Predicting the New York Jets’ 2022 draft class based on Joe Douglas’ tendencies
All breakdowns on Joe Douglas’ drafting tendencies:
- Analyzing Douglas’ valuation of a prospect’s Relative Athletic Score (RAS)
- List of prospects Douglas might avoid based on RAS
- List of prospects Douglas might favor based on RAS
- Analyzing Douglas’ valuation of a prospect’s age
- Analyzing Douglas’ tendency to draft team captains
- List of “Joe Douglas guys” who perfectly match Douglas’ preferences
- List of prospects who have a profile that suggests Douglas will avoid them
- Analyzing Douglas’ valuation of collegiate production versus untapped potential
It’s time to put all of that knowledge to good use in the form of a predictive mock draft.
Let’s don our Joe Douglas caps and predict all nine Jets draft picks with Douglas’ tendencies in mind.
The Jet X Offseason Simulator was used for this mock.
Round 1, Pick 4: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Douglas has shown a strong preference for drafting elite athletes in the early stages of the draft. Outside of Zach Wilson (who did not complete pre-draft testing), Douglas’ other four selections in rounds 1-2 combined for an average Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.53 out of 10.
Thibodeaux has the requisite athleticism to be an early Douglas pick with his 9.63 RAS. The Oregon product lit up the combine with a 4.58 forty time at 6-foot-4 and 254 pounds while also leading his position group with 27 reps on the bench press.
Douglas doesn’t just want to see athletic potential from his high draft picks. In 2021, he also strongly leaned toward players who offered a track record of dominant production in college. The Jets’ 2021 draft picks combined for an average PFF grade of 80.0 in their final college season, ranking fifth-highest out of 32 teams.
Thibodeaux has the dominant production to back up his tantalizing athleticism. His 23.2% pass-rush win rate in 2021 ranked sixth-best out of 133 qualified Power-5 edge rushers. PFF scored him with an 83.2 overall grade in 2021.
If Thibodeaux does not make it to the fourth slot, the next-best option who most closely matches these trends would probably be Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner.
Gardner boasts arguably the best production of any player in the draft regardless of position. Athletically, he didn’t participate in enough drills to qualify for a RAS, but he recorded a 4.41 forty time that stands as the best ever for a cornerback with his height and length.
Due to the Jets’ greater need at the EDGE position compared to cornerback, Thibodeaux wins the tiebreaker over Gardner as the prototype Douglas pick at four. But if Thibodeaux is off the board and Gardner remains there, I believe Gardner would be the Jets’ most likely pick.
Georgia EDGE Travon Walker fits Douglas’ athleticism preference with his historic 9.99 RAS but I’m not sure he was productive enough in college for Douglas to feel comfortable with him at four. Walker had a measly 70.8 PFF grade last season to go with his below-average 10.1% win rate that pales in comparison to other top EDGE prospects.
I don’t think there’s any chance he reaches the fourth slot, but Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson is easily the best match for Douglas in the entire draft. He checks every box and would be the no-doubt pick if he somehow tumbles to the fourth pick.
Round 1, Pick 10: Drake London, WR, USC
This is a tough one to project. I think the Jets will take a wide receiver here, but of the draft’s consensus top-four receiver prospects – Drake London (USC), Garrett Wilson (Ohio State), Jameson Williams (Alabama), and Chris Olave (Ohio State) – none is a perfect match for Douglas. Each player fails to check at least one box that Douglas has tended to look for.
With all of that said, I think London is the closest match.
If Douglas continues to search for superstar producers as he did in 2021, London is as good as it gets in that category. His 91.3 overall PFF grade in 2021 is well ahead of Wilson (84.1), Williams (81.6), and Olave (79.7). London ranked second in the nation and first among Power-5 players with 135.5 receiving yards per game in 2021.
Additionally, London boasts a “breakout age” of 18.1 years old. For wide receivers, this statistic tells us a player’s age at the beginning of his first college season in which he produced at least 20% of his team’s receiving yards (in games that he played).
Breakout age is typically a strong predictor of future success for a wide receiver. London’s breakout age of 18.1 ranks at the 100th percentile all-time and significantly beats out Olave (19.2, 86th percentile), Wilson (20.1, 59th), and Williams (20.4, 51st percentile).
London was also a team captain at USC, which is a trait that Douglas tends to value. Olave was a captain but Williams and Wilson were not.
The knock on London is his athleticism. He did not test this offseason as he recovered from an ankle injury, but based on his tape, it seems likely that his RAS would not have been amazing. His top speed appears lackluster.
However, London’s competitors didn’t light the world on fire in this department either.
Wilson posted a mediocre RAS of 7.77, which is barely above the 2020-21 league average for all draft picks (7.55) and not at the level Douglas has looked for his early-round picks. Olave posted a solid 8.69 RAS but that’s still not quite at Douglas’ typical first-round level (Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker had RAS scores of 9.85 and 9.80).
Williams, a mesmerizing speedster on the field, probably would have posted an incredible RAS but could not test since he is still recovering from an ACL injury.
Still only 20 years old and not set to turn 21 until July, London is also the youngest of these four prospects and is one of the youngest prospects in the entire draft. While Douglas has not leaned extremely heavily toward younger prospects, he has shown a slight lean in that direction, particularly with his early picks.
London’s production, team captain status, and age make him the most likely wide receiver to be selected by New York in my opinion.
Round 2, Pick 35: Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut
UConn defensive tackle Travis Jones checks a lot of boxes for the Jets. He’s got a 9.40 RAS, was a team captain for the Huskies, and played under the Jets’ coaching staff with the National Team at the Senior Bowl.
Jones is one of the best two-way defensive tackle prospects in the draft, offering potential as both a run defender and pass rusher. In 2021, he ranked at the 98th percentile among qualified FBS defensive tackles with an 86.8 PFF run-defense grade while also placing at the 92nd percentile with a 78.8 pass-rush grade.
This dual-threat capability makes him a great fit for the Jets.
New York needs a good run defender to recuperate from the loss of Foley Fatukasi, but in Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich‘s aggressive 4-3 defense, everybody must be able to explode off the ball, shoot gaps, and provide some pass-rush pop. There’s no room for sluggish space-eaters just for the sake of run-stuffing.
Jones can play in the middle of the Jets’ defensive line and provide the run defense that they need without sacrificing athleticism or pass-rushing ability. He ran a 4.92 in the forty-yard dash at 325 pounds.
Round 2, Pick 38: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
Jaquan Brisker is another “Joe Douglas guy”, boasting a 9.14 RAS in addition to his team captain status at Penn State. Like Jones, he also played under the Jets’ coaching staff at the Senior Bowl.
Brisker has the size (6-foot-1, 199 pounds), speed (4.49 forty), and strength (22 bench reps) to handle a multitude of roles at the safety position, which makes him a great fit for a Jets defense that asks for versatility out of its two safeties rather than tethering them to distinct roles.
Allowing a 46.8 passer rating on throws into his coverage last season (98th percentile among safeties), Brisker offers a track record of elite coverage production in college.
Round 3, Pick 69: Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
Through his first two drafts, Douglas’ high standard for athleticism carried all the way into the third round. We have yet to see him draft a player with a RAS below 8.68 prior to the fourth round. I’d expect that trend to continue in a 2022 draft that is absolutely loaded with fantastic athletes.
The Jets need depth and long-term security at the offensive tackle position. I think they’ll address the need fairly early, although not in the first round. Here, I have them filling the hole with another top-end athlete in Washington State’s Abraham Lucas.
Lucas boasts a 9.73 RAS on the strength of his 5.00 forty time at 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds. He also shined in the three-cone with a time of 7.25 (98th percentile all-time among offensive linemen), which is notable for the Jets since the three-cone is typically a valued drill for offensive linemen in a zone-blocking scheme.
Lucas must improve in the run game but he was outstanding as a pass-blocker in 2021, giving up only nine pressures all year. His 1.89% allowed pressure rate ranked at the 98th percentile among Power-5 offensive tackles and even beat out first-round prospects like Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu.
Round 4, Pick 111: Mario Goodrich, CB, Clemson
Now that we’ve arrived on day three of the draft, we can expect Douglas to start taking chances on players who don’t have noteworthy athleticism. His 2020-21 picks from rounds four through seven had an average RAS of 6.69, including seven players with a RAS below the league average of 7.55 and only three players with a RAS of 8.0+.
However, if Douglas is going to gamble on a lesser athlete during the draft’s third day, that player likely needs to have a remarkable off-the-field reputation through their status as a team captain. Of Douglas’ seven draft picks with a RAS below 7.55, six of them were team captains.
Mario Goodrich was a very productive cornerback at Clemson who only allowed a 49.0 passer rating into his coverage in 2021, coughing up zero touchdowns and snagging two interceptions. He’ll drop due to his 5.03 RAS, but as a team captain for the Tigers, he’s the type of guy Douglas will welcome into the locker room.
Goodrich comes from a zone-heavy defensive scheme at Clemson, matching the preference that Douglas showed through his signing of Seattle Seahawks cornerback D.J. Reed in free agency. Reed was one of the NFL’s most zone-heavy cornerbacks in 2021.
Round 4, Pick 117: Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame
Kyren Williams is another player who checks Douglas’ day-three boxes. His woeful 3.48 RAS will send him tumbling down the board but he was a team captain at Notre Dame and had an extremely productive college career.
Williams racked up 2,799 yards and 31 touchdowns from scrimmage over the past two seasons. Most notably, he offers excellent passing-game potential in the NFL. Williams ranked eighth among FBS running backs with 42 receptions in 2021 and is known for his impressive skills as a pass-blocker.
The Jets’ running backs struggled mightily with drops and pass-blocking in 2021, so Williams addresses New York’s specific needs at the position.
Round 5, Pick 146: Thayer Munford, IOL, Ohio State
Ohio State offensive lineman Thayer Munford had a subpar RAS of 6.73 but checks a lot of boxes that Douglas will love in a day-three offensive line pick. Munford was a team captain and offers positional versatility, having played right tackle, left tackle, and left guard in his five-year Buckeyes career.
One consistent trait that we have seen Douglas value in his offensive line additions (both in the draft and free agency) is the ability to limit penalties. Douglas loves to add linemen with low penalty counts. Munford checks that box, being called for only two flags across 1,216 snaps from 2020 to 2021.
Munford is no slam-dunk to succeed in the NFL after a down 2021 season (mediocre PFF pass-blocking grade of 66.3) despite his advantage as a fifth-year player. He simply gives the Jets’ offensive line a versatile developmental piece that can hopefully develop into a useful backup.
Round 5, Pick 163: J.T. Woods, S, Baylor
Douglas closed out his 2021 draft by gambling on a high-RAS defensive player in Jonathan Marshall, so we’ll do the same thing here after going for a trio of less athletic prospects.
The owner of a 9.43 RAS, Baylor safety J.T. Woods gives another injection of youth to one of the Jets’ most deprived positions.
Woods is a lanky safety at 6-foot-2 and only 195 pounds but is super athletic with a 4.36 forty time and a 40-inch vertical. He’s a project, as he is still only 21 years old and was relatively unproductive in college (mediocre PFF grade of 67.3 in 2021, had a very bad career missed tackle rate of 20.1%).
Here’s my final prediction for the Jets’ 2022 draft class:
- Round 1, Pick 4: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
- Round 1, Pick 10: Drake London, WR, USC
- Round 2, Pick 35: Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut
- Round 2, Pick 38: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
- Round 3, Pick 69: Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
- Round 4, Pick 111: Mario Goodrich, CB, Clemson
- Round 4, Pick 117: Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame
- Round 5, Pick 146: Thayer Munford, IOL, Ohio State
- Round 5, Pick 163: J.T. Woods, S, Baylor