The 2021 NFL Draft concluded last weekend, and the New York Jets had lots of draft capital to work with. With a new Head Coach in Robert Saleh, as well as second-year General Manager Joe Douglas, the new regime has a seemingly bright future. This is the New York Jets 2021 Draft Recap.
The Jets were projected to have the Number 1 pick, but wins over the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns gave that privilege to the Jacksonville Jaguars. With the 2nd pick, the Jets selected who they hope will become their next franchise Quarterback, Zach Wilson from BYU. The Jets supposedly fell in love with his Patrick Mahomes-esque playmaking ability, as well as his fit into new Offensive Coordinator Mike LaFleur’s scheme. However, with a new QB comes the need for a support system. The Jets also had the 23rd pick, courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks from the Jamal Adams trade. Looking to grab a playmaker or an offensive lineman, the Jets decided to trade up. They sent the 23rd pick, as well as the 66th and 86th picks to the Minnesota Vikings for the 14th pick. With the 14th pick, the Jets selected Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT/OG from USC. Vera-Tucker was dominant at USC, allowing only five sacks over 895 pass-blocking snaps at left tackle and guard, according to Pro Football Focus. He also proved dominant in the run game. With George Fant and Mekhi Becton at right and left tackle, he figures to slot in at left guard, a huge position of need.
Going into Day 2, the Jets had only one pick after trading their two 3rd round picks to the Vikings. Their sole pick was Number 34, which they could trade out of, or take one of their higher rated players. They elected to take Elijah Moore, an electrifying Receiver from Ole Miss. Moore should slip right in to the starting slot receiver spot, formerly occupied by Jamison Crowder. He adds another dimension to the Jets offense, in his yards-after-catch (YAC) ability, something Jets fans haven’t seen in a while. Moore will do a lot with the ball in his hands, and Zach Wilson should love throwing to him. With no more picks until round 4, Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh would have to wait a while to make their next pick.
Day 3, Part 1
The Jets’ next selection was the 107th pick, and they selected Michael Carter, a Running Back from UNC. Carter should be another piece that Zach Wilson should love to have around him. He runs with a punishing style for someone his size, and could develop into an every down Running Back sooner than later. At pick 156, the Jets selected Jamien Sherwood, a Safety/ Linebacker from Auburn. While he played mostly safety at Auburn, Sherwood lacks elite coverage skills. Robert Saleh should be able to seamlessly transition the hard hitting Sherwood to Linebacker. the Jets next pick was Michael Carter II, a Defensive Back from Duke. He ran a 4.30s 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, and his athleticism should be used well. At pick 175, the Jets selected Jason Pinnock from Pittsburgh. A lengthy defender, Pinnock has drawn comparisons to Richard Sherman, a former player for Saleh in San Fransisco. While he lacks speed to bump and run with faster receivers, Pinnock should play well in Zone schemes and on special teams in a multitude of spots.
Day 3, Part 2
At pick 186, the Jets selected Hamsah Nasirildeen, a Defensive Back from Florida State. At one point, Nasirildeen had some Day 2 grades before a torn ACL kept him out of a majority of the 2020 season. A do-it-all player, Saleh will be able to use him as a fun chess piece. The final DB added to the Jets draft class is Brandin Echols from Kentucky. Echols is another blazing fast player, posting a 4.34s 40-yard dash. He should be able to add some value on Special Teams and compete for a rotational role at corner. The final player the Jets selected in the 2021 NFL Draft was Jonathan Marshall, a defensive tackle from Arkansas. Another developmental prospect, Marshall has good quickness, but he needs to improve his power. Assuming he is able to, it still might mean a rotational role at most, considering the Jets stacked D-line rotation.
The Jets had lots of capital to work with, and they were able to accomplish a lot. They used some extra picks to move up and grab a plug-and-play Guard in Alijah Vera-Tucker. They addressed their need at DB with 5(!) defensive back picks in a row. They also found their potential face of the franchise for the next 10+ years in Zach Wilson. Finally, they were able to surround him with some more weapons, in the form of Elijah Moore and Michael Carter. They did a great job, and Jets fans should come into this season with cautious optimism. They have 10 draft picks again next year, so this team might get very good very fast. This has been the New York Jets 2021 Draft Recap.
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