If the New York Jets draft well on day two of the 2020 NFL Draft, they could set themselves up for long-term success.
There are two schools of thought in regards to who general manager Joe Douglas will take in the first round. Some think he’ll go with one of the offensive tackles while others believe he’ll add a wide receiver.
What happens in the second and third rounds will largely depend on who Douglas takes at No. 11. There are holes to fill all over the roster, so the three picks the Jets have on day two will be crucial.
ESNY has a few suggestions for Douglas and the Jets.
No. 48 — Prince Tega Wanogho — OT — Auburn
After selecting Henry Ruggs III in round one, the Jets turn their attention to their offensive line. Prince Tega Wanogho is one of the best athletes in the class making him a fit for Adam Gase and Frank Pollack’s blocking scheme. He’s raw technically, but he’ll have time to develop behind George Fant if he doesn’t win a job his rookie season.
Wanogho isn’t going to help save the offensive line in 2020. He’s calculated gamble for the future. If molded correctly Wanogho could have a future as an above-average starting tackle in the NFL. Wanogho is simply a risk the Jets have to take if they go wide receiver in round one.
No. 68 — Bryce Hall — CB — Virginia
An injury ended Bryce Hall’s college football career, and it tanked his draft stock. Once upon a time, Hall was set to be a first-round pick with a bright future in the NFL. Now he’s a mid-round selection with questions about his health and his ability in man coverage.
Those questions shouldn’t matter to the Jets. Hall is athletic, instinctive, strong in zone coverage, a strong run defender, and an incredible leader. Those are all skills that would make him a perfect fit in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ defense. In fact, there is no better fit in the whole class.
The Jets steal a future number one corner in the third round.
No. 79 — Robert Hunt — G — Louisiana-Lafayette
Robert Hunt brings two things that Joe Douglas is sure to love, versatility and athleticism. Hunt played both tackle and guard in college, and while he is expected to transition to guard in the NFL he does have the athleticism to play tackle.
His technique was an issue, especially pass blocking at the NCAA level. Many of those poor technique issues would be solved by moving inside to guard where his footwork would be less of an issue. He has the chance to be a day one starter at guard, though it’s more likely he’d sit behind Brian Winters for a season before taking over in 2021.
Hunt will provide strong run-blocking and all the athletic tools to be an elite pass blocker inside. If he can put it all together he could be a star. More likely though, Hunt will be an average guard with flashes of athletic brilliance.
No. 48 — Michael Pittman Jr. — WR — USC
Assuming the Jets grab a tackle in round one to protect Sam Darnold, he’ll need a big target now that he has all this time to throw. If Michael Pittman Jr. is available in the second round, he could be the pick for New York.
Darnold’s fellow Trojan would be a big pickup for the Jets, literally. At 6-foot-4, 223 pounds, Pittman is a huge target who has serious potential as a red-zone target.
Although there would be no clear No. 1 on the receiving corps, Pittman fills the need for a big physical pass catcher. Jamison Crowder is great in the slot and Breshad Perriman can fill the speedy shoes of Robby Anderson, but Darnold needs a big target he can rely on.
No. 68 — Bryce Hall — CB — Virginia
After using the first two picks to aid in Darnold’s development, it’s important for the Jets to address some needs on the other side of the ball. Cornerback is a weak position group for New York right now and Bryce Hall could be a diamond in the rough.
Injuries have caused Hall to fall on draft boards, but he has potential first-round upside if he can stay healthy. An athletic, talented cornerback like Hall should play well in Gregg Williams’ system.
No. 78 — Jonathan Greenard — Edge — Florida
The Jets might not want to invest in another pass rusher from Florida after the remarkably short tenure of Jachai Polite in green. However, Jonathan Greenard is no Jachai Polite. Greenard is a strong pass rusher who doesn’t have all the baggage that Polite brought with him to the NFL.
After spending three seasons with Louisville, the fast and physical rusher transferred to Florida where he racked up 10 tackles and 16 tackles for a loss. Although he might not have as high a ceiling as some of the edge rushers higher on draft boards, he should come into the league as a productive pass rusher and run stopper.
Greenard won’t magically fix the Jets’ pass-rushing woes, but he’ll certainly help.
No. 48 — KJ Hamler — WR — Penn State
No. 68 — Julian Okwara — Edge — Notre Dame
No. 78 — Bryce Hall — CB — Virginia
Joe Douglas’ first public comments of the offseason seem to hint at the Jets taking a blocker with the 11th overall pick. It would thus appear the flexibility the blocker-heavy free agency period would have gone by the wayside, but that’s anything but true. Such flexibility simply arrives later on draft weekend.
The Jets have plenty of other needs to fulfill, but this draft, fortunately, provides deep classes that can yield instant contributors. Hamler can give Darnold a reliable, speedy target, while Okwara and Hall strengthen the defensive depth, especially an ailing pass rush that’s in desperate need of a spark.