By Glenn Naughton
While the Jets have been busy making a mockery of the game of football itself as they come out of their bye week at 3-7, the paltry record puts them in line for the 5th overall choice in the NFL draft as of today.
With Gang Green being among those teams already looking forward to next season and the recent publication of multiple mock drafts from publications such as Sports Illustrated and CBS sports, here’s an early look at what direction some of the pundits have the Jets going when they run that envelope up to commissioner Roger Goodell in Philadelphia, the host city for the upcoming draft.
In their first mock, SI has the Jets going, are your ready…defense in round one. Alabama outside linebacker Tim Williams, offering this rationale:
Teams are often hesitant to draft two-down defensive linemen who can’t really rush the passer. Does it work the same way with playmakers who, more or less, only rush the passer? I’ll guess no, but there’s not a ton of history on which to draw—college teams usually do not have the luxury of specialized pass rushers, like Alabama does. But Williams is an absolute game-changer off the edge, even if he winds up playing limited snaps. There is no substitute for a defender that can live in the backfield.
How would Jets fans react to not only another defensive player, but one who isn’t and every-down player at that? If SI is right, we’ll find out.
CBS Sports offered up a pair of mock drafts from Rob Rang and Dane Brugler. Rang also has the Jets going defense first with Michigan hybrid defender Jabrill Peppers. This is an intriguing choice as the Jets just chose a speedy versatile linebacker in Darron Lee last season, but Peppers should run faster than Lee did in Indy, and can play not only linebacker, but safety and has also played running back for Jim Harbaugh.
Brugler tabs pre-season consensus number-one pick, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson as heading North to Florham Park. One glaring observation that has been made by several talent evaporators, to include Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, is that at this point, Watson is one of the many one-read quarterbacks who struggles in reading post-snap coverages, sometimes leading to poor decisions:
However, there are times when Watson will predetermine his target and throw the ball without seeing the field. His interception vs. Alabama is an excellent example. His target won the one-on-one matchup, but Watson failed to see the over-the-top defender, resulting in an easy interception.
Another outlet that sees the Jets going offense is walterfootball.com, as they project LSU running back Leonard Fournette, the big explosive running back who is seen by many as the number one runner in the draft.
In explaining the decision to go with Fournette, walterfootball actually offers insight to why they didn’t have Watson going to the Jets as Brugler did:
I’d love to give the Jets a quarterback at No. 5 overall, but there are no other first-rounders available at the position. And yes, I’m aware that I haven’t listed Deshaun Watson yet. Multiple teams, including those that don’t need a signal-caller, have told us that they grade Watson in the second or third round. Thus, Watson could drop during the 2017 NFL Draft, much like Teddy Bridgewater did a couple of years ago. Charlie Campbell was the first to report that most teams didn’t have Bridgewater as a first-round prospect – even before Bridgewater’s pro day – and he’s the first to say the same about Watson.
Finally, we have profootballfocus.com and their first mock draft which is another that predicts the Jets will go defense yet again in round 1, with the selection of Clemson cornerback Cordrea Tankersly.
Given this seasons struggles in the secondary, whether fans like it or not, cornerback may very well be the direction the Jets go in, and according to PFF, Tankersly has the size and frame to fit their scheme:
A deep class of cornerbacks has a flavor for all styles and Tankersley fits the long, man coverage cornerback mold. At 6-foot-2, he can jam and run with receivers while showing the movement skills to stick with horizontal routes as well. This season, Tankersley has upped his game to rank No. 2 overall among cornerbacks at 89.5 and he’ll fit the Jets well as they’re in dire need of talent in the secondary.
Five mock drafts and five different players going to Gang Green. Mock draft season is most definitely upon us, and there will probably be no fewer than 30 different players projected to the Jets in the top-5…lead the head spinning begin.