These possible New York Jets draft targets boast better numbers than people realize
Yesterday, we highlighted three potential New York Jets draft targets whose college production does not match up to their hype within the draft community. Today we’re flipping the script. Let’s take a look at three prospects who deserve more hype based on their sneakily impressive college production.
Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
The Jets are widely expected to draft an offensive tackle with the 13th overall pick. But there is an outside chance they could target a different position with that pick, such as wide receiver or defensive tackle.
If the Jets do not select a tackle with the 13th overall pick, their odds of taking one in the second round will increase dramatically.
Ohio State OT Dawand Jones would be an excellent fallback option for the Jets in round two if they pass on the OT position in round one.
Jones is generally considered an early second-round talent, as he is currently ranked 41st on Mock Draft Database’s consensus big board. However, Jones’ college production is even better than some of the tackles who are expected to be drafted in the first round.
In 2022, Jones allowed only five pressures on 419 pass-blocking snaps, giving him an allowed pressure rate of 1.19% – the lowest rate in college football among 228 FBS tackles who played at least 300 pass-blocking snaps.
Compare Jones’ allowed pressure rate to the five tackles who are typically ranked above him on draft boards:
- Dawand Jones (1.19%) – 1st overall
- Peter Skoronski (1.27%) – 2nd
- Darnell Wright (1.58%) – 5th
- Broderick Jones (1.91%) – 8th
- Anton Harrison (2.01%) – 10th
- Paris Johnson Jr. (3.12%) – 43rd
Jones did not allow a single sack or quarterback hit. All five of his allowed pressures were charted as hurries.
To boot, Jones’ 85.0 run-blocking grade at PFF was sixth-best among 228 qualified FBS tackles. That was also better than any of the five tackles ranked above him:
- Dawand Jones (85.0) – 6th
- Peter Skoronski (81.7) – 8th
- Paris Johnson Jr. (80.9) – 10th
- Broderick Jones (71.7) – 42nd
- Anton Harrison (67.7) – 74th
- Darnell Wright (65.0) – 88th
Jones’ unusually massive frame is the reason for his low draft stock relative to his production. At 6′ 8¼” and 374 pounds, there are concerns about his durability and whether he will be able to keep up with NFL edge rushers.
Those concerns are fair – Jets fans know this all too well with Mekhi Becton – but Jones’ production speaks for itself. He was a dominant force against top-tier college competition in the Big Ten. In fact, he was even more dominant than his teammate, Paris Johnson Jr., who will likely be drafted in the top 15.
If Jones could establish himself as a star at Ohio State, then he definitely has a good chance of doing the same thing in the NFL.
Don’t rule out the possibility of New York drafting a non-OT in the first round and falling back on Jones in the second round.
Related Article: The best-case scenario for NY Jets’ 2023 draft
Luke Wypler, C, Ohio State
In yesterday’s article, we highlighted Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz as a prospect whose production doesn’t quite match the hype. This is because of Schmitz’s lackluster allowed pressure rate. Schmitz is the consensus No. 1 center prospect, but his allowed pressure rate of 2.65% ranked just 61st-lowest out of the 136 FBS centers to play at least 200 pass-blocking snaps in 2022.
Ohio State’s Luke Wypler is not quite as revered of a center prospect as Schmitz, but he is one of the top-ranked center prospects and should go off the board in either the second or third round. Despite his lower draft status, Wypler actually offers a much better track record of pass-blocking consistency than Schmitz.
Wypler allowed pressure on just 1.78% of his pass-blocking snaps in 2022, ranking 19th-best out of 136 qualifiers (87th percentile). It ranked eighth-best among Power-5 centers. Wypler gave up one sack, zero quarterback hits, and seven hurries.
Schmitz takes the edge in the run game, as he was Pro Football Focus’ top-ranked run-blocking center with a 92.4 grade, although Schmitz’s run-blocking advantage isn’t as large as Wypler’s pass-blocking advantage. Wypler was not far behind Schmitz in the run game, placing seventh-best among qualified FBS centers with an 80.8 run-blocking grade.
Additionally, Wypler’s athletic profile is significantly better than Schmitz’s. Wypler recorded a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.31, placing second among centers in this year’s class and beating out Schmitz’s seventh-ranked RAS of 7.89. Wypler’s athleticism and explosiveness suggest he could be a great fit in the Jets’ outside-zone running scheme.
Adding to Wypler’s appeal as an outside-zone fit for the Jets is his performance in Ohio State’s zone-heavy offense. Wypler zone-blocked on 71.1% of his run-blocking snaps last year. For comparison, Nathaniel Hackett’s Packers called zone on 69.3% of their run plays in 2021, and Hackett’s Packers ran zone on 65.4% of their run plays in 2022. While Schmitz’s Minnesota offense did favor zone last year, it was only at a 56.4% rate.
The run-blocking gap between Schmitz and Wypler becomes even smaller when isolating zone plays. Schmitz led all college centers with a 91.5 zone-blocking grade at PFF, but Wypler was fourth-best with a zone-blocking grade of 86.4.
There are many reasons to like Wypler as a great fit for the Jets on the second day of the draft.
Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
Linebacker is an underrated possibility for the Jets in round two. Kwon Alexander remains unsigned and the Jets haven’t made any additions to fill his shoes as the third linebacker in their 4-3 base package. The Jets also must prepare themselves to replace C.J. Mosley in the future.
Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell is occasionally mocked to New York in the second round. Campbell is currently ranked 43rd on Mock Draft Database’s consensus big board.
Campbell’s production exceeds his draft stock. He was a dominant playmaker for the Hawkeyes last year – especially in coverage, which is where the Jets have the most room for improvement at the linebacker position.
Campbell earned a 92.9 coverage grade at PFF, leading all college linebackers. Opposing teams earned minimal results when targeting him, as he allowed a passer rating of 70.2 (25th-lowest among 243 qualified FBS linebackers) and just 6.1 yards per reception (8th-lowest). Campbell did not allow any touchdowns into his coverage and snagged two interceptions.
The part of Campbell’s coverage resume that impressed me the most was the lack of air yardage he allowed. Campbell coughed up just 18 air yards all season – 218 of the 236 yards to his name were earned after the catch. Through the air, Campbell allowed 1.4 yards per game. That’s incredible, and it suggests Campbell is fantastic at executing his coverage assignments to ensure he doesn’t allow anything to get completed over his head.
Campbell ranked 14th-best out of 239 qualified FBS linebackers with 0.04 air yards allowed per coverage snap. This is a specific area where New York needs to be a lot better. In 2022, the Jets’ linebackers ranked 26th out of 32 linebacker units with 0.39 air yards allowed per coverage snap.
Just about all of Campbell’s marvelous coverage production was amassed while he was in zone coverage; he was rarely asked to play man-to-man. Campbell played man on just 44 of his 418 coverage snaps (10.5%). His lack of man-to-man potential is a concern that frequently appears on his scouting reports.
However, Campbell’s limited man-to-man ability shouldn’t be a concern for the Jets, as they are not a team that utilizes their linebackers in man coverage all that much, anyway. In 2022, the Jets’ linebackers played man coverage on 17.8% of their coverage snaps, ranking 22nd out of 32 linebacker units.
To top it all off, Campbell is an elite athlete, boasting a 9.98 RAS to lead all linebackers in the 2023 draft class. This makes him a good fit for the Jets, as they love athletic linebackers in their scheme.
Not only is Campbell athletic, but he is athletic with a large frame, as he stands at 6′ 4⅝” and 249 pounds. Campbell’s size makes him an ideal candidate to potentially take over for C.J. Mosley (250 pounds) as the Jets’ MIKE linebacker at some point in the future.
I could certainly see the Jets taking a linebacker in the second round if they believe he is the best player available, and considering Campbell’s stellar track record of production in zone coverage, he has a chance to be that player – if he is still available.
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