There was a lot to like for the rebuilding New York Jets, who had a solid if not very good first NFL Draft under general manager Joe Douglas. More to get excited about for fans than disappointed, for sure.
The Jets came in with four or five priorities and checked off each and every box, even being able to trade back twice to accumulate more picks. Moves were made with the future in mind as well and building depth as well as developmental players.
What to Like I: The first two picks of the draft were as good as any team’s selections, with the Jets adding Mekhi Becton, a franchise left tackle as well as a playmaker wide receiver in Denzel Mims in the second round.
That the Jets moved back from No. 48 to select Mims 11 picks later is now looking like a masterstroke although at the time, it seemed risky. Landing a wide receiver whose speed and size adds a playmaker dimension to the offense in the second round while adding a Day 3 pick proved to be a home run for the Jets. And the Jets fourth overall pick, Jabari Zuniga, was no slouch for Florida in 2018 with his production off the edge. An ankle injury cut short his season but there is length and speed here. He’s a good, calculated risk who should contribute and potentially start.
What to Like II: Depth, much needed depth, was added.
La’Mical Perine can contribute to the Jets running backs room now and be groomed for a larger role in a season or two. Cameron Clark, the tackle out of Charlotte who projects as a guard, has good developmental traits.
And the selection of a punter in the sixth round, Braden Mann, is a nice quality addition to special teams.
Douglas had more hits than misses on Day 3, adding quality depth with upside.
What to Like III: Some picks like Becton and Mims were no-brainers. Others like Zuniga, Perine and Clark were good, pragmatic decisions.
Then there was cornerback Bryce Hall, who was sheer fortune. The Virginia cornerback, thought to be a possible second or third round pick, fell to the Jets in the fifth round.
With length, good speed and a solid tackler, Hall can be a starter in the NFL. An ankle injury shelved him last year but he had the potential to be a top 50 pick in the draft if he was healthy. An absolute steal.
What Not to Like I: This one is nitpicking a bit.
Moving back in the third round to accumulate two picks on Day 3 is not a bad idea, but trading back with the New England Patriots, a division rival, is always going to be a risky proposition. It isn’t the rivalry between the fans that matters, but helping a team in the same division is always suspect.
And while Douglas certainly got a good, fair trade, there was value that was ignored by moving back in the draft. That is not to slam the Jets picks at No. 125 or No. 129, but the Jets could have gotten value at No. 101.
Dalton Keene, the Patriots selection with the pick, is a pass-catching tight end who could have upgraded that position for the Jets. He has good size, good hands and good production at Virginia Tech and should slot in seamlessly in the Patriots offense. Keene could have been a nice pick for the Jets.
In addition, talent was available after that pick that could have helped the Jets. Alex Highsmith (Charlotte) could have been a second edge rusher to help the Jets front line and linebacker Davion Taylor has elite speed and good production at Colorado. He could have been a huge asset on special teams as well.
The Jets didn’t whiff in this trade but those two fourth round picks had better work out because Keene is an ideal fit in New England’s offense.
What Not to Like II: The Jets utilized one of their picks from the Patriots trade on a quarterback, James Morgan, who has upside and potential. But the Jets already have their franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold and investing an early Day 3 selection on a player who’s ceiling with the Jets will be as a backup is questionable.
Especially with Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley, a good solid prospect, going off the board in the seventh round. This one feels like a reach. Not because Morgan isn’t good or with upside but because the need didn’t match the pick.
Nickleback Amik Robertson, a tough combative player, could have been good value here to help remake the secondary.