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Can Jets Draft Pick Max Mitchell Protect Zach Wilson?

This former Jets scout evaluates New York's fourth-round pick Max Mitchell.

The Jets are paper thin at offensive tackle headed into the 2022 NFL season. 

Gone is veteran offensive tackle Morgan Moses, and the only response New York’s General Manager Joe Douglas had, was selecting right tackle Max Mitchell in the fourth-round of this year’s draft. 

The Jets’ hopes are hanging by a thread with two starting offensive tackles (George Fant and Mekhi Becton) coming off knee surgeries. 

Douglas seemed comfortable with that and he added no additional depth at offensive tackle in free agency or in the first three-rounds of the draft.

Instead, Douglas’ only response to Moses’ departure in free agency was selecting Mitchell in the fourth-round out of Louisiana of Lafayette. 

Will Mitchell be able to fill in if needed and keep the third-most sacked quarterback in the league last year (Zach Wilson) upright? 

No. 

Why?

Because of what Mitchell showed on game film in 2020 and 2021 for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

There are things to like about Mitchell, so the allure makes sense to a degree, but not in the fourth-round.

If I was looking at Mitchell pre-draft, I would have put a 5-7 round grade on him. 

Douglas reached. 

I also would have projected him to guard in the NFL if I had been a scout sitting in the pre-draft meetings with the Jets this year. 

Mitchell has a lot of the attributes anyone would want in a guard, but not in a right tackle. 

Never mind left tackle. 

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New York better keep their fingers crossed Becton shows a miraculous resurrection in his career, because if not, Wilson will be running for his life if it comes down to Mitchell starting in his place. 

Mitchell will give it everything he has to give. I do not doubt that. 

It just will not be good enough, not with the list of pass rushers on the Jets’ upcoming schedule. 

Grading Max Mitchell

6-foot-6, 297 pounds 

2021 Louisiana of Lafayette game film reviewed: Appalachian State and Texas 

2020: Louisiana of Lafayette game film reviewed: Iowa State 

Grade: C - (average; nothing special about the player) 

Scouting Report

Big frame physical try hard who uses his hands well but lacks athleticism, coordination, balance, lateral foot speed and techniques to defend the perimeter effectively enough at the NFL level. Looked like a big fish in a small pond in college. Pass blocks like a run mauler. Street fighter with strong upper body strength, but relies too much on that. Pushes, shoves and isn’t always pretty. Was able to use his size to to shield the pocket when lightly challenged in pass protection. Tendency to stop sliding his feet, waist bend and open the back gate when overmatched with speed. Also can overextend and lose back to the inside. Can look out of control at times. Compensated by battling with top shelf effort and that was enough most of the time at the college level. It will not be good enough at the NFL level. Average anchor. Susceptible to blitzes off the edge (4x). Excels much more as a limited-area run blocker where he can use his size and understanding of leverage to seal off lanes often enough. Good down blocking towards the interior. Plays til the whistle blows, but tends to get more out of control the further he gets away from home. Below-average in space. Gets after it, just inconsistent sustaining long enough to always get the job done. He is what he is, no more and no less. 

Bottom Line

I think when this all shakes out, Mitchell will find his way inside to guard. As a guard, Mitchell will play in the NFL for 8-10 years.

However, as a tackle, he will not see a second contact. 

After watching Mitchell on game film, it is more imperative than ever Douglas makes a trade for a veteran swing offensive tackle, who can fill in on either side prior to the start of the season. 

If not, it could be a really looooong season. 

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