Top five targets for New York Jets with the 38th overall pick
This morning I woke with a spring in my step; the coffee tasted a little better, the sun shone a little brighter, and push notifications filled my phone about how the New York Jets won round one.
Being crowned champions of the draft on day one doesn’t mean a lot in the long run, but the Jets are a better team today than they were yesterday. How much better is the real question that won’t be answered for a year or two.
With that being said, day one is in the books and it’s time to turn our attention to day two. The Jets may have traded away the 35th overall pick to go up and get Jermaine Johnson, but they still have the 38th (round 2) and 101st (round 3) overall picks to use tonight, two valuable picks that can improve the team in 2022 and beyond.
Here are five players the Jets could target at pick 38.
Nakobe Dean – Linebacker – Georgia
A Georgia linebacker was taken last night, but to my surprise, it was Quay Walker and not Nakobe Dean.
I have Dean as my 16th-best player in the draft, so if the Jets were able to snag him at No. 38 that may be the steal of the draft.
There are some questions around Dean’s size at 5-foot-11 and 229 pounds, but the tape doesn’t lie. Dean is ferocious, quick and a natural leader on the football field. His football IQ is among the best in the draft and his recognition skills will make him an impact player at the next level. Size is his only downfall and that’s almost certainly what kept him out of the first round.
Zach Tom – Offensive Tackle – Wake Forrest
This may be a bit rich for some people, but I firmly believe that Zach Tom will be one of the best offensive linemen to come from this draft.
Technically, Tom is one of the more pro-ready players in the draft, playing with outstanding technique and a firm understanding of leverage and hand placement. He’s not the most dominating presence but he’s athletically suited to the zone system the Jets run.
Tom could be in play at either 38 or 101 for the Jets tonight. I find it hard to imagine the Jets won’t take a lineman at some point and Tom offers positional versatility having played both tackle and center.
Jalen Pitre – Safety – Baylor
Jalen Pitre played the STAR position for Baylor which requires lightning-quick processing, a trait you can imagine Robert Saleh valuing highly. The Jets also got a good look at him in Mobile at the Senior Bowl where he was a standout performer.
Although Pitre can play all over the defense, I like him as a deeper safety where he can go and attack the football. He has that ball hawk nature that the Jets lack at the position at the moment. Pitre has had four interceptions and six pass breakups over the last two years, and also showcased his pass-rushing skills with 9 career sacks.
Pitre could be the perfect partner to the newly signed Jordan Whitehead.
Breece Hall – Running Back – Iowa State
This is a little bit of a curveball as I don’t expect the Jets to be in the market for a RB this early, but I needed to have one wild card on this list.
Hall tested off the charts in the pre-draft process scoring a 9.96 in terms of his Relative Athletic Score. He also tested as “elite” in both speed and explosion and I could see the Jets deciding to take the best player available and that player being Hall.
Hall clocked up 1,460 yards last year with 713 of those coming after contact, not to mention the 20 rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns.
You want to make your offense more dynamic? Add Hall to Carter for a dangerous 1-2 punch.
Travis Jones – Defensive Tackle – Connecticut
The Jets defensive line will be one of the strengths of the team in 2022 with the addition of Jermaine Johnson and the return of Carl Lawson, but the Jets could strengthen it further by adding Travis Jones, a player who was seen as a first-round candidate.
Jones has the size and power to offer gap control against the run and he’s improved his pass-rush every single year in college. Jones was the best defender on a below-average defense and it would be easy to imagine him being a better pro-player than college player if paired with someone like Quinnen Williams.
One thing Jones does very well is keep the second level clean, which will improve New York’s linebacker production.
Here are some of the other potential candidates that I like:
- Jaquan Brisker – Illinois – Safety
- Nick Cross – Maryland – Safety
- Chad Muma – Wyoming – Linebacker
- Phidarian Mathis – Alabama – Defensive Tackle
- Kenneth Walker – Michigan State – Running Back
- Christian Watson – North Dakota State – Wide Receiver
- Damone Clark – LSU – Linebacker
- Dylan Parham – Memphis – Guard
- George Pickens – Georgia – Wide Receiver