Will McDonald, New York Jets, 2023 NFL Draft
Will McDonald, New York Jets, Getty Images

New York Jets considered a surprising position in the first round

The second episode of the New York Jets‘ documentary series “Flight 23: Ascension” launched on Thursday night. This episode primarily focused on the 2023 NFL draft, showcasing some fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses of the Jets’ draft process.

One of the most interesting tidbits emerged from a segment that showed the Jets’ war room mulling over its options as the 15th overall pick approached. Apparently, based on the discussions shown in the documentary, Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer was one of the Jets’ top-ranked options when they came onto the clock at No. 15.

Only three prospects were mentioned by name in this segment of the documentary, which was filmed prior to the Jets’ selection: Mayer, Iowa State edge rusher Will McDonald, and Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones. At least one person in the Jets’ war room ranked Mayer above Jones.

General manager Joe Douglas can be heard asking his scouting staff, “[How did you have] Mayer, [Will] McDonald versus [Broderick] Jones?” An unseen person replied by ranking the prospects in order from one to three: “McDonald, Mayer, Broderick.”

Douglas then predicted where the three prospects would land, placing Mayer at the top. He predicted Mayer would go to the Detroit Lions at No. 12, McDonald would go to the Green Bay Packers at No. 13, and Jones would go at No. 14. Douglas also correctly predicted the 14th pick would be traded from New England to Pittsburgh.

Only the third prediction turned out correct. Detroit would take Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 12 while Green Bay took Iowa edge rusher Lukas Van Ness.

With Jones gone, it appeared McDonald and Mayer were the Jets’ favorite options with the 15th pick. Of course, McDonald turned out to be New York’s selection.

In hindsight, it would have been shocking if the Jets chose Mayer with the 15th pick. Mayer ended up falling into the second round, where the Raiders ended his fall with the 35th pick. Mayer was the third tight end selected, following Dalton Kincaid (Bills, No. 25) and Sam LaPorta (Lions, No. 34).

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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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