The State of the Jets:
The Jets re-invented themselves in 2021, hiring a new head coach in Robert Saleh and using the #2 selection on quarterback Zach Wilson.
The team is full of NFL-level players, but there are no difference-makers, players the opposing coaches really need to plan for. Simply put, the Jets don’t have the “needs” at any specific positions, but they have room to improve in all of them.
While the team operated below average in almost all offensive and defensive stats, a sophomore step forward from Zach Wilson with two first and second round picks can quickly improve those numbers.
Ekwonu isn’t clean in all technical areas, and his ability to blind-side pass protect against elite finesse rushers could be a concern, but his combination of size, power, athleticism, and finishing tenacity are rare, regardless of position.
With a 2023 free agent LT George Fant, and a lost 2021 season from RT Mekhi Becton, another dominant tackle offers OL security.
Hamilton is a versatile safety who impacts all three levels of the field and is a rangy playmaker with the cover skills, speed, and athleticism to be an elite-level defender against both the run and pass.
The Jamal Adams trade netted an extra top 10 pick this year, so the Jets could use one to draft a more versatile and younger safety.
Stingley has the man coverage, athleticism, and ball skills to be an NFL defense’s No. 1 cornerback, but his injury history and dip in on-field production since his freshman year are concerns that need to be vetted.
Bryce Hall had a great 2021. This gives him a shutdown opposite who has shown top-end athleticism and dominance as a freshman.
Wilson has the speed, route running, and ballcarrying traits that excite teams, and if he can work on attacking the ball when it’s in the air and improving his ability along the sideline, he will be a strong starter very early in his NFL career.
The Jets need a top-end outside receiver, and Wilson’s well-rounded skill set and success against top-end defenders is a perfect solution.
Burks will have to improve as a sharp route separator as his tree expands moving forward, but his body control, catching skills, and competitive speed make him an impact player at all levels of the field.
If the Jets prefer a more “Alpha” style receiver with great YAC ability, Burks fits the mold as a player requiring defensive attention.
With his pass rush ability, strength, and power, Johnson should make an instant impact at the next level, though he needs to become more consistent across all areas of the game to hit his full potential.
The Jets don’t have a star edge rusher, Johnson comes with elite 2021 production even while facing constant double-teams and chips.
Ojabo is an excellent athlete with the speed, range, bend, and flexibility to be a force as a pass-rush specialist, but he needs to get stronger and just see more reps in order to develop into an all-around player at the next level.
The Jets likely aren’t looking to compete for a playoff run this season, Ojabo’s Achilles can get a full year to heal while the Jets plethora of other picks help immediately.
Smith consistently puts defenders on the ground while using heavy hands and generating tons of movement in the run game, and while he should be tabbed as a starter, he needs to clean up the holding penalties and become a better space player.
Smith is a good tackle prospect that could use the reps vs NFL defenders before becoming a full-time franchise LT.
Hall has the patience, vision, burst, and make-you-miss style of running to be a productive starter at the next level, but his still-improving pass game impact may hold him back from consistently playing on all three downs.
Michael Carter was very good in 2021, and his pass-game impact paired with Hall’s rushing ability would make for a dominant and deep backfield.
Pickens is a big-bodied, big-play threat whose hands, tracking ability and competitiveness will make him a consistent contributor, especially once he learns an NFL route tree and if he becomes more dynamic after the catch.
Pickens is a perfect complementary WR to Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, and Braxton Berrios, he can open up Zach Wilson’s deep range.
Bonitto is an athletic, rangy, bendy pass rusher who should excel at getting to the passer with his lack of strength and run game stoutness limiting him to just third downs early in his career at the next level.
Another edge defender that the Jets can use their selection on to bet on the tools.
Armour-Davis’ one year of playing time on Alabama’s defense showed technical inconsistencies but also quality physical tools to develop into a potential low-end starter on the outside moving forward.
Lacking reps, Armour-Davis shows great physical traits and good production against top-end talents.
Tolbert has the size, speed, and athletic body control to take the top off a defense at the next level, but he’ll need to improve on the finer points of receiver play to become a more versatile offensive contributor.
A big-bodied deep threat that can take the top off a defense to allow Moore and Berrios to operate underneath.
To learn more about the Jets and their needs, visit their team page on our NFL Draft website here.