Happy mock draft season! It’s that time of year where things start to pick up speed, with the Senior Bowl right around the corner. The Jets hold the third overall pick for the second straight year, but there’s one very big difference: they don’t need a quarterback. The Jets have glaring holes across the entire roster, and they have to nail this years’ draft to fill them. What will be their moves?
Round One, 10th pick (via Broncos)- Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Trade! The Jets move down from the third overall pick to the 10th pick in a deal with the Denver Broncos. The Broncos send the Jets the 10th pick, their 2019 second round pick and their 2020 second round pick in exchange for the third pick.
John Elway has publicly said that Case Keenum is a short term fix for the Broncos, which means they will be chasing a quarterback in the draft. The top two quarterbacks, Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins, won’t make it to the tenth pick. Drew Lock has also intrigued Elway, whose draft stock can rise during the Senior Bowl (see: Baker Mayfield). Therefore, Elway strikes a deal with Mike Maccagnan and gets his quarterback.
So, with the 10th overall pick, the New York Jets select Clelin Ferrell from the university of Clemson. With the recent hire of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the Jets defense will likely convert to a 4-3. That being said, the Jets don’t have a 4-3 defensive end, or anything close to it. Leonard Williams will likely play defensive tackle, and Henry Anderson is a misfit in a 4-3 defense. The Colts traded him because of his inability to play in a 4-3, and the Jets will likely let him walk in free agency for the same reason.
Ferrell is a perfect fit for Williams’ defense. He plays in the 4-3 defensive end role at Clemson, playing as an edge rusher on a four-linemen front. It is exactly what the Jets need and he could be a dominant force alongside Leonard Williams.
Ferrell thrived in this role in college. He posted monster numbers every year he played, including an 11.5 sack season in 2018. Ferrell led the ACC in tackles for loss with 20 in 2018 as well. His performance earned him ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 as well.
The Jets are definitely taking a risk by moving down seven spots to the tenth pick, but they need to build up draft stock that they lost because of the Sam Darnold trade. They can use these picks to surround him with talent the Jets so desperately need. Ferrell is a no brainer at number ten for Mike Maccagnan if he can get his hands on him. He would be quite the feature to Gregg Williams’ defense, which could certainly use a quality pass rusher.
Round Two, 41st pick (via Broncos)– Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College
The Jets continue to stack up the trenches in round two, going with an offensive lineman. Lindstrom is a very talented blocker, and is projected to become a starting offensive guard in the future. Guard is the biggest hole on the Jets’ line, with James Carpenter projected to become a free agent and Brian Winters playing poorly since his abdomen injury.
Lindstrom is a very well-rounded player at the guard position, playing well in both pass protection and run blocking. He is athletic enough to handle some of the more versatile interior defensive lineman, and he can use his power to push opponents back.
Lindstrom’s draft stock is a little unstable at the moment, as is every prospects’. He was invited to the Senior Bowl, which will heavily affect his draft projections. The Jets’ top priorities need to include protecting Sam Darnold at all costs, and Lindstrom does just that. He’s immediately a starting caliber lineman the Jets need badly. A low risk, high reward pick on the offensive line seems right for Gang Green here.
Round Three, 68th pick- Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
(Picks in rounds 3-7 will vary based on compensatory picks)
Morris Claiborne and Buster Skrine are not under contract. And even if they were, they are not elite players by any means. The Jets haven’t had two lockdown corners since Revis and Cromartie, and that feels like decades ago. In hope of Trumaine Johnson bouncing back in 2019, a second corner would truly complete New Jack City.
Love is a great coverage corner. He doesn’t possess elite speed or elite height, which will probably weigh down his draft stock. Don’t let it fool you, though. Love shut down just about everybody who approached him at Notre Dame. His on-field awareness and his ball skills gives him an edge over most corners in the draft class. He’s not one to shy away from a receiver because of his height. He reminds me of Tre’Davious White because of his short build and elite coverage skills.
Because of his small build and his short arms, Love won’t be an early pick in the draft. With the Jets picking early in the third round, they could be in line for a chance to grab him. The Jets put the finishing touches on New Jack City and fortify the secondary early in round three.
Round Three, 96th pick (via Saints)- Colin Johnson, WR Texas
The Jets acquired the Saints third round pick in a trade involving Teddy Bridgewater, and they use it to give Sam Darnold a big bodied target. Johnson stands at 6’6 and weighs 220 pounds. How about that for a big target?
Johnson’s huge frame enables him to go up and grab contested balls left and right. He seldom gets jammed at the line of scrimmage, and his catch radius is phenomenal. His ability to extend and bring down receptions is unlike any other prospect in this draft. He has decent vertical speed for a player his size, but nothing too crazy.
Johnson struggles in route running. His big body limits him in turns of making crisp routes. He also lacks a burst of speed at the line of scrimmage, which, along with route running difficulties, make getting open difficult. He is certainly a raw prospect, but if the Jets can bring him to his full potential, he could be a force in Adam Gase’s offense.
Round Four, 99th pick- Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
If the Jets do switch to a 4-3, they are going to need another coverage linebacker to group with Darron Lee. Avery Williamson’s coverage is shaky, and Jordan Jenkins is much more of a pass rusher than he is a coverage linebacker. That being said, an athletic, capable coverage linebacker has become a need on defense. Troy Dye is just that.
Dye posted 307 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 3 interceptions and 10 passes defended in three years at Oregon. The numbers speak for themselves. Dye can do just about anything at the linebacker position, something the Jets’ linebacking core will need under Gregg Williams’ defense. He is a stupidly good athlete at the linebacker position, and lines up well against tight ends and backs in coverage.
Dye’s on-field discipline and physicality needs to improve. He takes bad angles for tackles, and takes himself out of plays often because of bad decision making. He seems to play with a desire to keep his jersey clean, which is a big red flag in the NFL.
Dye is too good of a talent to pass up. If there’s anyone that will make someone play physically, it’s Gregg Williams. He’s a raw talent, but one worth taking a shot at for the Jets.
Round Five, 130th pick- Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
The Jets should make protecting their beloved quarterback a priority this offseason. That being said, Brandon Shell is injury prone and Kelvin Beachum is aging and in the final year of his contract. Even if it’s just for depth, an offensive tackle is a need for the Jets.
Andre Dillard is a solid athlete at the tackle position. He’s quick on his feet, and is good at making strong recoveries. Dillard’s also great at working to the second level and providing rushing lanes. He is quick with his hands in pass protection, making up for his lack of power.
Dillard will need to spend the draft process and training camp in the weight room. He’s not powerful enough to handle some of the stronger pass rushers. He’s a liability in pass protection until he builds that power to contain bigger defensive ends. If he does gain that power, he could be a serviceable starter in the future. If not, he’ll be a great depth piece regardless for the Jets.
Round Seven, 195th Pick: Kingsley Keke, DT, Texas A&M
Along with the switch to a 4-3 comes a need for a second defensive tackle. Leonard Williams will likely move inside to a DT role, but unless the Jets want to give Nathan Shepherd (who showed absolutely nothing in his rookie year as a 24 year old) a starting role, they’ll need a second DT to fill the vacancy.
Now, granted the difficulty of finding starting caliber players in the seventh round, Kingsley Keke probably won’t be that guy in 2019. But, you never know, and the Jets don’t have much to lose with this pick. Keke put up 51 tackles with 7 sacks, 11 tackles for loss in his senior season.
Keke will be playing in the Senior Bowl as a late call up, and the opportunity is huge for him. He can either catapult himself into a round 3-4 prospect, or he’ll stay towards the later end of the draft. Also, this is one of the coolest names I’ve ever seen in a draft prospect.