The New York Jets currently own only one selection on Day 2 of the NFL draft. What should they do with it?
The Jets’ trade-up move to select Alijah Vera-Tucker leaves them in a tough spot on the defensive side of the ball entering the second night of the draft. They still have gaping holes at outside cornerback, slot cornerback, and linebacker, but are now lacking the ammunition to address those problems.
Joe Douglas entered the draft with three Day 2 picks – Nos. 34, 66, and 86 – that could have been largely dedicated to patching the big defensive holes. Now, following the 34th overall selection, the Jets are not slated to pick again until No. 104 overall, the second pick of the fourth round.
If the Jets want to recoup some of the value lost from the Vera-Tucker trade and acquire the necessary capital to boost the defense, trading back from the 34th overall selection could be the smart way to go.
Last year, the Jets moved back 11 spots from No. 48 to No. 59 to snatch a late third-round pick from the Seahawks (No. 101). The Jets then traded that pick to New England for two fourth-rounders (Nos. 125 and 129, used on James Morgan and Cameron Clark) and a 2021 sixth-rounder (No. 186).
Ultimately, the Jets gave up No. 48 (420 points on the trade chart) for Nos. 59, 125, and 129 in addition to No. 186 in the next draft (417 points altogether). Almost a perfectly even swap.
The Jets will come on the clock at No. 34 with a number of surprise fallers on the board. All of these players are still available:
- Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (#19 on NFL Mock Draft Database internet consensus big board)
- Oklahoma St. OL Teven Jenkins (#21)
- Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari (#22)
- Alabama DT Christian Barmore (#27)
- TCU S Trevon Moehrig (#28)
- Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore (#34)
- LSU WR Terrace Marshall (#35)
The 34th overall pick is worth 560 points on the trade chart. Here are some trade-down ideas – just throwing out some food for thought:
- Broncos get No. 34 (for Owusu-Koramoah), Jets get No. 40 and No. 114 (566 points)
- Eagles get No. 34 (for Owusu-Koramoah), Jets get No. 37 and No. 123 (569 points)
- Chargers get No. 34 (for either Ojulari or Moehrig) and No. 143 (totaling 595 points), Jets get No. 47 and No. 77 (635 points)
- Raiders get No. 34 (for either Ojulari or Moehrig), Jets get No. 48 and No. 80 (610 points)
- Lions get No. 34 (for Barmore), Jets get No. 41 and No. 101 (590 points)
It looks like the Jets could definitely attract a lot of interest for Owusu-Koramoah. The Falcons, who sit one spot behind the Jets at No. 35, make a lot of sense for him. A hybrid safety/linebacker with excellent athleticism and coverage skills, Owusu-Koramoah closely resembles Keanu Neal, a player who the Falcons just lost to the Cowboys. So, teams that love Owusu-Koramoah could already be making calls to the Jets in an attempt to get in front of Atlanta.
Denver and Philadelphia are two teams that could look to move up for him. Both teams can stand to improve greatly at linebacker and employ their linebackers in unique ways that would make the most of Owusu-Koramoah’s versatility. Broncos linebacker Josey Jewell led the position with 158 slot snaps last year. Eagles linebackers Alex Singleton and Duke Riley combined to line up outside of the tackle box on about 15% of their defensive snaps.
Detroit could look to move up for Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore. He was widely considered a first-round prospect and is by far the best prospect at the position in a very weak defensive tackle class. The Lions just allowed the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL (27) and their highest-ranked interior defensive lineman in pressures was Nick Williams, who ranked 72nd. Jumping up to No. 34 may be a bit much, but that would allow them to leapfrog the IDL-needy Bengals and Panthers. Atlanta could also consider Barmore, as their defensive line isn’t anything special outside of Grady Jarrett, so that possibility could entice the Lions to get ahead of the Falcons if they absolutely love Barmore.
If the Jets made the short freefall by swapping places with the Lions (No. 41), Broncos (No. 40), or Eagles (No. 37), they would probably get an early fourth-round pick in return. For the Jets to get a third-round pick back, they would have to slide into the mid-second round, likely at least 12 spots according to the trade value chart.
Look out for the Chargers or Raiders to make an aggressive swing for either Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari or TCU safety Trevon Moehrig. Both players were widely considered late-first round talents and appear to be the best remaining players at their positions by a relatively sizable margin. On the edge, the Chargers have to replace current free agent Melvin Ingram, who is deep into his 30s anyway, while the Raiders still could use pass-rush help. At safety, both teams struggled last year.
I’m not sure that a team will trade up to No. 34 for Teven Jenkins or another offensive lineman, as the top of the board is currently loaded with good value options such as Creed Humphrey, Landon Dickerson, Dillon Radunz, Liam Eichenberg, Samuel Cosmi, and Wyatt Davis among others. Defense-needy teams should be the hungriest to move up at the start of Day 2.
Take Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
With all of this talk about teams wanting to come up for Owusu-Koramoah, why don’t the Jets just stay put and take him? They still need a WILL linebacker with great athletic tools and coverage ability, and they went after a similarly small hybrid player to fill the role in Keanu Neal.
As I broke down through the numbers and film, Owusu-Koramoah checks a lot of the boxes that the Jets are looking for at the linebacker position. Without any third-round picks, it will be tougher for the Jets to wait until later to find a linebacker prospect that Robert Saleh can mold a la Fred Warner, so perhaps the best move is to hang tight and give Saleh his guy in the early second round.
Take Teven Jenkins
Hanging tight at No. 34 and using the pick on an offensive player would greatly compromise the present makeup of the defense, but the first priority for the Jets right now is supplementing Zach Wilson. So, if they have to pay the price of fighting through a shaky defensive roster for one year in order to build a stupendous supporting cast for their franchise quarterback, that’s perfectly fine.
Oklahoma State right tackle Teven Jenkins was widely considered a first-round prospect. I had the Jets taking him at No. 23 in my final mock. He had been gaining a lot of steam late in the draft process thanks to his outstanding performance at Oklahoma State’s pro day, but surprisingly did not get taken on the first night.
The Jaguars’ offensive line appears to be set, so unless someone trades up with Jacksonville to get him at No. 33, Jenkins will fall into the Jets’ laps at 34, giving them a chance to completely round out their starting-5 on the offensive line.
Jenkins emerged onto the NFL radar at right tackle, but he played guard for a small amount of time in his redshirt freshman season back in 2017. Logging 146 snaps at right guard and 37 snaps at left guard, Jenkins showed promise as he allowed only one pressure over 109 protection snaps at guard (0.92% rate).
With George Fant penciled in as a decent starting right tackle who fits well in Mike LaFleur’s projected scheme, the Jets could push Jenkins inside to right guard to begin his career. Down the line, he could slide back outside to right tackle once Fant’s time in New York is up.
The Jets’ offensive line from left-to-right if they made this pick: Mekhi Becton, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Connor McGovern, Teven Jenkins, George Fant. You can kick the cornerback and linebacker cans down the road for a year to build a wall like that for your rookie quarterback.
Pick someone else
Personally, I think Jenkins and Owusu-Koramoah are the only players that would be worth selecting at No. 34 instead of trading down, but there are players out there that could have the Jets’ brass thinking otherwise:
- Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari
- Oklahoma EDGE Ronnie Perkins
- Wake Forest EDGE Carlos Basham
- LSU LB Jabril Cox
- Florida St. CB Asante Samuel Jr.
- Georgia CB Tyson Campbell
- North Dakota St. OT Dillon Radunz
- Michigan OT Jalen Mayfield
- Oklahoma IOL Creed Humphrey
- Alabama IOL Landon Dickerson
- North Carolina RB Javonte Williams
What would you do at No. 34?