What if the New York Jets only drafted offensive players?
Last week, I put together a 2022 New York Jets mock draft in which every pick was used on a defensive player. It was an interesting exercise to identify some potential defensive targets for the Jets at every stage of the draft.
How about we do the same thing for the offensive side of the football?
Let’s hop right into it – a complete offense-only Jets mock draft.
And let me be clear: I am not predicting nor suggesting such a class. Obviously, this will not happen and probably never will happen, nor should it. This is merely a fun, hypothetical exercise to identify some offensive targets for New York at each of their nine current pick slots.
Nine offensive picks in a row, coming right up.
Round 1, Pick 4: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina St.
Ikem Ekwonu was Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded Power-5 left tackle in 2021, earning a 91.6 overall grade.
The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Ekwonu offers a tantalizing blend of athleticism and power. He would be a good fit in the Jets’ wide-zone offense. Ekwonu’s 95.9 zone-blocking grade at PFF was the best among all FBS tackles, regardless of snap count, conference, or which side they played on. That makes 626 qualifiers.
Ekwonu did a great job in pass protection as he allowed 13 pressures over 500 snaps in protection (2.6% pressure rate).
Drafting Ekwonu would give the Jets a wealth of options. One option would be to trade George Fant while his value is at its peak and slide Ekwonu in at right tackle (though RT would be new for Ekwonu as he only played one snap there in college).
However, my plan would be to start Ekwonu at right guard. While Ekwonu did not play right guard at NC State, he did start four games at left guard in 2020 and also played guard in high school. Ekwonu could replace Fant at tackle in 2023 once Fant’s contract expires. In the meantime, I think he would make an excellent guard.
Regardless of what the Jets choose to do, I think Ekwonu is the best offensive prospect that will be available to them at No. 4 when accounting for positional value.
Personally, I am more impressed with Ekwonu than Alabama’s Evan Neal. While Neal has all the potential in the world, I think he needs far more technical refinement than Ekwonu, who is similarly intriguing from a physical standpoint but has a more polished game at the moment.
Round 1, Pick 10: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
There are a handful of wide receivers I like in this spot, but the class is deep enough to where I think the Jets can still get a great prospect at the top of the second round.
That leaves us with the player who I think is the best offensive player in the class (without accounting for positional value): Tyler Linderbaum.
Linderbaum’s tape at Iowa is incredible. He is consistently excellent in nearly every possible facet of the position, and the numbers back up what you see from him on the field.
PFF scored Linderbaum with a 95.4 overall grade in 2021, the highest of any FBS offensive lineman regardless of position or playing time (1,641 qualifiers). No other center even reached a 90.0 overall grade.
The 6-foot-3, 291-pound Linderbaum is a swift mover who would join Ekwonu as another fantastic fit in the Jets’ wide-zone running scheme. Linderbaum’s 96.1 zone-blocking grade at PFF was the best of any FBS center.
Linderbaum also dominated in pass protection, allowing seven pressures over 451 pass-blocking snaps (1.6% pressure rate).
Fans will love this one: Linderbaum had zero penalties in 2021. Over his career, Linderbaum had two penalties across 2,317 offensive snaps.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas is a former offensive lineman who has preached since the day he walked through the doors in Florham Park that he wants to build the franchise through the trenches. He also promised Zach Wilson that the team would lift him rather than the other way around.
By rounding out his three-year offensive line overhaul with a double-up of Ekwonu and Linderbaum in the first round, Douglas would be putting his money where his mouth is.
Imagine an opening-week offensive line of Mekhi Becton, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Tyler Linderbaum, Ikem Ekwonu, and George Fant. Now that is how you support a second-year quarterback.
Again, we’re only being hypothetical here – drafting two offensive linemen in the top-10, including a center at No. 10, would be a shock – but it’s an entertaining idea to think about.
Round 2, Pick 35: David Bell, WR, Purdue
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound David Bell would give the Jets a trusty playmaker on the outside who has good hands and can beat man coverage (two weaknesses for the Jets’ receivers in 2021).
Bell had a career drop rate of only 4.5% at Purdue. In 2021, he averaged 3.29 yards per route run when covered man-to-man, which ranked 10th-best out of 122 qualified Power-5 wide receivers.
Round 2, Pick 38: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado St.
Colorado State’s Trey McBride is a 6-foot-4, 260-pound tight end who can give the Jets what they need from the position in their scheme. McBridge is a solid run blocker and outstanding pass blocker. He allowed only two pressures over 188 career snaps in pass protection (1.1% pressure rate).
As a receiver, McBride can be the safety blanket Wilson needs. McBride had a 3.2% drop rate in 2021 (91 catches, 3 drops) and also snagged 17 of his 32 “contested” targets (53.1%).
Round 3, Pick 69: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio St.
Long Island native Jeremy Ruckert projects as a perfect fit to play in-line tight end in the Jets’ scheme. He is known as a strong blocker and has the upside to become a solid receiver. Ruckert offers a 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame to go with his 3.6% career drop rate as a Buckeye.
Round 4, Pick 107: Jaxson Kirkland, OT, Washington
Any NFL team can use as much offensive line depth as it can get, and it also never hurts to build a pipeline of talent at the position; keeping developing players waiting in the wings.
Washington’s Jaxson Kirkland projects as a worthwhile developmental offensive lineman for the Jets. The 6-foot-7, 310-pounder is known as a good athlete (making him a good scheme fit) and played extensively at both left tackle and right guard in college.
Round 4, Pick 113: Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
Romeo Doubs of Nevada gives the Jets a potential deep threat. Doubs tied for third among all FBS wide receivers with eight deep touchdowns (20+ yards downfield) in 2021. In total, he caught 12 of his 25 deep targets (48.0%) for 444 yards and eight scores.
Round 5, Pick 144: Rachaad White, RB, Arizona St.
The Jets need a running back with proficient passing-game skills to replace Ty Johnson as the complement to Michael Carter. Johnson was relied upon to handle a bevy of targets and blocking reps despite struggling mightily with drops and blitz pickups.
Arizona State’s Rachaad White was a standout receiver out of the backfield in 2021. He ranked seventh among FBS running backs with 43 receptions and fourth with 456 receiving yards, doing it all on only 48 targets.
White had a drop rate of just 5.6% and was dynamic with the ball in his hands, ranking third at his position with 16 missed tackles forced after the catch. In addition, he only allowed two pressures over 63 career pass-blocking snaps (3.2% pressure rate).
Round 5, Pick 161: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Justyn Ross has significant questions to answer regarding his durability and gradual production decline at Clemson, but he offers a lot of upside.
Ross was the No. 1 recruit out of the state of Alabama in 2018 (via 247 Sports), and as a true freshman at Clemson, he caught 46 passes for 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns.
The complete New York Jets all-offense mock draft
Here’s a look at our all-offense New York Jets draft haul:
- R1, P4: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina St.
- R1, P10: Tyler Linderbuam, C, Iowa
- R2, P35: David Bell, WR, Purdue
- R2, P38: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado St.
- R3, P69: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio St.
- R4, P107: Jaxson Kirkland, OT, Washington
- R4, P113: Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
- R5, P144: Rachaad White, RB, Arizona St.
- R5, P161: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson