Why Andrew Thomas is the right pick for the New York Jets in the NFL Draft
The pick is in for the New York Jets in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Over the past week, ‘Jets Country’ here at SportsIllustrated.com has run mock drafts by Seth Everett and Kristian Dyer. Both mock drafts have come after the start of free agency, where the New York Jets have aggressively addressed needs along the offensive line and in the secondary.
In recent days, several projections have the Jets going for a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL Draft, where they hold pick No. 11. NFL Draft Bible’s Ric Serritella said that he thinks the Jets will go after Jerry Jeudy, the Alabama wide receiver who has fantastic speed and production.
Other mock drafts and projections (such as this one from Andy Benoit at SI) have the Jets going after a wide receiver as well.
In both of the mock drafts here (each went all seven rounds), the Jets don’t go with a playmaker in the first round. There are still questions for the Jets at offensive tackle, and that is where both of the mock drafts have gone.
Both, ironically, take an SEC offensive tackle off the board at No. 11. For Everett, it is Andrew Thomas, the Georgia offensive tackle who is considered one of the four best offensive linemen in this draft.
Dyer went for Alabama's Jedrick Wills, who was available at No. 11.
Both Everett and Dyer analyze why they went against the grain of some national mock drafts and went with an offensive lineman and a tackle specifically over a wide receiver.
For reference, here is Everett's mock draft.
And here is Dyer's.
Everett: Thomas showed during his years at Georgia that he can be effective protecting both the run and the pass. Some drafts have him going as low as No. 14 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jets need someone that can play left tackle and protect Sam Darnold’s blind side.
Most draft experts are saying that four offensive tackles will likely be taken in the first 15 selections. Thomas is on par with all of them, and the Jets should be hopeful he’s available. Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. might be an alternative if Thomas is off the board at No. 11.
Dyer: The Jets have a glaring hole at the tackle position, one that they addressed in part with free agent signing George Fant. While Fant projects as a right tackle, the Jets still need someone on the other side to protect their franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold.
Wills has good length and athleticism with an ability to get to the second-level when needed. He comes from a good program at Alabama and played a high-level of competition.
Wills, if he is there, is the pick. While a wide receiver to boost the offense such as Jerry Jeudy or a CeeDee Lamb is enticing, those are luxury picks and not a fit for a rebuilding team in the first round. Protecting Darnold is imperative. The Jets can get a wide receiver in the second round.