The New York Jets still have work to do if they want to end their playoff drought in 2018. We explore the options in round three.
The only sure thing in the 2018 NFL Draft for the New York Jets is that the team is selecting a quarterback, everything after that is a mystery.
Trading up to No. 3 overall cost the Jets some prime draft real estate—three second-round picks, including two in this year’s draft. So it’s going to be a while after the Jets make a selection with the third overall pick before the head to the podium a second time.
If we’re being exact, 68 picks will have been made before they make the 72nd overall pick, the eighth pick in the third round. Since it’s hard enough to guess who the team will select in the first round, we thought why not try the impossible with the Jets third-round pick.
In theory, the Jets will have filled their need at quarterback in the first round.
While most Jets fans would feel like a husband at home who checked off the first thing off the chore list and want to take a break and watch TV, there’s still work to be done. In no particular order, the Jets still have to address:
- Defensive line
- Edge rusher
- Offensive line
- Running back
- Wide receiver
- Tight end
Here’s a list of potential prospects the Jets could have their eyes on come the third round.
Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
The Jets currently have 16 wide receivers on the roster but it’s hard to argue that any of them is a true No. 1. Notre Dame has had a rich history of successful No. 1 wide receivers over the last several years, namely Michael Floyd and Golden Tate.
St. Brown brings a great frame (6-foot-5, 214 pounds), but hasn’t really ever delivered on his raw potential. He only has three career 100-yard games, but everyone can see what he could become. That’s worth the risk for the Jets in round three.
Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida
Callaway has already visited the Jets facilities and would make a ton of sense with the 72nd overall pick. He doesn’t have the size of a St. Brown (5-foot-11, 197 pounds), but good things come in small packages. Not only could he be a dynamic player on offense, but he’s one of the best returners in the country.
The only reason he could possibly be on the board in round three is off-field concerns. His rap sheet includes a credit card fraud scandal, marijuana possession, and a sexual assault trial. If he can stay on the straight and narrow, he could be a real find for the Jets in round three.
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
To every cause, there is an effect. If the Jets draft a running back this early, expect Bilal Powell to be traded before the 2018 NFL Draft is complete (similar to Leon Washington a few years ago). Penny has production for days on his resume, but will that translate to the NFL? That’s the big question as he heads to the pros.
This is another player the Jets would have interest in because he doesn’t have to be a three-down back for the team. Penny could immediately become the Jets go-go gadget in the return game. They haven’t had a dynamic talent of that ability since, perhaps, Brad Smith.
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
While Penny would be a rock-star pick, there’s another running back at this point in the draft who should get serious consideration, despite his injury history.
Chubb dazzled at the annual NFL Scouting Combine and would have been the standout back were it not for the athletic freak that is Saquon Barkley. Chubb will never be mistaken for “Shake ‘n Bake,” but he’s got a low center of gravity and runs through arm tackles.
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
If the Jets decide to go with ‘Broadway’ Baker Mayfield with the third overall pick, it wouldn’t hurt to keep drafting that Oklahoma Sooner blood for familiarity on offense. But the Jets wouldn’t just be drafting Andrews for friendship, they’d be drafting him for need.
The green and white did add some athleticism to the tight end position with some bargain shopping in free agency, but they could use a guy of Andrews talent.
He’s big (6-foot-5, 256 pounds) and he can catch. He isn’t the greatest blocker in the world, but in today’s game, you can use multiple tight ends to compensate. The Jets have enough blocking tight ends on the roster, it’s time to get a playmaker.
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
This one could be a stretch. Brown, on paper, is one of the most talented tackles in the draft. But it’s hard to look past his unimpressive NFL Scouting Combine performance.
We should take some of these events with a grain of salt, but it wasn’t just that he tested poorly, several sources told me that were there in Indianapolis that he was yelled at several times for loafing around and being lazy between drills. That’s not the kind of work ethic you want to bring in the building.
He needs to keep his weight in check but could be the Jets right tackle for the next decade if he keeps his head on straight. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s on the board with the 72nd pick and I also wouldn’t be surprised if he goes in the first round, that’s just how talented this kid is.
Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU
Another guy who coulda, woulda, shoulda been a first-round pick, but probably won’t be due to off-field concerns is Key.
A dynamic pass rusher, Key would be a perfect scheme fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker and a guy who can use his ridiculous athleticism to get up the field and take out opposing quarterbacks.
The Jets have to be careful because the locker room is a tender place that can be easily disturbed and hard to curate, but Key would help fill a gaping need on defense.
Uchenna Nwosu, DE/OLB, USC
Obviously, the Jets fooled everyone into thinking that they attended USC’s Pro Day to scout Sam Darnold—because Uchenna Nwosu (I dare you to say that five times fast) was their real target.
Seriously though, Nwosu’s tape is all over the place. But he’s got country strength and more of that athleticism we keep talking about. Not only can he rush the quarterback, but he’s a capable defender in coverage as well.
He started football late in his high school career and is raw, but that’s why he’s available in round three. He could help the Jets solve their pass rushing woes for good with the 72nd pick.