Ikem Ekwonu, NFL Draft, New York Jets, Mock Draft, Podcast
Ikem Ekwonu, NFL Draft, New York Jets, Getty Images, Jet X Graphic

The New York Jets should pass on the offensive tackle position at the top of the NFL draft

NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu, Alabama’s Evan Neal, and Mississippi State’s Charles Cross are not only the three best offensive tackle prospects in the 2022 NFL draft, but they are three of the draft’s best overall prospects as well.

And the New York Jets shouldn’t draft any of them.

Despite all three players possessing more than enough talent to be quality starters, New York currently doesn’t have the room in its lineup for a top-10 rookie. George Fant and Mekhi Becton will battle throughout training camp for the left tackle spot, while the loser of the competition will move over to the right side.

By all indications, the Jets have no immediate plans to move on from Fant or Becton.

Becton is returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for all but one half of a single game in 2021. Before his injury, Becton showed plenty of promise and a sky-high ceiling, making it unlikely that general manager Joe Douglas gives up on his first-ever draft pick so soon.

Meanwhile, the team reportedly loves Fant, and if he wins the left tackle job outright, he will likely be rewarded with a major contract extension from New York.

Even if the team plans to move on from either of its starting tackles after 2022, that still leaves whatever tackle they draft on the bench for their first season.

Planning ahead and preparing an eventual replacement for Fant or Becton is not a bad idea in a vacuum, but the Jets currently have too many other immediate needs to use premium assets on a backup. Gaps remain at defensive end, wide receiver, defensive tackle, and safety, with all four spots lacking starters. New York needs to finish building its starting lineup before starting to worry about depth in other areas.

Drafting another tackle for depth is sound logic, and the Jets will likely take one at some point in the 2022 draft. However, that depth can be found in the middle or later rounds for a wildly cheaper cost of acquisition than a top-10 pick.

Premium assets are at a premium for a reason, and after winning just four games last year, the Jets can’t afford to use one of their premium assets on a player who will make little to no early impact.

The Oklahoma Drill Podcast continues its preview of the 2022 NFL draft with a complete analysis of the offensive and defensive line classes.

New York Jets, Mock Draft Simulator, Offseason Tool, Jets X-Factor, Deebo Samuel

With a brain trust that values line-play in the highest regard and various needs in the trenches, New York is all but certain to add multiple linemen at the end of April.

Tune in to the full show for breakdowns of the best Jets-fits at OT, IOL, DE, and DT.

Audio Version available to members only: Learn more here

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Andrew Golden is a film analyst for Jets X-Factor with a focus on the NFL Draft, prospect evaluations and breaking down scheme fits. He also co-hosts the Oklahoma Drill Podcast with Vitor Paiva and Matt Mauro. Email: agoldenjets[at]gmail.com
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JesseOwen
JesseOwen
5 months ago

What if Evan Neal is your center instead of Linderbaum? What if Ikem ekwonu is your budget replacement for Fant that allows you to trade for Deboo Samuel.
The answer to not drafting OL even when there the best available player is to trade back.
In trading back I want to risk three injured players that were the best prospects at their position before getting hurt.
Stingley was considered a better prospect than Sauce Gardner who could go as high as #3.
Jameson at WR and instead of Evan Neal although he makes sense at Center for the Jets I’m taking Jordan Davies size. Although Travon Walker is the better fit with Carl Lawson returning.
Sauce Gardner and Hamilton is what the defense needs.
I think trading late round picks for a #1 receiver that isn’t deebo Samuel is a smart strategy think about when we landed Brandon Marshall.
I would reach at #35 for Breece Hall.
The Safety Lewis Cine will still be there at #38.
I’m willing to draft the best available players that fell if we trade back.
If I make the Samuel Trade I commit to trading up all my late round picks to get as many starting players as possible.
I would double up at wr and get Samuel and Jameson or Samuel and Metcalf if I can fill all my positions of need.
I hope Douglas pulls off a slick move that no one can deny will improve our team to a contender soon enough.

Rick Myles
Rick Myles
5 months ago

Agree should not take an OT in 1st round. But take one in 2nd round. Becton has all the signs of being a bust. Another red flag … the guy doesn’t show up for voluntary workout after missing almost the entire season? Doesn’t even bother to show his coaches that he at least cares a little.