While we're still breaking down the Jets' 2021 NFL draft class, this NFL insider is already looking ahead to which prospects will be drafted in the first round this time next year.
ESPN's Todd McShay projected the first round of the 2022 NFL draft on Thursday, using an order assigned by his colleague's early 2022 power rankings.
Thanks to the Jamal Adams trade—a deal that sent two first-round picks back to Gang Green—New York has a pair of first-rounders next year. Here are McShay's predictions as to which players general manager Joe Douglas and his team will pick early on:
4. New York Jets
Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Let's keep building this Jets offensive line around new quarterback Zach Wilson. Cross, a 6-foot-5, 305-pound redshirt sophomore, started 10 games for the Bulldogs in 2020. With Cross and Mekhi Becton bookending the line -- which now also includes Alijah Vera-Tucker on the inside -- Wilson could have time to create on throws downfield.
This would be the third straight first round for the Jets where New York has taken an offensive lineman (Becton in '20 and Vera-Tucker in '21). Douglas has repeatedly spoken about building through the offensive line and developing through the draft. If Cross is the real deal, imagine three young studs up front, protecting Zach Wilson for years to come.
25. New York Jets (via SEA)
Zach Harrison, DE, Ohio State
We got the Jets a lineman earlier in Round 1, so let's now add a big 6-foot-6, 268-pound defensive end with a lot of speed to come off the edge. Only Quinnen Williams -- an interior lineman -- had more than 3.5 sacks for the Jets last season. Harrison had only two in seven games last season, but look for him to get more production in 2021.
How about giving the defensive-minded Robert Saleh another weapon on the defensive line for his second year as head coach of the New York Jets?
Harrison has already played 17 games for Ohio State, racking up 38 tackles (10 for loss) and 5.5 sacks in that span. He can continue to build into a premier presence up front this coming season, lining up alongside Williams and Carl Lawson in green and white.
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