Calijah Kancey, NY Jets, NFL Mock Draft
Calijah Kancey, New York Jets, NFL Mock Draft, Getty Images

In latest mock draft, NY Jets select player compared to seven-time All-Pro

Aaron Donald comparisons are always hyperbolic, but the New York Jets need another starting defensive tackle.

That’s why seeing an interior defensive lineman mocked to the Jets with the No. 13 pick isn’t such a stretch.

Charles Davis of just put out his first 2023 mock draft. He has the Jets taking Calijah Kancey, the DT out of Pittsburgh. This is Davis’ rationale for the selection:

A team that is strong on defense gets stronger. The comparisons to all-world DT Aaron Donald (size, style, school) continue, with Kancey being selected in the exact same spot as Donald, nine years later. I know the Jets already have Quinnen Williams inside, but Robert Saleh has always valued depth for his D-line rotation.

Does it make sense?

There’s a reason Kancey makes sense as a mock draft pick for New York. He is undersized (6-foot-0.625, 281 pounds) and plays a one-gap technique, which fits with the Jets’ defensive style. He also ran a 4.67 40-yard dash, which is in the 99th percentile among defensive tackles, and a 1.64 10-yard split, which is in the 95th. The Jets look for speedy, athletic DTs to get upfield and penetrate quickly.

However, Kancey did not run any strength or agility drills, the former of which NFL teams might have wanted to see due to his small size. Will he be bullied at the next level?

Kancey may profile similarly to John Franklin-Myers in that way. JFM is also an undersized defensive lineman, at least weight-wise (listed at 6-foot-4, 289 pounds). That’s one of the reasons the Jets keep him on the outside, though: he has a difficult time holding his own in the run game from the interior, even though he’s an elite pass rusher at DT.

Here are Kancey’s 2022 numbers and FBS ranks among DTs (139 players, min. 450 defensive snaps) per Pro Football Focus:

  • 47 total pressures (6th)
  • 8 sacks (T-2nd)
  • 9 QB hits (T-6th)
  • 17.1% pressure rate (2nd)
  • 22.7% pass-rush win rate (2nd)
  • 10.6 pass-rush productivity (1st)
  • 7.4% stop rate (T-47th)
  • 9.1% run game missed-tackle rate (98th)

These numbers demonstrate Kancey’s potential to dominate as a pass rusher but also his potential liability in run defense.

Can it happen?

The main reason this pick would be surprising is the Jets’ need for an offensive tackle. The team does have a gaping hole on the defensive line following Sheldon Rankins’ departure.

However, USA Today’s most recent consensus mock draft had Kancey going 24th overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Is it possible that the Jets trade back a bit in the first round, nab an extra second- or third-rounder, and then also select Kancey?

I still believe that the team will take an offensive tackle at No. 13 overall (and will not trade the pick for Aaron Rodgers), but this is not an outrageous pick.

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Rivka Boord has followed the Jets since the age of five. She is known locally for her in-depth knowledge of football. She hopes to empower young women to follow their dreams and join the sports conversation. Boord's background in analytics infuses her articles with unique insights into the state of the Jets' franchise and the NFL as a whole.
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Matt Galemmo
Matt Galemmo
8 months ago

It is not outrageous, and with each passing day it becomes more possible. Right now, the Jets arguably need starters at center and defensive line more than tackle, where a person with rose colored glasses might consider Becton and Brown the answer.

If the draft were today, I think center would have to be the top priority (although it would be addressed in the second round) with DT as 2A and OT as 2B. Does it make sense to get a DT at 13 and leave OT for the second round? It might, if you like Dawand Jones or Anton Harrison, either of which might be there.

Considering one of those draft picks may be gone by draft day, trading #13 for two top 50 picks seems a strong possibility, too, making Kancey an even more likely.

Hardman and the Moore trade came from left field, so hopefully there is news on center and DT coming soon, too. I do not like the idea of having a rookie center starting this season; I’m less concerned about a DT next to Williams, and we’ve seen OTs have instant success with some regularity.

Last edited 8 months ago by Matt Galemmo