The New York Jets selected Zach Wilson with the second overall pick last season in hopes of finding their franchise quarterback. In classic Jets' fashion, Wilson and the team were downright awful last year, but they have plenty of ammunition to help fix their mess.
The Jets are still far away from competing, but if things go right, New York fans will look back on this draft as the official turning point for a failing franchise. If they crush this draft, the Jets are going to become a contender a lot sooner than many expected.
With all of that being said, let's rebuild the New York Jets.
Round 1, Pick 4: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
NC State Ikem Ekwonu is amazing in space pulling or getting to the 2nd level pic.twitter.com/evHaCPtxya— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) February 14, 2022
The Jets found a quality left tackle in Mekhi Becton two years ago, but the massive man has struggled to stay on the field. The Jets also have a big hole at right tackle, so the athletic blocker out of N.C. State makes a lot of sense at No. 4 overall.
Ekwonu's size, strength, and versatility make him one of, if not the best offensive lineman in this draft. In fact, he's so good his chances of going No. 1 overall are on the rise.
Giving Zach Wilson two young tackles will only help his development, which at this point is the most important thing on the Jets' offseason to-do list.
Round 1, Pick 10: Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
The Jets had one of the worst defensive secondaries in the NFL last season. They ranked 30th in completion percentage, 29th in yards per pass, and 30th in passing yards per game.
Gardner burst onto the scene this season as he played a big role in Cinncinati's run to the playoffs. In his career, Gardner did not allow a single touchdown, and he never allowed more than 13 receiving yards to any receiver this past season.
His athleticism, aggressiveness, and nose for the play are all elite already, but his change of direction and lateral quickness are his best skills. Everything he does is so technical and amazing that you can make a legit argument that he is the best overall prospect in this class.
Round 2, Pick 35: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
Mike Macdonald paying tribute to his old bosses in Baltimore on that last call of Michigan's win over Nebraska.— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) October 11, 2021
Terrific play by Daxton Hill to seal it. pic.twitter.com/msm3hK4Kj5
New York needs help everywhere, but that is especially true in the defensive secondary. Although I have them addressing that need with one of their two top 10 picks, getting one of the top safeties in this draft is a must for the Jets.
Hill was very productive during his career at Michigan, and he stood out on a defense that was hard to stand out in. His elite explosiveness and fluid style of play make him a fun player to watch, and a fun player to have in your defensive backfield. He needs to work on his aggressiveness towards the ball and his overall range as a safety, but Hill is as the sound of a prospect as you can get.
With just a little bit of coaching, Hill can become an All-Pro player.
Round 2, Pick 38: David Bell, WR, Purdue
Purdue WR David Bell with one of the catches of the season, even after getting tripped up and DPI pic.twitter.com/yvHiQxRK3Y— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 14, 2022
While I think that Bell will end up finding himself in the first round when it is all said and done, the Jets need more weapons for their franchise quarterback, and getting a talent like Bell in the second round is well worth it.
Bell is not a burner, but he is really quick, and his ability to separate and streak open will revolutionize the Jets' offense. He is not overly physical at the catch point, but when he gets the ball in his hands, he is as electric as you can get. Purdue used Bell in multiple different ways, and he was lethal in the screen game.
As long as you get Bell the ball, he will make some magic.
Round 3, Pick 69: Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati
What?! Myjai Sanders anticipated the snap and got off the ball so quickly that officials flagged him for being offside when he wasn't. pic.twitter.com/bnqlBjxD6I— Brent Sobleski (@brentsobleski) October 16, 2021
Historically, the Jets have been pretty solid when drafting defensive linemen. Well, the time has come to bolster that group, especially after being ranked 24th in sack percentage.
Sanders has a lot of upside based on his body. He has great length, and he knows how to use that to his advantage given that he is not overall powerful as an edge rusher. When you have a player whose primary goal is to get to the quarterback, you need him to be more technical rather than overly strong. However, he needs to work on his quick-punch and power-rush moves if he wants to take his game to the next level.
Round 4, Pick 109: Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin
Jake Ferguson making his granddaddy Barry Alvarez proud. pic.twitter.com/fuI2lBxg97— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 23, 2018
To put it simply, New York's tight end room is atrocious. If they are in a spot to grab one of the top prospects, they should, but I also believe that you can survive with average tight end play. The problem is, the Jets' tight ends are not good enough to be good enough.
As a prospect, Ferguson has a lot of promise, but as a pass-catching tight end, he needs some work. He is not very good in contested catch situations, but when you get him the ball, he is athletic enough to make some magic happen.
Ferguson actually has great hands, but he needs to be schemed open in order to succeed. I am not sure the Jets are the team to do that, but not addressing this room in the draft is just not an option.
Round 4, Pick 115: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
Andersen is one of the more interesting prospects for day three of the draft. He is still very raw as a player, but he has all the traits of being a serviceable weakside linebacker.
Although he has only played linebacker for two seasons, he is athletic, a great tackler, and is very impressive in coverage. Obviously, he needs a lot of tune-up as he has not played this side of the ball that long, but Andersen has all the tools to be productive in this league.
Round 5, Pick 145: Dohnovan West, IOL, Arizona State
Jayden Daniels and Dohnovan West getting snaps in to start today’s third ASU camp practice pic.twitter.com/dluXW1YXuS— SunDevilSource.com (@SunDevilSource) August 6, 2021
West has no problem moving at his size, and his quickness and power are very notable. However, West has not been very good in pass pro and can rely on his above-average strength to bail him out. If that trait continues, he will not be in this league very long, but that is very coachable.
Round 5, Pick 162: Sincere McCormick, RB, UTSA
Did y’all see that juke move from Sincere McCormick!! pic.twitter.com/dTcBreHfKv— Roadrunners Unfiltered (@RR_Unfiltered) November 7, 2021
McCormick is often overlooked due to his small size, but he excels at the point of contact and is a tough running back to tackle or get in tackling range. He was not a great receiving back based on his stats, but if you get him the ball in open space, he is tough to defend.
Although he is not fast, he is quick and explosive, which is way more important than straight-line speed.
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