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Injuries and opt-outs Have Jets in Position to get Great Value Come Draft Time

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The New York Jets are expected to use the second overall pick on a quarterback in the NFL draft a week and a half from now.  The smart money is on BYU’s Zach Wilson but some feel it’s premature to rule out Ohio State’s Justin Fields.  Whoever it is the Jets come away with with pick number tow, it’s with picks 23, 34 and beyond that could position them to get some excellent value at key areas of need.

Be it due to injury or covid opt-out, several players are reportedly seeing their draft stock plummet in the weeks leading up to the event.  Which players could the Jets snag to roll the dice on getting great value?

OT Walker Little, Stanford:

Little was a projected first-round pick before he missed most of the 2019 season due to injury before opting out for the 2020 season due to covid.  While the down side to Walker’s situation is that nobody has seen him play football in almost two years, the upside is that he should be more than ready to go and recovered from a torn ACL.  On film, Walker absolutely looks the part of a first round pick.  In fact, his play in pass protection makes Walker look like a top 10 pick.  Getting that kind of value at 23 or 34 could give the Jets a pair of elite bookend tackles and a guy who can slide over to the left side if there are any further issues with Mekhi Becton who missed parts or all of 8 games as a rookie.  Drafting Little could make George Fant trade bait for an additional pick or a high priced backup/swing tackle.

CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech:

Up until just a few weeks ago Farley was viewed as a top 10 pick and the number one cornerback in this class.  What happened since then?  Farley had back surgery that has reportedly scared some teams off, but there are rumors swirling that claim Farley should suffer no ill effects from his injury and may present the Jets with another chance to snag a top 10 talent at the bottom of round 1 or the top of round 2 at a premium position.

RB Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis:

Even if you’re not a fan of using premium picks on running backs, Gainwell, who was a covid opt-out, is a tempting option.  When asked about Gainwell, his head coach Mike Norvell said that as a running back, Gainwell was the team’s best player.  He added that if they were to make him a full-time wide receiver, he would still be the team’s best player.  Gainwell can do it all.  He can run up the middle, is fast enough to get to the edge and has been a consistent play maker at wide receiver.  Had he come back and improved on his 2019 season, Gainwell may have pushed himself in to the top half of round 2.  As it stands, most seem to believe he’ll still be on the board in round three.

WR Sage Surratt, Wake Forest:

Surratt posted 1,001 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019 and was projected by most as a mid-round selection.  A poor pro day in which he posted a 40 time of 4.70 and a year off now has many projecting him as a day 3 pick.  Surratt gains separation at times but doesn’t do it as often as you’d like.  He does however show strong hands and the ability to win one-on-one matchups.

DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami:

Rousseau was another player who opted out this past season after entering the year as the top pass rushing prospect in the country.  Rousseau shows excellent traits but a lack of playing time could see him fall much lower than anyone would have guessed when the season came to a close.  His 15.5 sacks in his last full season should be intriguing for Joe Douglas and company.

This Article Was Written By Glenn Naughton

Glenn Naughton

Glenn was Born in the Bronx, New York and has followed the Jets religiously despite being stationed in several different countries and time zones around the world. He now resides in England and has been a JetNation member since 2005. Glenn will bleed green with the rest of us through the highs and lows.