After focusing on offense with their first two picks of the NFL Draft, the New York Jets took Cal safety Ashtyn Davis at No. 68 overall in the third round.
With Notre Dame defensive end Julian Okwara off the board one pick earlier, the Jets went with Davis, a former track star in college who brings speed to the backend. He also has position versatility, able to play safety or cornerback.
The move comes with a bit of a gamble given the talent still on the board and the team’s other, perhaps more pressing needs. Defensive end Zach Baun (Wisconsin) and left tackle Josh Jones (Houston) were still available and the Jets could have justified either pick (Jones could be groomed to be the team’s right tackle of the future). Cornerback was also a pressing concern going into the draft for the Jets and a number of true cornerbacks remained unpicked such as Bryce Hall (Virginia) and Troy Pride Jr. (Notre Dame).
But the Jets went with speed and athleticism, a noble sentiment even if the position fit doesn’t necessarily ring true. The Jets are already loaded at safety with All-Pro Jamal Adams as well as Marcus Maye, a high-quality safety in his own right.
If the Jets believe that Davis can transition to cornerback, then he could be a third round steal given his physical abilities. His selection, the third overall by the Jets, was the first on the defensive side of the ball in this draft.
In the first round, the Jets took Louisville left tackle Mekhi Becton, who impressed at the NFL Combine running a 5.1 time in the 40 while measuring in at 6’7 and 364 pounds. Then in the second round, the Jets traded back at No. 48 but still continued the rebuild of their offense.
At No. 59, utilizing the pick they acquired in trading back with the Seattle Seahawks, the Jets got a potential steal in Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims.