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NFL NFL Draft

New York Jets 2021 NFL Draft Profile

Jets 2021 draft

The 2021 NFL Draft begins on April 29, which means that The Game Haus will be writing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be evaluated heading into this year’s draft, as our staff recaps their last season, highlights their needs, and pinpoints their potential 2021 NFL Draft targets.

The New York Jets are the subject of today’s 2021 NFL Draft profile.

Summary

As many expected the New York Jets had a rough season. They dropped their first thirteen games of the season. Not many of their losses were close either. But none got closer than Week 13 against the Raiders where Derek Carr threw a game-winning 46-yard touchdown with thirteen seconds left. Henry Ruggs was so wide open because the Jets left him in single coverage and decided to blitz Carr instead. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was fired very shortly after that loss.

It was no secret the Jets’ defense was going to be rough this season. Before the season even started the Jets lost two of their best defensive players. They were forced to trade Jamal Adams to the Seahawks and has CJ Mosley opt-out due to Covid-19. The lack of offensive production did not help the defense at all.

Already this offseason the Jets have made moves to get their defense playing better next season. They added three new defensive linemen in Carl Lawson, Sheldon Rankins, and Vinny Curry. The Jets also added former first-round pick linebacker Jarrad Davis and versatile defensive back Lamarcus Joyner. On top of that, they brought back Marcus Maye on the franchise tag who had a great 2020-21 season.

Offensively the Jets were a mess last season. During the first half of the season, a lot of the Jets’ top offensive players missed time. Breshad Perriman and 2020 second-round pick Denzel Mims started the season late. Sam Darnold missed some time to a shoulder injury.

Now that the Jets have traded Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, it is certain that the Jets will a new signal-caller under center this season.

Mekhi Becton
2020 First-Round Pick Mekhi Becton was one of the lone bright spots for the Jets last season. (Brad Penner/AP Images for Panini)

Then Le’Veon Bell got hurt during week one and didn’t return until week five. After his return, he got himself released from the team and eventually signed with Kansas City. That left 37-year-old Frank Gore to carry the Jets backfield. The Jets also got contributions from running backs Ty Johnson and 2020 fourth-round pick La’Michal Perine.

The Jets’ first-round pick from this last season Mekhi Becton was arguably their best offensive player last season. Joining the Jets’ offense will be wide receivers Corey Davis and Keelan Cole, veteran running back Tevin Coleman, and tight end Tyler Kroft.

General Manager Joe Douglas has made a lot of impact signings this offseason. But the move that has the most potential to shake up the team was replacing Adam Gase with San Fransisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. A respected coach like Saleh could bring the culture change that the Jets have needed for about a decade.

2021 NFL Picks

New York will have ten picks to use in the 2021 NFL Draft

First Round (two picks): No. 2, No. 23

Second Round (one pick): No. 34

Third Round (two picks): No. 67, No.87

Fourth Round (one pick): No. 108

Fifth Round (two picks): No. 147, No. 155

Sixth Round (two picks): No. 187, No. 227

Seventh Round (zero picks):

Team needs

Quarterback- The Jets didn’t have a true need at quarterback. But now that the Jets have traded away Sam Darnold, James Morgan is official atop the Jets depth chart at the position. The Jets need to take a quarterback early in this year’s draft that they could develop into the future face of the franchise.

Cornerback- Both of the Jets starting cornerbacks are former Day 3 picks who have shown the potential to be the long-term starting cornerbacks. But the Jets need a better cornerback than Bryce Hall and Blessuan Austin to cover top receivers in the division like Stefon Diggs, Devante Parker, and Nelson Agholor twice a year.

Interior Offensive Line- Last year the Jets added three interior offensive linemen in Alex Lewis, Connor McGovern, and Greg Van Roten. None of the three played great last season or showed that they are the Jets’ answer at the position. The Jets should add a rookie interior lineman to compete with each of them and push them for their jobs next season.

Edge Rusher- During his time in San Fransisco Robert Saleh always got fantastic production from their defensive lineman, especially from edge pass rushers. The Jets lost Jordan Jenkins to the Texans but signed Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry. Lawson should be the team’s primary pass rusher next season but Curry should be a rotational player at this point of his career.  A rookie pass rusher can compete with 2020 third-round pick Jabari Zuniga and Vinny Curry for snaps opposite Carl Lawson.

Running Back-  Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur was formally a part of Kyle Shanahan’s staff in San Fransisco. Shanahan’s offense is centered around a zone running attack which is led by a running back committee. Each of Shanahan’s running backs seemingly brings something to the table that the others do not. The Jets could look into adding a running back in the middle rounds to join La’Michal Perine and former 49ers Tevin Coleman.

Linebacker- During the 2019-20 season, Robert Saleh’s 49ers defense featured great play from three linebackers Fred Warner, Kwon Alexander, and Dre Greenlaw. Recently the Jets were a finalist to sign former safety now converted linebacker Keanu Neal to join C.J. Mosley and Jarrad Davis. Right now Blake Cashman would be the Jets starting weakside linebacker. So the Jets should try to add a player to replace or compete with Cashman for the weakside linebacker position.

2021 Draft Targets

First Round:

Pick No. 2: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Zach Wilson
There are a select few that believe that Zach Wilson is a better prospect than Trevor Lawerence. People believe he could have the highest ceiling out of this year’s quarterback crop due to his athleticism and large arm. (Courtesy of the Boston Globe)

After the Sam Darnold trade, ESPN’s Adam Schefter welcomed Zach Wilson to the  New York Jets, Wilson has been compared to Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, and Patrick Mahomes. His large arm and athleticism makes him not only one of this year’s top quarterback prospects but a perfect fit in an offense similar to one run by Kyle Shanahan. Wilson will start for the Jets in his first year with the team.

Pick No. 23: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

C.J. Mosley has barely played for the Jets since joining the team in 2019 and Jarrad Davis is on a one-year prove-it deal. There is a scenario where neither could be on the team in 2022. Owusu-Koramoah gives the Jets a long-term option at linebacker in case one or neither does not play well. Robert Saleh has no problem playing lining up three linebackers on the field despite the league progressing toward playing only two linebackers and an extra defensive back to cover slot receivers and tight ends. There is a good chance Owosu-Koramoah is the best player available as well at pick #23. Many believed Owosu-Koramoah was the best linebacker in college football last season. Owusu-Koramoah is a part of these new breed of linebackers who also have the skillset to play safety like Isaiah Simmons or Jeremy Chinn from last year’s draft.

Second Round:

Pick No. 34: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State

Jayson Oweh is the perfect project for Robert Saleh to on over the next few seasons. Saleh was fantastic at developing the defensive lineman in San Fransisco who had amazing traits and high potential. That is exactly what Oweh is as a player. He is an athletic freak who projects to be a Pro Bowl-caliber edge rusher however he is extremely raw and needs someone to develop him. This past season at Penn State Oweh didn’t have a single sack. But Oweh brings a lot more to the table and does not struggle to pressure opposing quarterbacks. If Robert Saleh could be patient with Oweh, possibly rotate him with Vinny Curry next season, and refine his pass rush skills over time Oweh could emerge as one of the league’s premier edge rushers for this defense.

Third Round:

Pick No. 66: Paulson Adebo, Cornerback, Stanford

If the Jets cannot add a cornerback in the first two rounds round Paulson Adebo is a great option for them in the third round. Not long ago many believed Adebo could be one of the top cornerbacks off the board. After opting out of last season his stock fell to around this range. But Adebo has the ball skills and has shown in his limited action that he could develop into a starting cornerback in the NFL and possibly better than where he is selected.

Pick No. 86: Dyami Brown, Wide Receiver, North Carolina

There aren’t many great options available around this selection for the Jets to fill another need on their roster. So they could go the best player available here with Dyami Brown. He brings to the table what the Jets lack in their receiving core. Brown is a deep-ball specialist. Corey Davis, Denzel Mims, Jamison Crowder, and Keelan Cole don’t exactly stretch out the field. Brown could be the Jets’ deep threat that is brought on the field during long passing plays to make a big play. Then over time, he could potentially develop into one of the team’s top targets.

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