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Jets Land Top-Ranked Safety, Wide Receiver in Mel Kiper Mock Draft

The New York Jets select Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton and USC wide receiver Drake London in the first round of this mock draft from ESPN insider Mel Kiper.

Mel Kiper Jr.'s first mock draft of 2022 is here.

Early on, there are no surprises. Kiper has the Jaguars picking Aidan Hutchinson first overall, the Lions snagging Kayvon Thibodeaux second and Evan Neal going to the Texans at No. 3.

That's when the Jets are on the clock for the first time, addressing one of their biggest weaknesses with the fourth overall selection:

4. New York Jets: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

The Jets had big defensive issues in Robert Saleh's first season as coach, from the front seven to the secondary. They didn't get after quarterbacks, and they couldn't cover pass-catchers, which is a recipe for another top-five draft pick. Hamilton would fill a void at safety, especially if Marcus Maye leaves in free agency. Six-foot-4, 220-pound Hamilton has rare traits for his size, and he can play in the box or as a center fielder (he had eight career interceptions for the Fighting Irish). He was one of the most versatile defenders in college football for the past three seasons. Hamilton played in only seven games in 2021 because of a knee injury, but I'm told he'll be ready to work out at the NFL combine in March. The Jets also pick at No. 10, and they could get help on offense there. — Kiper

There will be a crowd that isn't fond of the Jets picking a safety this high in the first round, but Hamilton appears to be the real deal. He has plenty of experience (31 career games at Notre Dame) and fits the mold of a versatile safety that can line up in different spots on defense, a player that Robert Saleh will love to inject into his secondary.

Remember, the Jets had the 32nd-ranked defense in the NFL this past season. New York could go cornerback, defensive end or linebacker here, but Kiper is giving them arguably the best player available. 

Hamilton ranks third on Pro Football Focus' big board for the 2022 NFL draft class. 

Now, on to the No. 10 pick...

10. New York Jets (via SEA): Drake London, WR, USC

Quarterback Zach Wilson had a rough rookie season, as the Jets finished near the bottom in most offensive statistics. So if I'm giving them defensive help with the No. 4 pick, let's give Wilson a target here, because his best pass-catchers in 2021 are all better out of the slot. Elijah Moore, Jamison Crowder and Braxton Berrios are good players, but they're never going to be down-the-field aerial threats.

London -- who is 6-foot-5 and also played on the USC basketball team -- has a chance to be a special outside receiver. He caught 88 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games this season. His record-breaking year ended in late October because of a fractured right ankle, but he is expected to be ready for the 2022 season. He can be Wilson's top target, giving the Jets a huge red zone threat. The Jets, by the way, also have an extra second-round pick from the Sam Darnold trade, and they could address the offensive line on Day 2 of the draft.

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Although we've seen plenty of mock drafts this offseason where Ohio State's Garrett Wilson is the first wideout off the board, USC's Drake London heads to the Jets at No. 10. This pick is identical to a recent PFF mock draft as well. 

As Kiper alluded to, London suffered a season-ending injury back in October. Clearly that hasn't impacted his stock entering the first round, though. Kiper has London as the WR1 of this draft class, a threat to make plays down the field and in the red zone, taking New York's wide receiver room to the next level. 

There are rumors swirling this week that the Jets may look to trade the 10th overall pick, seeking to acquire proven talent or move back in the first round, adding more draft capital. If they believe London has what it takes to be a No. 1 receiver at the next level, there's no need to mess with this pick. 

READ: Calvin Ridley to Jets? NFL Insider Predicts Falcons Star WR Will Be Traded

When it comes to other receivers, if you're curious, Kiper has Wilson going to the Browns at No. 13, the Eagles taking Chris Olave at No. 19 and Jameson Williams heading to New England 21st overall. 

Some other names that have been linked to the Jets, due to the Senior Bowl, don't make it to the second round in Kiper's mock. Wideout Jahan Dotson and tight end Trey McBride are both selected in the final few picks of the first round. That said, the order for those selections isn't set yet due to the postseason and are based on projections from ESPN's Football Power Index.

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