Jets Trade Sam Darnold, Add New Quarterback and Bolster Offensive Line in Mock Draft

New York adds quarterback Zach Wilson and Northwestern's offensive lineman Rashawn Slater while trading Sam Darnold to the 49ers in this first-round projection.
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In this mock draft, the Jets are able to solve their quarterback conundrum, starting over at the position with a tremendous prospect, while trading away Sam Darnold and adding more young talent on the offensive line. 

It doesn't get much better than this for New York if they can't find a way to trade for Deshaun Watson.

The Athletic's Dane Brugler released a mock draft on Thursday morning, featuring a first round full of trades. While New York sticks with the No. 2 pick, they get busy 10 selections later, dealing with the San Francisco 49ers.

Here's the full trade from Brugler's mock:

New York Jets receive:
2021 first-round pick (No. 12 overall)
2022 second-round pick

San Francisco 49ers receive:
2021 first-round pick (No. 23 overall)
QB Sam Darnold

Before getting into the trade, let's circle back to the second overall pick. After all, with Trevor Lawrence going to Jacksonville at No. 1, this is where the draft actually starts.

New York takes BYU's Zach Wilson, a quarterback that's gotten rave reviews and has plenty of upside. Wilson should fit in perfectly to New York's offense (delivered by offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur that's poised to be very similar to Kyle Shanahan's scheme in San Francisco). The BYU product will be able to utilize his athleticism outside of the pocket and let his right arm do the rest.

Surround Wilson with weapons and odds are his first three years in the league will go a lot smoother than it has for Darnold.

Jets Are Reportedly Listening to Trade Offers For Sam Darnold

Now, onto the trade. Rather than shipping off Darnold straight up for draft compensation, New York is able to package their second first-rounder in the deal (acquired from the Seahawks last summer) as a way to move up 11 slots. 

"Even with a new quarterback with the No. 2 pick, the Jets don’t have to trade Darnold. But they can maximize his value if the right deal presents itself, like this proposed trade from the 49ers," Brugler wrote. "With their pick from the Jamal Adams’ trade, the Jets are able to jump up 11 spots in the first round and land Slater, who has Pro Bowl potential as a plug-and-play guard who can also kick out to right tackle if needed."

Slater opted out of the 2020 season. Over his first few years at Northwestern, however, his potential to shine at the next level was on full display. As Brugler alluded to, the offensive lineman has the ability to play multiple positions. That means he can contribute at right tackle or one of the guard positions, working alongside left tackle (and last year's first-rounder) Mekhi Becton.

Factor Slater's versatility with Becton's presence and this franchise will have a reliable duo on the offensive line for the next decade, maybe longer. Should the Jets use their cap space to address other positions up front, or take another phenom later in the draft, their offensive line could end up as this team's strength as soon as next season.

Jets Could Sign This Veteran Center in Free Agency

New York also adds a second-rounder next year in this trade, further bolstering their draft capital. San Francisco comes away with Michigan edge rusher Kwity Paye with the No. 23 overall pick, a position that the Jets need to address as well. Nonetheless, their offense takes a big step in the right direction with this first-round haul.


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