, and that lineup actually played better than the starting unit had played. The point? They need more O-line talent. Becton has that. He’s the largest man to enter the league since right tackle Trent Brown, who earned a $36.5 million guaranteed contract with the Raiders in 2019. He played left tackle at Louisville, and plugging him in there would let ex-Seahawk George Fant, who was signed for three years and $30 million ($13.7 million guaranteed), play right tackle, where he’s probably better suited. Becton might have some pass-blocking mechanics to clean up, but he should be a Day One starter. Grade: B+
Round 2, No. 59 overall: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Andy Benoit's analysis: On the rare snaps where Adam Gase’s scheme did not look to deliberately help its wide receivers through design, New York’s lack of perimeter talent and depth at this position was grossly exposed. And that was with a quality “X” receiver in Robby Anderson. Now Anderson is a Panther, leaving New York in need of a pure outside weapon to pair with newcomer Breshad Perriman. Mims gives Sam Darnold a well-sized target, though that target may need some refining in Year 1. Don’t be surprised if the Jets draft at this position again in the next few rounds. Grade: B+
Round 3, No. 68 overall: Ashtyn Davis, S, Cal
Andy Benoit's analysis: This pick might add to the speculation that Jamal Adams will eventually be traded since it is hard to immediately decipher where, exactly, Davis will play in New York’s defense. Adams is a first-class strong safety and Marcus Maye is a quality free safety. But Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has never hesitated to put extra defensive backs on the field, and given his predilection for playing Cover 2 out of so many different formats and disguises, having a third dynamic safety could be of real value. It’s also possible that the Jets have decided they’ll let Maye hit free agency after this season. He fits the profile of the free agent who gets away, as he’s not quite good enough to franchise tag but too good to re-sign at a team-friendly price. Grade: B
Round 3, No. 79 overall: Jabari Zuniga, DE, Florida
Andy Benoit's analysis: Our friend Greg Cosell has cited Zuniga as a possible dark horse star. He played several positions at Florida, flashing terrific explosiveness both outside and inside, particularly as a pass rusher. Many (including yours truly) felt before the draft that New York’s biggest need on defense was cornerback. But with the amount of Cover 2 the Jets play, their corners often have help….just as long as the pass rush can get there. Zuniga aids that. Grade: A
Round 4, No. 120 overall: La'Mical Perine, RB, Florida
Round 4, No. 125 overall: James Morgan, QB, Florida International
Round 4, No. 129 overall: Cameron Clarke, G, Charlotte
Round 5, No. 158 overall: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Round 6, No. 191 overall: Braden Mann, P, Texas A&M
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