The only appropriate New York Jets depth chart is one that features a full crop of incoming rookies the 2021 NFL draft will supply.
Reviewing the New York Jets depth chart prior to April 29 is sort of like watching The Office without Michael Scott. What’s the damn point? Michael Scott is The Office, just as Tony Soprano is The Sopranos and Larry David is the genius behind Seinfeld (sorry, Jerry).
Jets X-Factor has produced pre-draft Jets depth charts as of late for fans to consume. Some of the responses were predictable:
- “Damn, what a terrible roster.”
- “Least-talented depth chart in the NFL.”
- “Same old Jets.”
OK, so perhaps I’m paraphrasing for clarity a bit. Just understand that the responses were overwhelmingly negative with little foresight on the big talent accumulator still to come.
The NFL draft needs to be described as the lifeblood of every organization. One general manager who understands this notion while also preaching it as much as possible is none other than Joe Douglas.
The 2021 version will showcase Douglas’s second crack at the draft in the big-boy chair, which means any evaluation of the Jets’ current depth chart is incomplete.
Jets depth chart with 7-round mock
1-2. Zach Wilson (QB-BYU)
1-23. Greg Newsome (CB-Northwestern)
2-34. Wyatt Davis (IOL-Ohio State)
3-66. Carlos Basham Jr. (EDGE-Wake Forest)
3-87. Chazz Surratt (LB-North Carolina)
4-108. Hunter Long (TE-Boston College)
5-147. Dazz Newsome (WR-North Carolina)
5-155. Ambry Thomas (CB-Michigan)
6-187. Adrian Ealy (T-Oklahoma)
6-227. Justin Hilliard (LB-Ohio State)
- Zach Wilson
- Mike White
- James Morgan
It all begins with Roger Goodell announcing Zach Wilson‘s name in the two-hole. Jets X-Factor will have plenty of film breakdowns to come on the BYU standout, but for now, understand that it’s his anticipation, special release and ball-velocity variety that separates him from the rest of the quarterback class.
New York will most likely sign a veteran backup, perhaps Brian Hoyer, while Mike White and James Morgan fill out the rest of the quarterback room.
- Ty Johnson
- La’Mical Perine
- Tevin Coleman
- Josh Adams
- Pete Guerriero
Interestingly, this mock doesn’t include a running back. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Douglas invested a mid-round pick on La’Mical Perine a year ago, and Ty Johnson’s ability (especially his speed) should allow the Jets to feel comfortable enough to go without another rookie back.
Tevin Coleman, a veteran who fully understands Mike LaFleur‘s offense, completing the trio fits the bill.
- Trevon Wesco
Trevon Wesco’s fullback duties appear safe heading into the 2021 season. He’s a reliable blocker from the fullback or H-back spot—something LaFleur should lean heavily on in his offense.
- Chris Herndon
- Tyler Kroft
- Hunter Long
- Ryan Griffin
- Daniel Brown
- Connor Davis
Douglas should hop all over tight end Hunter Long if he makes it to pick No. 108. The 6-foot-5, 254-pound Boston College product would be a perfect No. 2 in LaFleur’s system—although he’d have to battle it out with Tyler Kroft and Ryan Griffin in August.
Long led all of college football with 89 targets in 2020, but it’s his blocking that should be most appealing for the Jets. He’s not overly athletic, either. The kid simply does many things well, and LaFleur’s No. 2 tight end spots calls for that exact prototype.
- Corey Davis (Z)
- Denzel Mims (X)
- Jamison Crowder (S)
- Keelan Cole
- Braxton Berrios
- Vyncint Smith
- Dazz Newsome
- Jeff Smith
- Lawrence Cager
- Josh Malone
- Josh Doctson
- Jaleel Scott
- D.J. Montgomery
- Manasseh Bailey
Curtis Samuel was high on my list of free agents for the Jets. New York opted for Corey Davis instead, which makes sense if a true No. 1 receiver is the goal. The problem now is that something is severely lacking at the position.
LaFleur has nobody to assume jet-motion duties.
As great as Jamison Crowder is from the slot, he’s not a jet-motion weapon. The Jets need an X-Factor weapon that can play slot, catch balls downfield and also mix it up in the rushing attack.
Braxton Berrios was that guy a year ago and looks to still be that guy now, but a fifth-round choice spent on North Carolina’s Dazz Newsome could change everything.
Newsome is a 5-foot-11, 190-pound threat who worked primarily out of the slot for the Tar Heels in 2020. He’s also a punt returner that comes to the football party with great hips. This kid could immediately fill a punt return and jet-motion role while chipping in from the slot.
- Mekhi Becton (LT)
- George Fant (RT)
- Chuma Edoga
- Conor McDermott
- Adrian Ealy
Sure, it’d be nice to watch Christian Darrisaw drop to No. 23. But if it happens, does Douglas pull the trigger on a tackle that early? Interior offensive linemen are desperately needed, as are cornerbacks and linebackers.
The better bet is snagging a developmental tackle later in the draft. Oklahoma’s Adrian Ealy fits that developmental role incredibly well. Ealy’s athletic enough to pull off a wide-zone scheme at 325 pounds, but his overall technique and strength need work.
Twenty-twenty captain George Fant can hold down the right side with very few concerns from me—especially with what’s coming from LaFleur (athletic tackles required).
Interior offensive linemen
- Connor McGovern (C)
- Wyatt Davis (RG)
- Alex Lewis (LG)
- Greg Van Roten
- Cameron Clark
- Dan Feeney
- James Murray
- Corey Levin
Other than quarterback, obviously, cornerback tops the list of needs. A close second would come down to linebacker or interior offensive line.
Ohio State’s Wyatt Davis in the 34th spot would allow Douglas to plug the right guard position for quite some time moving forward. If Alijah Vera-Tucker is there at No. 23, one wonders how fast it takes Douglas to turn in the card. Then again, there are three other top-flight interior offensive linemen who could be plucked at 34.
Davis is the better scheme fit over Creed Humphrey and Landon Dickerson. Humphrey is just a tad bigger than Davis, but Dickerson is much bigger. Both guys would suit a gap scheme much more flawlessly. For Davis’s zone-scheme fit projection and his projection that matches No. 34, it’s the Ohio State player who gets the nod.
Overall, a Davis, Connor McGovern and Alex Lewis starting trio isn’t too bad. With Greg Van Roten, Cameron Clark and Dan Feeney behind them, suddenly, this area of the depth chart feels deep.
Interior defensive linemen
- Quinnen Williams (3-TECH)
- Foley Fatukasi (1-TECH)
- Sheldon Rankins
- Nathan Shepherd
- Tanzel Smart
No incoming rookies head to the interior of the defensive line, and that’s pretty much fine. Quinnen Williams, Foley Fatukasi, Sheldon Rankins and Nathan Shepherd are more than enough in the new 4-3 scheme. Plus, Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich can kick in John Franklin-Myers and Kyle Phillips when needed (subpackages).
- Carl Lawson
- John Franklin-Myers
- Vinny Curry
- Carlos Basham Jr.
- Bryce Huff
- Kyle Phillips
- Jabari Zuniga
- Sharif Finch
- John Daka
The Jets lose one Basham and gain another. With Tarell Basham now making his professional home in Dallas, Carlos Basham Jr. joins the edge party as the Jets’ first third-round selection.
The Wake Forest standout clocks in at 281 pounds—an ideal weight for one of Saleh’s defensive ends. He’s a power guy who can immediately rotate with Franklin-Myers, opposite Carl Lawson.
Look at the depth of the edge spot. It’s amazing where this unit will be with an incoming rookie after featuring such a weak look over the last several years.
- C.J. Mosley (MIKE)
- Jarrad Davis (SAM)
- Chazz Surratt (WILL)
- Blake Cashman
- Justin Hilliard
- Noah Dawkins
- Del’Shawn Phillips
As much as everybody wants to devalue the linebacker position in the NFL—especially if it’s a 4-3 front—it’s still critical to success. C.J. Mosley simply cannot be depended upon after missing two years. But even if he is ready to roll, more bodies are needed.
The Jets’ second third-rounder is Chazz Surratt in this mock. Surratt is a lighter linebacker who used to be a quarterback. He’s smart, flies around and could fit the WILL perfectly.
Additionally, Ohio State’s Justin Hilliard could add much-needed depth.
- Bryce Hall
- Greg Newsome
- Javelin Guidry (S)
- Bless Austin
- Lamar Jackson
- Ambry Thomas
- Justin Hardee
- Kyron Brown
- Zane Lewis
The key to this specific mock draft is the No. 23 selection. Northwestern’s Greg Newsome drops just enough (depending on which mocks are referenced) for Douglas to hop all over him.
At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Newsome is long and attacks the ball—a perfect fit for Saleh’s back-end (Cover 4, Cover 3, etc.). Understanding how deep interior offensive line is in the draft, a cornerback at 23 makes the most sense. Now, one just has to make it to that spot.
Michigan’s Ambry Thomas also joins the group as the Jets’ second fifth-round pick. A physical cornerback, Thomas is also the type Saleh would want in a corner.
- Marcus Maye (FS)
- Ashtyn Davis (SS)
- Lamarcus Joyner
- Bennett Jackson
- J.T. Hassell
- Elijah Campbell
- Saquan Hampton
With no incoming rookies, the question at safety revolves around Marcus Maye’s partner. Will it be young Ashtyn Davis or veteran Lamarcus Joyner who starts? Either way, expect a big nickel and/or big dime package to show face in 2021 (three safeties on the field at once).
- Sam Ficken (K)
- Chase McLaughlin (K)
- Braden Mann (P)
- Thomas Hennessy (LS)
The Jets still need to find a kicker. This mock doesn’t have one coming which means one of the two will have to step up this summer and grab hold of the job.