The New York Jets address either side of the ball during the opening round in ESPN’s Todd McShay’s latest mock draft.
In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Todd McShay has either New York ballclub filling out respective needs in the first round, but did he make the right calls?
Jets’ No. 2 pick — BYU QB Zach Wilson
McShay predicted the Jets take Zach Wilson in his previous mock draft, and you could look at this potential selection from a few vantage points.
On one hand, you can keep in mind that current Jets starting quarterback Sam Darnold hasn’t efficiently improved through three years in the NFL. Impatience is ultimately growing in and around the eager fanbase, and with a new coaching staff led by Robert Saleh now in place, the organization may want to undergo a full restart and acquire a new signal-caller.
This ideology would, indeed, lead to the Jets possibly selecting Wilson, who’s slated to be the top quarterback available at No. 2 given the likeliness of Trevor Lawrence going No. 1 overall. The choosing of Wilson would also lead to New York trading Darnold and gaining further draft capital in a year when it already owns 10 picks.
On the contrary, you’d need to take into account that acquiring Wilson means you’d have to develop another quarterback, a process that could take some time. It would also decrease the number of opportunities to draft offensive skill players at the wide receiver, tight end, and/or running back positions, which the Jets definitely need after finishing last in both total offense and scoring in 2020.
Rolling the dice with Darnold could be beneficial in the sense they could utilize their valuable draft ammo to notably build around him. A coaching change may have also been what he needed — there’s a chance Sam ends up thriving under new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and the Jets didn’t need someone else to man the starting quarterback position after all.
Giants’ No. 11 pick — Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle
In his last mock, McShay had the Giants choosing Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, who should be the selection if he’s available at No. 11. But in this mock, McShay has Pitts, LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase, and Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith off the board by the time Big Blue’s pick comes along.
If Waddle is the lone individual remaining out of him, Chase, Pitts, and Smith, then that’s who you draft. The Giants are going with Daniel Jones in year three — the right decision, but one that comes with the need to acquire a talented passing-game target.
Waddle would instantly start for the Giants and eventually become Jones’ top target, and if all went as planned, he’d help the young quarterback develop in 2021.
The Crimson Tide wideout sports great speed, athleticism, hands, and can be multi-faceted, having succeeded as a return specialist during his collegiate tenure. Waddle averaged 24.4 yards per punt return with a touchdown during a 2019 season in which he earned the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year Award.
Jets’ No. 23 pick — Georgia OLB Azeez Ojulari
The Jets may need edge rusher help in the midst of the potential departures of Jordan Jenkins and Tarell Basham. New York tied for 20th with just 31 sacks this past year.
Azeez Ojulari was a premier pass rusher for Georgia in 2020 and recorded 9.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and 12.5 tackles for loss through 10 games, having earned a second-team All-SEC selection for his efforts. He also sports satisfactory size at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds.
He’d certainly assist in the pass-rushing department, but some wouldn’t agree with this selection. If the Jets chose Wilson at No. 2, they would need to prioritize the offensive side of the ball at No. 23. Developing Wilson would require the organization to bring in offensive help in order to accomplish that task, and waiting until after the first round to do so wouldn’t be the most beneficial route.
A rookie quarterback needs talent around him, and this draft pick could be used to acquire a wide receiver such as LSU’s Terrace Marshall Jr., who McShay has going No. 27 overall to Baltimore.
For what it’s worth, in his previous mock, McShay had the Jets drafting Clemson running back Travis Etienne at No. 23 after selecting Wilson.