With a litany of draft picks and plenty of needs, the New York Jets could do a lot of work in the NFL Draft.
It has been a long time since the New York Jets played in a postseason game. New York’s last playoff appearance came all the way back in 2010 when the Jets lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, setting into motion an 11-year postseason drought that is the longest in the NFL by far.
A series of misfired rebuilds played a part in that but it looks like GM Joe Douglas has all of the tools he needs to improve the roster thanks to a series of shrewd trades that have netted the Jets the most valuable collection of picks in this year’s draft. Let’s do a full mock draft for New York prior to the start of the offseason to make an assessment of how Douglas can build his roster in 2022.
New York Jets Mock Draft – First Round
Douglas has made it a priority to build the Jets’ offensive line by investing a pair of high first-round picks in the unit with LT Mekhi Becton in 2020 and LG Alijah Vera-Tucker a year ago. Vera-Tucker slid into the starting lineup with ease but Becton has dealt with injury issues throughout his pro career, lowlighted by missing the final 16 games of the 2021 campaign with a knee injury.
Adding a talented lineman like Neal to this unit would be an excellent idea to continue building a wall in front of second-year quarterback Zach Wilson. Neal can slide in at left tackle, allowing Becton to compete with George Fant on the right side, play the right side himself, or kick inside to address New York’s hole at right guard.
This pick comes to the Jets courtesy of the Jamal Adams trade, a bonus since few anticipated Seattle’s struggles in 2021. Douglas could be inclined to shop this pick, either moving down to acquire more assets or target a veteran wide receiver like Calvin Ridley, but if New York stays put the play here would be to address their edge-rushing need with Michigan’s David Ojabo.
The Jets have been trying to find a pass-rusher since dealing John Abraham to Atlanta in 2005 and Ojabo has the talent to fill that role in the long term. The return of Carl Lawson from an Achilles’ injury will help take pressure off of Ojabo as a rookie, who can work in sub-packages and be groomed to fill a starting role in Robert Saleh’s 4-3 scheme by the end of the season.