Two of Jets X-Factor’s analysts foresee offensive endeavors taking over an eventful opening of the 2022 NFL draft
Ah, a sign of spring that no groundhog can deny… mock drafts.
Granted, the explosion of mock drafts is perhaps one of the biggest signs that the NFL has become a 24-hour/365-day phenomenon, but the pending arrival of the incoming collegiate selections only intensifies once the season ends. The NFL itself offers little reprieve at the end of the Super Bowl festivities, as less than a month separates the Big Game and the Scouting Combine proceedings.
But that’s not going to stop two of Jets X-Factor’s Gang Green analysts from joining the fray as the annual trip to Indianapolis looms. Andrew Golden and I have put together two different seven-round New York Jets mock drafts. Which do you think takes the cake?
- 1st Round (4th overall): S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
- 1st Round (10th overall): WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
- 2nd Round (35th overall): DL Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma
- 2nd Round (38th overall): TE Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina
- 3rd Round (69th overall): IOL Darian Kinnard, Kentucky
- 4th Round (109th overall): WR Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama
- 4th Round (115th overall): LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
- 5th Round (145th overall): EDGE Deangelo Malone, Western Kentucky
- 5th Round (162nd overall): CB Jack Jones, Arizona State
We’re two weeks removed from a Super Bowl that featured two teams that made their way to Los Angeles through strong offensive performances.
The Cincinnati Bengals were a particularly interesting case. Even though they lacked the blocking power to adequately protect Joe Burrow on a consistent basis, they were able to earn an elusive AFC title after surrounding franchise quarterback Joe Burrow with a plethora of weapons, namely his former collegiate teammate Ja’Marr Chase.
New York’s offensive issues are unacceptable as is but become ludicrously unsustainable in today’s modern NFL that thrives on offensive explosions. Can one picture the Jets going blow-for-blow in a clash of offensive titans, i.e. the Buffalo-Kansas City Divisional duel, that is becoming increasingly common in this day and age?
The last truly dangerous homegrown New York offensive threat has been Santana Moss… 2001’s first-round pick. There’s hope that Elijah Moore can end that trend, but the Jets need to use their premier capital, be it their draft surplus or healthy offseason cap space, to bring in players capable of racking up big yardage. Fickle as fantasy football can be, it says a lot that the Jets’ last potent threat amongst drafters was Brandon Marshall.
Thus, my first mock of 2022 centers on offensive playmaker selections.
The early stages of the draft provide opportunities for the Jets to bite into their lack of big box scores. Jameson Williams and Drake London are well worth analyzing, but each is coming off a major injury.
That leaves the well-built Treylon Burks (6-foot-3, 225 lbs.) with a major opportunity to hop up the draft board, a task that shouldn’t be too difficult thanks to his potential for yardage after the catch.
Further down, the Jets have been dealt brutal lessons about the importance of a tight end, not only through the failed Chris Herndon experiment but the divisional success of Dawson Knox, Hunter Henry, and Mike Gesicki.
Isaiah Likely, a key factor in the Chanticleers’ recent success, needs to get stronger but was one of the deadliest pass-catchers in the nation. Another potential mid-major diamond in the rough lies in Jalen Tolbert, who put together a strong opposing effort against the Jets’ staff at the Senior Bowl.
Shrewd asset management has also afforded the Jets an opportunity to hit the reset button on a defense in potential transition. With Jacksonville likely seeking protection for Trevor Lawrence and Detroit and Carolina looking for edge and offensive help, it affords the Jets an opportunity to take a look at the lauded Kyle Hamilton, widely praised as one of the most NFL-ready players in the draft. Hamilton can help the Jets stabilize a defense that has major questions about Marcus Maye‘s future.
More wheeling and dealing allows the Jets to address both sides of the trenches on day two. Perrion Winfrey is coming off an MVP performance in Mobile and can come up especially big if the Jets lose Foley Fatukasi and/or Nathan Shepherd to free agency. Darian Kinnard has earned praise for his versatility and can open new avenues for primary rusher Michael Carter.
- 1st Round (4th overall): WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
- 1st Round (10th overall): CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati
- 2nd Round (35th overall): IOL Zion Johnson, Boston College
- 2nd Round (38th overall): DE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State
- 3rd Round (69th overall): LB Chad Muma, Wyoming
- 4th Round (109th overall): TE Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State
- 4th Round (115th overall): RB Tyler Allgeier, BYU
- 5th Round (145th overall): TE Cade Otten, Washington
- 5th Round (162nd overall): OT Andrew Stueber, Michigan
The modern NFL is won and lost in the passing game, and if the Jets want to reach the pinnacle of the league, they have to improve through the air. With their pair of top ten selections in 2022, they attempt to do just that.
The Jets go to the Ohio well twice by adding Buckeye pass-catcher Garrett Wilson and Bearcat cover-man Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner at picks four and ten respectively.
Wilson profiles as an electric number-one receiver with dangerous downfield speed and run-after-catch skills. Gardner is an athletic marvel with exceptional agility and change-of-direction ability for his 6-foot-3 frame, with blanket cover skills in man or zone to match. Both players would do wonders for the Jets’ passing game, regardless of which unit was on the field.
In the middle rounds, New York adds quality players at positions of need, improving their depth and starting lineup. Zion Johnson and Arnold Ebiketie will improve the trenches greatly. Johnson is a ready-made guard prospect able to start on day one, and Ebiketie is a long, explosive pass rusher with mounds of upside.
Chad Muma and Jeremy Ruckert are possible rookie-starters at linebacker and tight end respectively, while offering immediate depth at worst. Tyler Allgeier brings some much-needed power to the Jets’ backfield, reuniting with his former quarterback Wilson along the way.
To end the class, Gang Green continues to add depth where it’s needed most: tight end and the offensive line. Cade Otton is a big, throwback tight end with freak blocking skills and reliable hands as a receiver. Andrew Stueber is an experienced tackle from an NFL scheme with room to grow into a starting-caliber player with time.
The Jets experienced firsthand what a lack of depth at tight end and tackle can do for an offense in 2021. They definitely don’t want a repeat experience in 2022.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
Andrew Golden is on Twitter @AndrewGolden_17