Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, NFL Draft, Mock, Ohio State
Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State, NFL Draft, New York Jets, Getty Images

Two Buckeyes are better than one for the New York Jets, according to Mel Kiper’s mock draft

The New York Jets hit a home run when they drafted an Ohio State wide receiver in the top 15 of the 2022 NFL draft. So, ESPN’s Mel Kiper figures, why not go back to the well?

In his newest mock draft, Kiper has the Jets selecting Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the 13th overall pick. Smith-Njigba was teammates with Garrett Wilson for two years in Columbus.

Smith-Njigba only played in three games this season due to a hamstring injury, catching just five passes.

However, Smith-Njigba’s 2021 season stands as one of the best campaigns by a wide receiver in college football history. Smith-Njigba set Ohio State single-season records in receptions (95) and receiving yards (1,606) while catching 9 touchdowns.

Despite being a 19-year-old true sophomore that season, Smith-Njigba outshined junior Garrett Wilson and senior Chris Olave, who each went on to have outstanding rookie seasons in the NFL. In 2021, Wilson caught 70 passes for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns while Olave caught 65 passes for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns.

It’s worth noting that Wilson and Olave each played 11 games while Smith-Njigba played 13, but still, Smith-Njigba was generally considered the best player of the trio.

This selection would surely be labeled by many as a “luxury” pick for the Jets. Most likely, New York will enter the draft with pressing needs at offensive line, safety, and possibly linebacker, while the wide receiver unit should be in solid shape with Wilson leading the way.

Still, it’s not as if the Jets’ wide receiver unit is in perfect shape. Beyond Wilson, there are plenty of question marks. Is Corey Davis returning? If so, can he stay healthy? Can Elijah Moore have a bounce-back year with better quarterbacking? Then, after Davis and Moore, the Jets do not have any other wideouts who are remotely close to starter-quality.

What’s wrong with trying to form an unstoppable wide receiver duo? The Cincinnati Bengals continue to show the benefits of having two No. 1-quality receivers, as Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins are off to their second consecutive AFC Championship Game. Wilson and Smith-Njigba would have the potential to form one of the best receiver pairings in the NFL, creating a fantastic environment for whoever plays quarterback in New York throughout the 2020s.

At the same time, it will be tough for the quarterback to find his Buckeye weapons if his offensive line is in shambles.

Selecting Jaxon Smith-Njigba would surely create a rift within the Jets’ fanbase. Would you be on board with the pick? Or would you rather see New York target a position of greater need?

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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] - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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Matt Galemmo
Matt Galemmo
4 months ago

Best player available, please.

The draft is for BPA, and free agency is for positional need. Do that, always.

4 months ago
Reply to  Matt Galemmo

But when you’re talking about left tackle, like QB, you’re talking about a vital positional need, and one where top notch or even reliable players are rarely available in free agency since teams usually hang on to them. Plus, you want the security of having a guy for 10 years at those positions to avoid facing the same problem every 2-3 years.

Matt Galemmo
Matt Galemmo
4 months ago
Reply to  DFargas

I don’t disagree with you at all, but I would not describe that as ‘positional need.’ To me, you’re talking about a premium position, or ‘positional value.’ That gets factored into BPA.

Imagine this scenario: you don’t need a LT, and you do need a safety. You’re on the clock, and there are two equally talented players, one is an LT, the other is a safety. Take the tackle–his value his higher. Positional value > positional need.