Ikem Ekwonu, NC State, NY Jets, NFL Mock Draft
Ikem Ekwonu, NC State Football, NFL Draft, New York Jets

Here’s how much production New York Jets fans should realistically expect to get out of the team’s 9 picks in 2022

The New York Jets are currently in possession of nine picks in the 2022 NFL draft with one day remaining until the first-round proceedings kick off in Las Vegas. Here are those nine picks:

  • Round 1, Pick 4
  • Round 1, Pick 10
  • Round 2, Pick 35
  • Round 2, Pick 38
  • Round 3, Pick 69
  • Round 4, Pick 111
  • Round 4, Pick 117
  • Round 5, Pick 146
  • Round 5, Pick 163

Sometimes, NFL fans set unrealistic expectations for their favorite team’s draft classes. They often seem to think that every player is going to be a 10-year cornerstone.

In reality, a draft class is a grand slam if it features even just two or three long-term centerpieces. The league-wide batting average in the draft is much lower than many seem to realize. No team should be expected to hit on every pick – or even half of them, for that matter.

I figured that now is a good time to set some realistic expectations for each of the Jets’ nine draft picks. How much production should each pick be expected to yield?

Let’s run through the Jets’ current selections and analyze the average historical yield from picks made in that part of the draft. We’re going to focus on data from the past 20 drafts (2002 to 2021).

Explanation

For each pick, we’ll analyze data from historical selections made not only in that exact slot but in a small range of neighboring slots as well (i.e. picks 3-5 instead of just pick 4).

This gives us a larger and more informative data sample, helping us to avoid the potential mistake of overvaluing the data from any slots that stand out as an outlier (abnormally better or worse production than neighboring slots).

We’ll use Pro Football Reference’s “Approximate Value” statistic (“AV” for short) as our guide for this study. It’s a one-number estimation of a player’s cumulative impact.

For each pick range we look at, I will list the average AV produced per season by players drafted in that range since 2002 – but only over their first five seasons in the league. This way we’re not punishing the older players for declining late in their careers.

I will then list the players in the data sample who came closest to matching the data sample’s AV average, giving us a visualization of what the league-average pick in that range looks like.

Time to hop in.

Round 1, Pick 4

  • Slots analyzed: Picks 3 to 5
  • First-Five-Year AV: 1,944 AV in 270 seasons
  • Average AV per season: 7.2

Players selected from picks 3 to 5 have averaged 7.2 AV per season across their first five years after being drafted, which is approximately the production level of an above-average starter.

Here are some of the players drafted from slots 3 to 5 since 2002 who came closest to 7.2 AV per season over their first five years:

  • OT Lane Johnson (7.6)
  • LB A.J. Hawk (7.6)
  • CB Terrence Newman (7.6)
  • G Brandon Scherff (7.4)
  • RB Leonard Fournette (7.0)
  • OT Levi Brown (7.0)
  • WR Braylon Edwards (7.0)
  • WR Sammy Watkins (6.8)
  • DT Dewayne Robertson (6.8)

Those six players create the baseline for what a player drafted from picks 3-5 is expected to do.

For further reference, here are some players who had exactly 7 AV in the 2021 season (regardless of draft position):

  • 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk
  • Steelers WR Chase Claypool
  • 49ers LB Azeez Al-Shaair
  • Raiders EDGE Yannick Ngakoue
  • Panthers OT Taylor Moton
  • Bengals DT D.J. Reader
  • Patriots G Shaq Mason

Round 1, Pick 10

  • Slots analyzed: Picks 9 to 11
  • First-Five-Year AV: 1,890 AV in 270 seasons
  • Average AV per season: 7.0

Players selected from picks 9 to 11 have averaged 7.0 AV per season across their first five years after being drafted. Interestingly enough, it’s a minuscule drop-off from the 3-5 range.

Here are some of the players drafted from slots 9 to 11 since 2002 who came closest to 7.0 AV per season over their first five years:

  • CB Marshon Lattimore (7.6)
  • OT Taylor Lewan (7.6)
  • CB Marcus Trufant (7.6)
  • OT Jedrick Wills (7.0)
  • OT Anthony Davis (6.8)
  • RB C.J. Spiller (6.8)
  • WR Michael Crabtree (6.8)
  • OT Levi Jones (6.8)
  • OT D.J. Fluker (6.6)

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Round 2, Pick 35

  • Slots analyzed: Picks 34 to 36
  • First-Five-Year AV: 1,454 AV in 270 seasons
  • Average AV per season: 5.4

Players selected from picks 34 to 36 have averaged 5.4 AV per season across their first five years after being drafted, which is approximately the production level of an average starter.

Here are some of the players drafted from slots 34 to 36 since 2002 who came closest to 5.4 AV per season over their first five years:

  • G Joel Bitonio (5.8)
  • LB Courtney Upshaw (5.8)
  • CB Charles Tillman (5.8)
  • OT Cam Robinson (5.4)
  • TE Coby Fleener (5.0)
  • G Will Hernandez (4.8)
  • LB Boss Bailey (4.8)

For further reference, here are some players who had exactly 5 AV in the 2021 season:

  • Patriots WR Nelson Agholor
  • Jets WR Braxton Berrios
  • Jets DT Foley Fatukasi
  • Ravens C Bradley Bozeman
  • Chargers TE Jared Cook
  • Vikings TE Tyler Conklin
  • Cowboys S Jayron Kearse

Round 2, Pick 38

  • Slots analyzed: Picks 37 to 39
  • First-Five-Year AV: 1,189 AV in 270 seasons
  • Average AV per season: 4.4

Players selected from picks 37 to 39 have averaged 4.4 AV per season across their first five years after being drafted, which is approximately the production level of a below-average starter. It’s a huge drop-off from the 34-36 range despite only being a few picks back.

Here are some of the players drafted from slots 37 to 39 since 2002 who came closest to 4.4 AV per season over their first five years:

  • G Cody Ford (4.7)
  • S Marcus Maye (4.6)
  • TE Zach Miller (4.6)
  • S Kyle Dugger (4.5)
  • RB Ronald Jones (4.5)
  • G Chilo Rachal (4.4)
  • CB Sean Murphy-Bunting (4.0)
  • LB Manti Te’o (4.0)

For further reference, here are some players who had exactly 4 AV in the 2021 season:

  • Jets CB Brandin Echols
  • Panthers WR Robby Anderson
  • Cowboys EDGE Tarell Basham
  • Raiders S Johnathan Abram
  • Jaguars EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson
  • 49ers G Tom Compton
  • Ravens RB Devonta Freeman

Round 3, Pick 69

  • Slots analyzed: Picks 68 to 70
  • First-Five-Year AV: 846 AV in 270 seasons
  • Average AV per season: 3.1

Players selected from picks 68 to 70 have averaged 3.1 AV per season across their first five years after being drafted, which is approximately the production level of a low-tier starter, a decent backup, or a starting kicker/punter.

Here are some of the players drafted from slots 68 to 70 since 2002 who came closest to 3.1 AV per season over their first five years:

  • RB Darrell Henderson (3.7)
  • WR Earl Bennett (3.6)
  • S Brandon Jones (3.5)
  • LB Quincy Black (3.4)
  • DT B.J. Hill (3.0)
  • CB Andre’ Goodman (3.0)
  • EDGE Dawuane Smoot (2.8)
  • RB Charles Sims (2.8)
  • P Bryan Anger (2.8)

For further reference, here are some players who had exactly 3 AV in the 2021 season:

  • Colts TE Mo Alie-Cox
  • Seahawks S Ugo Amadi
  • Cowboys P Bryan Anger
  • Bills K Tyler Bass
  • Bears WR Damiere Byrd
  • Jets WR Keelan Cole

Round 4, Pick 111

  • Slots analyzed: Picks 110 to 112
  • First-Five-Year AV: 576 AV in 270 seasons
  • Average AV per season: 2.1

Players selected from picks 110 to 112 have averaged 2.1 AV per season across their first five years after being drafted, which is approximately the production level of a low-to-mid level backup.

Here are some of the players drafted from slots 110 to 112 since 2002 who came closest to 2.1 AV per season over their first five years:

  • LB Kyle Wilber (2.2)
  • RB Joshua Kelley (2.0)
  • CB Kendall Sheffield (2.0)
  • S Tedric Thompson (1.8)
  • WR Demetrius Williams (1.8)

For further reference, here are some players who had exactly 2 AV in the 2021 season:

  • Jets EDGE Ronald Blair
  • Jets LB Jarrad Davis
  • Jets RB Tevin Coleman
  • Dolphins QB Jacoby Brissett
  • Texans TE Jordan Akins
  • Falcons WR Olamide Zaccheus

Picks 117, 146, and 163

At this point, there won’t be much differentiation or many notable player comparisons for any of the upcoming picks, so I’ll just note the AV averages for the next three slots:

  • Round 4, Pick 117 (Slots 116-118): 1.7
  • Round 5, Pick 146 (Slots 145-147): 1.9
  • Round 5, Pick 163 (Slots 162-164): 1.5

Overall expectations for New York Jets’ 2022 draft picks

The moral of the story is simple – keep your expectations tempered for the long-term outlook of any given draft prospect. While each team should be expected to land at least a few hits out of the many lottery tickets they obtain in one draft class, the odds are stacked against each particular individual.

This study can also help us get an idea of what the cumulative expectations should be for this Jets draft class based on their total capital.

Based on our estimations above, the Jets’ nine picks should be expected to produce a combined 34 AV per season over the next five years. That’s about 3.8 AV per season, per player.

Obviously, this class is not going to yield nine equally-producing bottom-half starters (which is about what 3.8 AV would be). The majority of that cumulative impact will be distributed amongst a handful of successful picks.

Let’s say that five of the Jets’ picks become low-level backups who combine for only 1 AV per season apiece; so, 5 AV per season in total. This leaves us with 29 AV to distribute amongst four successful picks.

New York could field two mid-level starters who average 4.5 AV per season apiece (9 AV combined), leaving us with 20 AV per season. The final 20 AV could be spread between two stars/high-level starters who each average 10 AV per season.

There you have it: Five backups/failed picks, two decent starters, and two stars. That’s a realistic baseline for what the 2022 Jets draft class should yield over the coming five years. Anything better would be above-average and anything worse would be below-average.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at]jetsxfactor.com - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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Richard Hausig
Richard Hausig
5 months ago

I love the analytics, especially the way you break them down but I think you got a curve ball last night Mr N. Remember our conversation last week? We got everything AND more! The two defenders will help Wilson more than the new Wilson will and the new Wilson will help a lot.

You know how down I’ve been in this team but last night was inspiring. Im a big believer in a mix of analytics and the traditional stuff but to me character and desire are what’s most important in a football player. JD nailed it all last night. I’m impressed by their collective skill and potential but even more impressed by type of men that they are. This could be the moment we’ve waited (so long) for. Let’s have another great day today!

Peter Buell
Peter Buell
5 months ago

Well then, JD did a helluva job last year with less capital.

Jimjets
Jimjets
5 months ago
Reply to  Michael Nania

Right on. If Zach hits last year is the cornerstone of the turnaround. This year the first floor of the proverbial house.

Peter Buell
Peter Buell
5 months ago
Reply to  Michael Nania

Mike, And I think they have just scratched the surface of what they can become.