For the first time this draft season, a trade has happened in one of SI’s New York Jets mock drafts. And not just one trade, but two!
(and both take place in the first round)
The first trade sends the No. 11 pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, who take Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb to give quarterback Carson Wentz a new playmaker. The Eagles send the Jets their first round pick (No. 21), their second round pick (No. 53), their sixth round pick (No. 169) and a fifth round pick in 2021.
The Jets then make another trade, moving back from No. 21 to No. 30 in a trade with the Green Bay Packers (who want USC’s offensive tackle Austin Jackson). In return, the Jets net the Packers first round pick as well as their third round pick (No. 94) and a sixth round pick in 2021.
Why all the trades? Because it is fun.
No, seriously…Depth issues killed the Jets last year, leading to the need to draft across the board and re-build this two-deep. The Jets also are pressed tight against the cap and the benefit of younger bodies on the roster is that it makes players on the veteran minimum expendable.
At the end of the day, more draft picks, in particular in the middle rounds, make the Jets a deeper and more talented team. With 11 picks, general manager Joe Douglas can do just that.
It is tough trading back twice in the first round, especially passing on top offensive tackles. But overall team needs, when weighed against what could be over $90 million in salary cap space next year, necessitates adding balance and depth across the roster.
With the trades, the Jets hold six picks in the first 100 selections of the draft. They address needs at left tackle (first round), cornerback (second round, third round) and wide receiver (second round, sixth round) as well as edge rusher (fourth round). Throw in a running back with Pro Bowl potential (second round) and the Jets add instant starters, contributors, rebuild their special teams and have depth as well as development players across these 11 picks.
Round 1, Pick No. 30
Josh Jones, OT (Houston)
Why the pick: Trading back is never easy but the chance to add multiple picks to make up for a deficient couple of draft classes over the past few years was enticing.
Would the Jets have loved to add Andrew Thomas or Jedrick Wills at No. 11? Absolutely. But getting Jones, still projected as a solid and proven left tackle late in the first round while adding multiple Day 2 and Day 3 picks helps the Jets balance both sides of the roster.
Jones is the team’s left tackle in 2020. Should the Jets go out and try to sign an elite left tackle in 2021, then Jones could always slide over to the right side.
Round 2, Pick No. 48
Jonathan Taylor, RB (Wisconsin)
Why the pick: Running back wasn’t a pressing need for the Jets coming into the draft. But when Taylor fell in this simulation, it was too good to be true. This is taking the best player available and figuring it out later.
Getting a high-end running back, and a Jersey guy to boot, midway through the first round is ideal. Taylor can spell Le’Veon Bell this upcoming season and take over the feature carries in 2021 (when Bell can come off the books with a reduced cap hit).
Taylor is a tough runner, has great speed and catch the ball. Again, running back wasn’t pressing but here is a solid pick to balance the rebuild on offense.
Round 2, Pick No. 53
A.J. Terrell, CB (Clemson)
Why the pick: The Jets needed to add offensive line (which they did with Jones) and wide receiver in this draft. They also need a cornerback.
Terrell, with good length and speed, helps the Jets do just that. He steps in as a Week 1 starter and gives the secondary a solid and dependable presence that should let the Jets utilize Jamal Adams’ ability to roam and playmake.
He has good length and solid film.
Round 3, Pick No. 68
Chase Claypool, WR (Notre Dame)
Why the pick: Some thought was given to wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. out of USC but Claypool’s size and speed was simply too good to pass up. He’s well-built and while he isn’t elusive, he gives quarterback Sam Darnold someone who can help move the chains.
Round 3, Pick No. 79
Bryce Hall, CB (Virginia)
Why the pick: Coming off an injury last season at UVA, Hall completes the revamp of the Jets secondary. He is instinctual and breaks to the ball well. With good size and length, Hall needs to improve his strength a bit. But he helps rebuild the cornerback room and projects as a solid contributor as a rookie who can contribute on special teams.
Round 3, Pick No. 94
Damien Lewis, G (LSU)
Why the pick: Despite the free agent signings along the offensive line(five total including one player being re-signed), the Jets still need young players to develop blockers to protect their franchise quarterback. Jones in the first round and now Lewis help the youth movement considerably. Lewis is a solid guard who, despite being a bit short at 6-foot-2, is a good technique blocker and powerful. Give a year or two to develop and he can become a starter.
Pick 4, No. 120
Alton Robinson, DE (Syracuse)
Why the pick: A favorite around these parts, Robinson saw his production slip last year at Syracuse as he faced constant double teams off the edge. With the Jets, he brings a nice twitch and good gap understanding off the edge. Steps into the line rotation and has starting potential in a season or two.
Round 5, Pick No. 158
Davion Taylor, LB (Colorado)
Why the pick: Taylor backed up great production at Colorado (11 starts, 61 tackles, eight tackles for a loss and a sack) with a Combine where he ran a 4.49 time in the 40. He’s hard hitting and a smart, instinctual linebacker. Helps out on special teams and on the two-deep while growing into a larger role down the road.
Round 5, Pick No. 169
Khalil Davis, DT (Nebraska)
Why the pick: With uncertainty around Quinnen Williams following his arrest in March on weapons charges, the Jets get a solid depth option here in Davis. Have to like his speed (4.75 time in the 40 at the NFL Combine) and his production as a senior (45 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss and eight sacks).
Round 6, No. 191
Dalton Keene, TE (Virginia Tech)
Why the pick: Another player with good length, Keene is a receiving target at tight end. A solid route runner who doesn’t mind going over the middle. Good hands and invites contact. Not a burner after getting the ball but will churn out modest YAC. Jets need another tight end and while not a blocker, he adds to the room and helps in the red zone.
Round 6, No. 211
Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR (Liberty)
Why the pick: A late round flyer on a player who had great production at Liberty (79 receptions, 1,396 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior). In the season opener at then No. 22 Syracuse, he had six catches for 119 yards, showing he can play at a high level of competition. Good size (6-foot-4) makes him a possession receiver at the next level. Yes, the Jets drafted Claypool but another bigger frame target is a positive for quarterback Sam Darnold.