Seeing the Jets take Zach Wilson with the second overall pick in a mock draft isn't much of a surprise at this point. When it comes to who New York will take at No. 23, however, is where you start to see some creativity with draft projections.
In Daniel Jeremiah's latest mock draft, the NFL.com draft analyst has the Jets taking Wilson at No. 2 before adding edge rusher Ronnie Perkins of Oklahoma with the 23rd overall selection.
Here's Jeremiah with more on both of those two decisions:
The Jets have a lot of options here, but I think the decision ultimately comes down to Wilson versus Sam Darnold. With a new head coach, they decide to start fresh at quarterback.
Perkins is a very productive edge rusher who plays with physicality and tremendous effort.
Perkins had five-plus sacks in each of his three seasons at Oklahoma. In just six games this year, he had 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, on pace to shatter his career-high in both categories.
Quarterback situation aside, securing a talented edge rusher in the first round would be a tremendous pickup for this team.
New York averaged just 1.9 sacks per game this past season (accumulating 31 total on the year). Pairing a young presence on the defensive line—like Perkins—with rising star Quinnen Williams (in Robert Saleh's defense) has the potential to be a massive step toward building this unit toward respectability.
Not to mention the fact that an edge rusher would open the door for Williams to be even more dangerous, balancing the attack up front. After Williams, who had seven sacks in 2020, no other Jets defender contributed more than 3.5 sacks.
There are other options for the Jets as well when it comes to edge rushers in the first round (if they end up choosing someone other than Perkins). Studs like Kwity Paye (Michigan) and Gregory Rousseau (Miami) could fall toward No. 23, although it's unlikely, while Jaelan Phillips (Miami) and Azeez Ojulari (Georgia) may be on the board too.
In Jeremiah's previous mock this offseason, the draft analyst had New York taking Wilson and Clemson running back Travis Etienne in the first round.
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