ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper has released his latest two-round mock with the 2021 draft arriving this month.
The 2021 NFL Draft is a little over two weeks away. Teams will add new offensive and defensive weapons to the roster; players’ dreams will finally come true.
While we know who the Jets will select at No. 2 overall, it’s still a mystery what the Giants will do. With their No. 11 overall pick, they could acquire a talented inside linebacker or edge rusher or may even focus on the offensive side of the ball.
Did the NFL Draft analyst make the right picks?
Jets’ No. 2 Pick — BYU QB Zach Wilson
Whether you like it or not, Zach Wilson will obviously be the pick. The Jets recently traded quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for three draft selections, one of which will be in this year’s sixth round. This huge move solidified Wilson is coming to Florham Park to be the new quarterback for Gang Green.
In order for Zach to make a smooth transition to the pros, he’ll need significant offensive assistance. This is why the Jets acquired wideouts Corey Davis and Keelan Cole in free agency and why they might add additional weapons early in the draft.
Given his talent and potential both through the air and on the ground, Wilson is expected to greatly succeed at the professional level, which is why the Jets will be locked in on the BYU signal-caller with the second pick.
Giants’ No. 11 Pick — Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle
While selecting a receiver with this pick wouldn’t be my first choice, it’s still a decent possibility, so don’t knock Kiper for this one. This prediction comes in spite of the fact the Giants signed wide receiver Kenny Golladay to a lucrative four-year deal last month.
Jaylen Waddle would add speed to the Giants offense and be another talented target for Daniel Jones — the development of the young quarterback should be one of the organization’s top focal points this year, and adding a guy like Waddle would assist in his ultimate improvement.
Waddle is additionally multifaceted. He succeeded as a return specialist during his time at Alabama en route to earning the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year Award in 2019. He returned 20 punts for 487 yards (24.4 yards per return) and one touchdown as well as five kicks for 175 yards (35.0 yards per return) and one score that season.
Jets’ No. 23 Pick — Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II
I’d prefer the Jets add another offensive weapon with this pick in order to help Wilson develop, but you can’t overlook the fact their secondary was 28th in the NFL last year with 275.6 passing yards allowed per game.
It’s unclear if Bryce Hall or Bless Austin are legitimate long-term answers, so the Jets using this pick on Greg Newsome II could make some sense.
Newsome is the fourth cornerback off the board in Kiper’s latest mock (behind Patrick Surtain, Jaycee Horn, and Caleb Farley) and could be a situational defensive back for a season before possibly becoming a starter in year two. It’s difficult to start a rookie corner given the change of speed from the college game to the pros.
Jets’ No. 34 Pick — Clemson RB Travis Etienne
Travis Etienne, to me, has first-round talent. So if he drops to No. 34 overall in the second round like Kiper believes he could, the Jets better jump on him.
Etienne would be a legitimate upgrade from La’Mical Perine and carries a true knack for the end zone, which would be great for a Jets offense that was last in scoring with 15.2 points per game in 2020.
Etienne is the second running back taken in Kiper’s mock (behind Najee Harris).
Giants’ No. 42 Pick — Oklahoma EDGE Ronnie Perkins
I definitely agree with Kiper that the Giants could wait until after the first round to draft an edge rusher. Taking coordinator Patrick Graham’s situational schemes into consideration, the Giants don’t need a clearcut star at this position, but instead, someone who’s capable of filling a specific role in a 3-4 defense.
Ronnie Perkins from Oklahoma could do just that.
Even if he’s not an absolute stud in the NFL, Perkins would at least provide talent to Big Blue’s pass rush — he earned second-team All-Big 12 honors in both 2019 and 2020.